Being a mother means that we’re constantly busy. Busy with work, busy at home, busy with the kids… you get the picture. When we’re busy it’s easy to take shortcuts, and the easiest shortcut being your diet. (Side note: A diet is not something you go on and off of, a diet is what you eat. When I refer to diet, I’m speaking about the characteristics of what you eat on a daily basis.)
So how can we ensure that we’re still fulfilling our duty as mothers, while simultaneously making healthy choices for ourselves and for our families?
Follow these tips to learn how to prepare healthy meals with a limited amount of time.
This may seem counter-productive… what do you mean I have to plan ahead to make meals in less than 30 minutes?!? To answer this, let me ask you a question. When’s the last time you planned an event without any sort of preparation? Probably never. Because if we’re being honest, things just don’t run smoothly without some sort of agenda. With that being said, there’s not much in the world you can do successfully on a whim, and making healthy choices is at the top of the list. In order to make good decisions you need to be prepared to overcome the temptations, and the only way I know how to do that is to plan ahead.
- Determine what nights you will need to cook. (I don’t cook Tuesday because Zoey has gymnastics that evening.)
- Look at what you have in your freezer/pantry and schedule meals accordingly. I made a DIY menu board like this one so that I could reference it throughout the week. It’s also worked well for us because I’m horrible at remembering to take meat out of the freezer. With my menu board I can ask Justin to take out whatever is needed for dinner that evening. It has saved us a ton of last-minute take out money.
Fresh vs. Frozen vs. Canned
I’m a firm believer that fresh is best. However, I work full-time, go to school part-time and have a 3-year old. So having fresh produce around this house is hard to do because I only get to go grocery shopping every other week. That being said, I do like to buy fresh fruit: bananas, apples, grapes, blueberries and strawberries. But I also buy frozen fruit for my super-food smoothies. I buy fresh and organic spinach for my super-food smoothies. I want to get maximum nutrition from these which is why I choose organic. Vegetables like green beans, broccoli and corn I buy frozen and steam on the stove. It saves me time and money, I don’t end up throwing half of it away and it tastes just as good as fresh veggies. We like to snack on raw carrots and snap peas, so I try to buy these fresh when they’re on sale. I don’t buy any produce in a can… ever. They’re disgustingly high in sodium and just doesn’t taste as good as fresh or frozen.
Rule of Three
I was raised to believe that the meat is the main part of the meal, but in recent years I’m learning that the other food groups are just as important in developing a balanced diet. When I’m scheduling my meals for the week, I first choose a protein and then pair a vegetable and a carbohydrate, preferably whole grain. (We get the additional food groups in other ways; these are just the three I try to focus on at dinner.) Here are examples of things I make frequently:
- Baked or stove-top chicken breast, thigh or tenderloin. I use beef in casseroles, spaghetti sauce and tacos. For weekend meals we like pork tenderloin, ham or a whole baked chicken. I love weekend meals because I have more time to get creative and the leftovers can be re-purposed throughout the week.
- Steamed green beans, broccoli, mixed veggies, corn and salad are easy to pair with any of the above proteins.
- Rice, noodles (tossed in sauce of your choice), bread/rolls, roasted, baked or mashed potatoes.
Until next time,
Let’s chat! What kinds of quick meals do you make for your family? I’m always looking for more inspiration. Let me know by leaving a comment below. 👇🏼
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