Episode 11: Balanced Eating and Making Healthy Food Attainable with Michelle Smith
Live Date: July 6, 2020
Show Description: Today’s guest is Michelle Smith, the author of the bestselling “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook” and creator of the Whole Smiths blog. Through her work, Michelle hopes to be a voice in making our food system a better place to eat and bring people back into their kitchens. Her passion is showing people that eating wholesome foods doesn’t have to be boring and pretentious, but that it can be attainable for everyone. Heather and Michelle talk through balance in our diets, prioritizing family dinner post-COVID-19, tips for meal planning and prepping, finding healthy foods our kids will eat, eating wholesome foods on a budget, baby-stepping into healthy eating and easy swaps.
- It’s okay to test things out and find what’s right for your body, family, and lifestyle. Michelle and her family have tested several types of diets and have landed on what she calls a minimally-processed, whole foods diet with wiggle room. But she encourages experimentation in the food space to find the perfect fit.
- Michelle also wants us to keep in mind that our identity is not in what we eat. So many people label themselves as their diet: “I’m a vegan.” But she wants us to flip the script and just label the food. This also leaves you wiggle room to indulge and step out of those boundaries and makes food feel less strict.
- When it comes to meal planning and prepping, Michelle likes to spend a majority of her prep time on healthy breakfasts, like a frittata or an oatmeal bake. Their mornings are hectic, like many of us, and this is where she finds the most value in prepping ahead of time. And when it comes to other meals, she is a firm believer in double batching. Make your time in the kitchen worth it. If you are going to grill chicken for dinner, make double and have it on top of a salad for another meal. Or if you are cooking ground beef for a shepherd’s pie, make double the amount and use it for burritos the next day.
- If you are interested in taking your first few steps into a healthier diet, Michelle says to start by reading labels. And not just the calories. Look for ingredients that you know and understand. After that, Michelle shares these five swaps you can make:
- Oil: Swap processed oils (like canola oil) for better choices like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil. This is the easiest swap.
- Soda: There is so much sugar in soda, so swap it for a flavored water or kombucha.
- Coffee Creamer: Swap your sugary dairy creamer for a dairy-free option and add a splash of maple syrup to sweeten it.
- Chips: Avocado oil (or olive oil or coconut oil chips) will always be healthier than the traditional chip. Again, read those labels and look for the healthier product.
- Crackers: Instead of a box of crackers, Michelle cuts up raw fruits and vegetables for dip.
- And, if you are trying to get your children to eat healthier, Michelle wants parents to feel comfortable expanding their children’s palates from an early age. She encourages parents to introduce all sorts of foods. And as they get older, Michelle believes that if you’re eating well at home, you don’t need to stress about the occasional cupcake at a birthday party.
- “When I started delving into it – and initially, it was this paleo world – I realized that healthy eating had a really pretentious feel. It felt very elitist and the raw food kind of movement – it didn’t feel attainable. But, I looked at it through a different lens that just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean we can’t make it attainable. I can share this in a way that resonates with everyday families that are carting their kids around to soccer practice, that don’t have the means to sit there for an hour or two every night, cooking a luxurious meal with 15 hard-to-source ingredients. There’s an easier way.” – Michelle Smith 4:00
- “We have two boys who are both athletes, who we are trying to teach to care about their bodies, and not only to care about them physically with exercise, but also what they put in their mouths to have a really healthy relationship with food.” – Heather Adams 5:11
- “I think it’s that balance that we don’t see. People talk about balance, but when you look at the health and wellness industry, you see a lot of extremes.” – Michelle Smith 5:46
- “Talking in terms of how we fuel our bodies and being okay to indulge. I don’t want to demonize any foods, for my kids especially, because that puts a psychological guilt or feeling associated to it, and we really need to remove those feelings from it.” – Michelle Smith 8:29
- “It’s okay for food to bring us joy.” – Michelle Smith 13:02
- “I really love to cook for my family. It’s something that I enjoy. It really nourishes me to be able to nourish them. But, our previous lifestyle didn’t allow for it every single night because we had baseball practice, or we had a game, or we were running to this meeting or this activity. And there was a whole lot of self-imposed guilt for me that came with us not having dinner around the table every night.” – Heather Adams 15:40
- “Raising kids in this image-driven society that we have right now, I’m acutely aware of not demonizing food. I don’t want them to associate the foods they eat with self-image, how they look, all of that stuff.” – Michelle Smith 31:27
- “I always think, too, if my kids came home everyday saying they didn’t want to do their homework (which they do), as a parent, it’s my job to make sure they get that homework done and teach them those skills. It’s also my job as a parent to teach them how to properly take care of themselves and be healthy.” – Michelle Smith 34:02
Resources and Links from Show:
- “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook”
- Jack in the Box Taco Knock Off (if you’re wondering what meat paste is)
- Zevia soda with stevia
- Nutpods dairy-free creamer
- BeautyCounter clean skincare