Mompreneurs – Balancing Motherhood, Work and Eating Well

Illustration credit: Yoshiaka

Illustration credit: Yoshiaka

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.

 

Strawberry Mango Sorbet – for Your Kiddo and You!

 

[Kendall] As a mom to a 19 month old, I’m finding that I have to be a little tricky when it comes to getting good, whole foods into that little belly of his. He loves food, but there are certain things that he doesn’t want to eat as a toddler – like carrots, zucchini, beans and avocados! – he loved these as a baby. The only veggies I can get him to eat these days without hiding them in something else are peas, squash, sweet potato, and sometimes cherry tomatoes…and that’s about it. Of course, being a huge fanatic of leafy greens, I’m always finding ways to sneak those in. I also want to make sure he gets plenty of healthy fats (so important for adults too!), and of course, proteins.

And I’ve read about how if you start your kiddos on good whole foods, real veggies, etc., they’ll want to eat them. They won’t be picky eaters. While I’m sure that’s true to some extent, I think that when you’re dealing with a toddler who just wants to declare his independence, you may just be SOL (sh*t out of luck) sometimes. I’ve also heard that it often takes eight times of trying a certain food before your child will like it and want to eat it. I’ve found this to be true in some cases, but there are just some foods that he doesn’t like. At least, for now (or just on certain days).

I’m sure this will change in time. I don’t want mealtimes to create any pressure for my little guy or me, so I give him the healthy whole foods he will eat, try some others at different times (the majority of which get spit out and tossed on the floor), and then sneak in the rest.

I also don’t make a separate “special” meal for my kiddo. He eats what my husband and I eat with some modifications, mostly to make it easier for his little hands and fewer teeth. We aren’t a strict vegan or vegetarian household, but do eat a plant-based diet, so he is exposed to some quality animal food. Interestingly, he isn’t much of a meat-eater (but neither am I).

The result of all of this is a mama who has turned into quite the creative toddler food chef! Interestingly, many of these concoctions I’ve come up with are things I enjoy quite a bit myself. It’s also gotten me to make raw veggie juice every day. I used to juice maybe a few times a week. Now, its daily because it’s the easiest way to get some good veggie nutrients into my little guy – he gulps down my juices! I also make smoothies packed full of healthy stuff: avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and nut butters, kale, spinach, carrots, coconut, and a banana or some applesauce to make it more palatable for picky little taste buds. I hide pureed veggies in sauces or scrambled eggs, make chia pudding (he loves it!), and hide good stuff in pureed soups.

My latest concoction turned out to be super yummy, mucho easy to make and of course, Healthy 4 ingredient Strawberry Mango Sorbethealthy-healthy: Strawberry-Mango Sorbet! The little guy loved it! Only four ingredients in the food processor: avocado, strawberries, mango, and hemp seeds. I would say that next time, I would also add a little baby spinach or kale to get some greens in.

Avocado: Considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they contain in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium. Contain fiber, protein, and several beneficial phytochemicals, which may protect against various disease and illness. Anti-aging properties, fight cancer, anti-inflammatory, regulate blood-sugar levels, help maintain a healthy heart and much more!

Hempseed: According to Nutiva, hempseed “is considered by leading researchers and Strawberry Mango Sorbet ingredientsmedical doctors to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Shelled hempseed ispacked with 33 percent pure digestible protein and is rich in iron and vitamin E as well as omega-3 and GLA.”

Strawberry: Rich in vitamins C, B5, B6, K and have been found to increase anti-cancer agents in the body. Adds some sweetness for Mr. Picky Eater.

Mango: Aids in digestion, helps improve concentration and memory, high in antioxidants, iron, fiber. Also sweet.

RECIPE:

1/2 cup frozen mangoes

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 avocado, peeled, pit removed strawberry mango sorbet in food processor

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Allow strawberries and mango to soften and thaw a bit by setting out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add water, a teaspoon at a time to help ingredients blend, if necessary. Serve sprinkled with hempseeds on top if desired.

Note: Best served immediately to maintain sorbet-like consistency. Can store in freezer and let thaw, then stir a bit before serving. Also, can store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but be aware that the color will change as the avocado loses its greenness due to exposure to the air. Still tastes great!

Healthy 4 ingredient Strawberry Mango Sorbet