Picture this morning scene:
The kids enter the kitchen looking clean and neat in their fresh clothes. They each take a seat at the kitchen table and proceed to eat their breakfast in a polite and civilized fashion, speaking calmly when there is something that they need. They then head out the door to wait for the school bus or camp carpool.
This probably occurs in about 0.01% of households with several young kids.
A more realistic picture includes a kid yelling that he has no more clean socks, while another grabs a fistful of cereal and dashes out the door. Sounds more familiar?
Raising a family of several children typically means that your day goes by at a frenetic pace and before you realize it, you’re starting the cycle all over again the next day.
This often results in moms not eating proper meals, but instead grabbing a coffee and muffin and dashing out the door to start their day, perhaps making time to eat a yogurt for lunch and then crashing at dinnertime with 3 bowls of Mac and cheese (since that’s what the kids are asking for and mom has no energy to prepare anything different.)
If the hectic schedule probably won’t change much until the kids grow up and move out in a couple of… decades, how can you change this?
Finding ways to be proactive about your food choices instead of reactive makes things a million times easier. Here’s what I mean:
- Create a grocery list of meal staples. Think about the basic foods that you typically enjoy and list them out. For example:
Breakfast: Greek yogurt, eggs, oatmeal
Lunch: tuna, cottage cheese, avocado
Dinner: chicken cutlets, ground meat, salmon
Snacks: fruit, popcorn
Now make sure your home is always well stocked with most of these foods.
- Have fruits and veggies on hand that don’t require much cleaning and chopping like cherry tomatoes, mini peppers, baby carrots, bananas, apples, peaches.
- Take 10-20 minutes on your calmest day of the week and do a mini food prep session so you have ready-to-go options for the week. Prepare a few cans of tuna and put them in a container in the fridge.
Cut up melon, peppers.
Rinse grapes, cherries.
Boil up a pot of hard boiled eggs.
Prepare your favorite salad dressing.
Being able to pull out a container of prepped tuna, a box of crackers and sliced peppers means your lunch is ready in 60 seconds or less!
Quick and Easy!
I find that most mothers neglect to think about breakfast and lunch, rather than dinner. This sets them up to overeat in the afternoon and evening since they aren’t getting in enough nutrition during the first half of the day.
Focusing on quick and easy meals for breakfast and lunch can really help improve mood and energy levels throughout the day.
Here are some breakfast and lunch ideas that are light on the prepwork, but heavy on the nutrition:
- Greek yogurt + fruit + nuts
- Hard boiled eggs + whole wheat crackers + cherry tomatoes
- Oatmeal + peanut butter + berries
- Whole grain wrap + cheese + tomato sauce + veggies
- Cottage cheese + veggies + whole wheat crackers
- Cottage cheese + fruit
- Whole grain bread + thin spread of cream cheese or plain Greek yogurt + lox + cucumbers
- Veggie omelette + whole grain bread
- Salad + tuna + chickpeas
By setting your week up with lots of healthy grab-and-go options, you are setting yourself up for success. Just think about that fridge filled with ready to go fruits, veggies, eggs, tuna, yogurts, etc..
Eating healthy meals just became so much more doable and so much less daunting!
Rivka Sochet is a Registered Dietitian with a private practice based in Lakewood, New Jersey. She specializes in helping women with irregular periods and fertility concerns, improve their health and fertility. She works with women throughout the preconception, prenatal and postnatal stages to address their health and nutrition goals. She can be reached at 732-455-9845 or firstname.lastname@example.org