14 EASY Ways To Get Clean + Green in 2017 #MondayMotivation

For two years now, I've been moving my family to a 'clean' diet as possible. I have to say,  I'm pretty proud of myself with how well we've done.

Possibly, even guilty of going over the top. 

This past weekend my 5yr old had his very first drumstick... and was mortified by the bone. And that was after it took him a minute to figure out how to eat it. I honestly have no idea he hadn't had chicken. But I certainly don't serve my chicken fried I always take my breast baked in the oven.

And so, being that I have turned two boys and two green clean machines I thought I would share how I did it.

Baby steps will get you there faster. You can't imagine that you can go to the grocery store and only buy green clean food and if that's what you serve that's all that's going to work. I tried it, that's stupid. It takes small changes over time but the changes that last a lifetime. Slow and steady wins the race.

Cut out the three worst things in your family's diet. And by worst things I mean, JUICE, junk food, ice cream or anything else that could cause a health risk to your family. WAIT! Before you do that, find a replacement and I don't mean veggie chips for potato chips.

Don't let them catch onto you. Change one thing at a time. If you eat too much beef and you want to get more lean meats and fish in your family's diet, substitute it twice a week, not every day.

Keep the good food on display. I always always always, keep healthy snacks in the front of the cabinet and refrigerator. Make a list of the healthy snacks that your family likes and buy them and then put them on display. Hide all of the really really good stuff in the vegetable drawer. No child or husband will ever look there.

Grow as much as you can. My son, after three years of helping me in the garden, takes so much pride in growing food in our garden. Every night, he picks the good strawberries and we bring them in and get them a wash and set them on the counter so they're ready for the morning. I let him help me cook the spinach that we eat and plant the corn we're going to eat. There are all kinds of studies that show if your kids get involved with growing they take pride in eating it.

You have to want to change, first. You can't half-ass this. You need to make a plan. You need to know what needs to be cut out first and then find a substitute for them.

Over the next month, make a goal to drink more water as a family and each week eat one clean meal. The second month make it two clean meals a week. The third month, make it three. And I'm only really talking about breakfast, lunch or dinner. This gives you the ability to work on changing all three meals over time. 

Healthy snacks exist. If I tried to cut cheese crackers and nuts out of my family diet, they would kill me. And don't even get me started on the threat side receive if I even tried to come home without ham or salami from the grocery store. The way I get my revenge, s portion control. Have cubed cheese and hummus ready available at all times.

Enforce the polite bite, but make sure you have a reward regardless of the i'll come. Using this method, my son now eat broccoli peas asparagus and corn with excitement. He also hates peaches and pears but will destroy apples all day long. The big part of this is that if he doesn't like something I don't serve it again at least that month. I remember being a kid, being forced to eat food that taste like shit was the worst thing in the world. If my son hates it and wants to spit it out then he could spit it out but if he likes it he can't complain anymore about eating it.

Don't Ask. Just serve it. Options are not an option if this switch will work. It's far easier to beg for forgiveness than permission. For example, switch the husband's lunch sandwich to a pita and pack it full of avocado, light mayonnaise, salt and pepper lettuce and meat. Men will eat anything. As long as it tastes good. The delivery method is secondary. It's gotten to the point now, my husband prefers to have a sandwich on a pita. He says he doesn't feel nearly as bloated after a pita versus white bread.

Grab a Bird's Eye Steamfresh Side instead of fries. 

Plain Greek yogurt has changed my life. I use it for sour cream, smoothies, and mix it with honey for a substitute whipped topping at dessert. Did I mention it's fat-free and full of healthy things? I can't recommend enough just trying to trade plain fat-free Greek yogurt for sour cream. To this day, my husband doesn't know the difference.

Start a Pinterest board of clean healthy meals you want to try. Pin everything you can find about tips for going green and eating clean and while you're on your lunch break, go through the board and get inspired.

Life is for the living and good food is for eating. Live a little! Don't go all in crazy. Order Pizza, Take-out and eat off the ice-cream truck! but as sparingly as possible. 

Activity is amazing. Last but certainly not least, get active. The better diet will lead to more energy. USE IT! The more your family can go outside and play even for just 15 minutes the better you will feel a little happier you are happy.

This can be done, I did it. You can do it too. The lifelong lessons and health, wellness and nutrition that I'm teaching my son at such an early age will, last him a lifetime.

Every minute, every complaint, every fail, has been worth it to get to the point where he picks hummus and pretzels for snacks and apples with peanut butter. He loves Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries (from our garden!) and local honey for dessert. For more inspiration, check out my, clean living + eating Pinterest Board.

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com