The end of my maternity leave is upon me. Has it already been a year? Where has the time gone?!
Just like the last time I returned to work (work that I love and find deeply satisfying), leaving my children and getting out there again feels daunting.
Life already seems so busy. How in the world am I going to fit a work week into my schedule?? How will we make sure that our lives stay balanced? What will we eat?!!!
One of the most common excuses that working mothers give me for not eating well is that they have no time.
They run from daycare to work to daycare to home. They manage to scrape together a decent meal in a reasonable amount of time. After dinner there is clean up, putting the kids to bed and a few minutes of television or reading before sleep takes over. It is remarkable that working mothers find time to eat at all let alone eat well! If anyone understands the business of it all, it’s me!
Here’s the thing. Stress increases the body’s need for nutrients. Nutrients that the body requires in order to have energy. Energy that a mother needs to deal with the business of life. Energy that a mother needs in order to prepare healthy meals for herself and her family! It can become a vicious cycle. I am too tired to eat well. As a result I am lacking in nutrients and I am tired … too tired to eat well! It can be a difficult cycle to break but, once you do break it however, you are more likely to feel happy, healthy and energized!
Now, here is the news that may be the most difficult to swallow. Healthy eating takes (some) time. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time but it does require some investment. If you don’t invest don’t expect to change. It’s as straightforward as that.
What is the best way to make major changes in the health of a busy mom and her family? Weekend food prep! One hour of food preparation on the weekend can make it possible for you to eat well during the rest of the week. This doesn’t mean one parent slaving away in the kitchen while the rest of the family is out having fun. Get everyone involved! Put on some music, plan the prep, get little kid fingers busy with an age appropriate kitchen task and get at it!
Here are a few ways that I will ensure my family eats well when I return to work.
1. Make a pot of soup every Sunday! I love soup. I think it is a fantastic way to pack nutrients into the diet. Soups are relatively easy and fast to make. Soup can easily be vegetarian, vegan, dairy free or gluten free. Home-made soup can be served for lunches, snacks or part of a balanced family dinner. While you are getting your soup simmering you can also make a large pot of vegetable broth to use for the following week’s soup or in recipes during the week. Check out my “Go To” Veggie Stock Recipe.
2. Cook up a batch of grains! I love to prepare a large bowl of cooked quinoa, millet, or brown rice to top with nuts and fruit for breakfasts, as a base for salads, or as sides for dinner!
3. Wash your fruit and vegetables. Fill the sink with water and a cup of vinegar. Throw in your produce. Let it sit. Rinse. One less thing standing in the way of getting in those servings!
4. Chop up your veggies! I like to make celery sticks, carrot sticks, broccoli or cauliflower florets and kohlrabi discs. I don’t usually pre-cut tomatoes, peppers or cucumbers because they don’t keep so well. These sliced veggies can be used as snacks, sides or salad toppers!
5. Make protein balls! This is an amazing way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. They love to form and roll the balls. These little snacks are packed with healthy protein and fats. They can be customized to the likes of your family and can be nut free (perfect for school lunches)! Better yet, they don’t need to be cooked! Coming soon – my favorite energy ball recipe!
With a little help from the family all five of these food preparation steps can be completed in about an hour. Do you practice food preparation on the weekends? What are your most treasured food prep tips and tricks? Follow me on Facebook to share your ideas and increase your nutritional know how.
Wishing you abundant health and happiness,