To say it’s a challenge to balance motherhood, work (whether at home or outside) and eating well often seems like a bit of an understatement. It’s not hard to feel overwhelmed and that we can’t seem to do more than head to the drive-thru or order another pizza. But we know we should do better: for our children and for ourselves. Here are some tips to help you out of the momrpreneur-and-food maze:
1) Cook once eat twice: when planning your meals, think ahead for how you can “repurpose” leftovers from one meal and then make extra food when you cook and use again in the next day’s lunch or dinner. Whether you are making one cup of beans of two, steaming one head or broccoli or more, there’s not really more work and it saves you time the next day.
2) Cook in bulk on the weekend: Mornings tough cause you’re always rushing out the door? Make a big batch (in your crockpot) of steel-cut oatmeal on the weekend and then scoop out portions throughout the week to warm and go. Do the same with other grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa). Cook protein foods like beans and tempeh on the weekend as well and use them throughout the coming days in dishes. Prep veggies and salad fixings and place in containers to have handy throughout the week. Veggie dishes can be cooked ahead and can, in general, be enjoyed for several days as well. Create trail mixes, make kale chips and bake some healthy treats your family can enjoy during the busy week.
3) Enjoy convenience: It costs more but can sometimes be the saving grace we need: you can grab cut fruit and veggies at the produce store. Some grocery stores have veggies chopped and packaged together in fresh stir-fry mixes or veggie dishes ready to just sauté and enjoy, check the produce section. This makes dinnertime a little easier and, though it is a bit more expensive, is much healthier and cheaper than a meal out.
4) Soup’s On!: Have a weekly soup night. Soups are a nutritious and easy way to create a meal. Add a salad with everyone’s favorite toppings and you’re set. Leftovers can be the next day’s lunch. Soups can be varied based on the season and what you have on hand. They can be made the night before and simmer in your crock-pot during the day.
5) Ask for Help: Sometimes as women and moms we feel like we have to do it all. It’s not easy for us to ask for help. And then we wonder why we are feeling run down and frustrated. Ask the people (partner, children) you live with for support around food shopping, preparation and cooking. Create a communal cooking night where the whole family creates the meal – maybe make-your-own burrito night – where all can be involved in prepping and cooking the ingredients (and cleaning up afterwards!). Or get even more creative: find another family that would like to share cooking duties. Maybe once a week you cook a double batch of what you’re making and share with them. They return the favor on another evening. You can have 2 or more families in such a meal-share arrangement.
It definitely requires some forethought and planning but being a busy mom and eating well don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the effort you make to provide healthy food for both yourself and your family will pay off in great well-being and energy to enjoy your days.