How I went from frozen dinner queen to healthy weeknight cook

At the beginning of 2011, I decided to switch up my typical approach to making New Year’s resolutions. Rather than chasing five or ten different goals (and accomplishing maybe two-thirds of one of those), I decided to switch gears and make one big resolution — one that honored my mom and enabled me to keep her presence in my childrens’ lives.

The goal

My one resolution was to go from someone who at dinnertime relied heavily on this…

…and this:

To a mom who whipped up some healthy goodness like this at least six nights a week…

{image via: Little Yellow Kitchen}

…and even bakes her own bread.

A tall order to be sure.

But I figured that, given the time horizon, it was within the realm of possibility.

As it turns out, I stuck with it and have become one of those people I used to eye suspiciously, if not downright incredulously: one who genuinely enjoys cooking dinner. But you know what I enjoy even more? Three boys who actually inhale quinoa.

I swear it makes me want to break out into song every time I see it happen.

Rest assured, my path to culinary glory has not been a straight one. No significant behavioral overhaul is though, which is why I thought it might be helpful to share some of the key lessons from my journey. I know I can’t be the only person who relied too heavily on packaged, processed foods in order to get dinner on the table, right?

The Journey

While I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, I gradually worked my way through four distinct phases between January and December. During the first phase, I flailed around and generally stumbled more than I succeeded. In the second phase I started to get my sea legs. By the time I got to the last two stages, I was really having some fun.

Over the next few days I am going to share with you the details from each stage of the journey. I’ll dole it out in bite-sized pieces because, as my mom always said, a little bit of chocolate every day is SO much better than a pound of chocolate all at once. Start here for the embarrassing recap of the first phase of my journey from frozen dinner queen to healthy weeknight cook.

Have you ever made a significant behavioral change? What was it? How long did it take to stick? Did you go through “phases?”