I don’t know how many times I’ve heard (and not going to lie, have said to clients) ‘meal prep on your day off’ or ‘buy an organizer’ or even ‘make sure you don’t forget to eat’ when talking about keeping yourself (and your kids) healthy as a busy mom.
I’m going to get real with you for a second. You can hear it a million times, you can say it to yourself, I can say it to you as a practitioner, but staying healthy when you work full time and have kids isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, I work from home, my kid is in preschool 2 days a week, I’m a nutritionist, I love cooking, and I STILL find it hard some days.
You know why? Because momming and working full-time doesn’t just look like: come home from work, prep dinner, spend time with family, relax and go to bed. No, no there’s much more to it than that! There’s cooking, cleaning, activities, housework, yardwork, shopping, events, and possibly even working at home in the evenings.
So, if you’re a full-time working mom, I truly applaud you! If you’re a stay at home mom, I absolutely applaud you too sister. And to any mom out there, let’s get something straight, you are magnificent, powerful, wonderful and the first thing I would say to any mom looking to get healthy is: let’s just strip free of the guilt. Ultimately, that guilt will weigh you down, and stress you out to a point that it doesn’t matter how many buddha bowls you eat, or how sugar-free your kids are, that stress is going to make you sicker than eating TV dinners every day of the week.
So, this isn’t going to be a ‘get your meal prepping or planning game on point’ or a ‘put your health first and just do it’ kind of post, because, although they might be great tips to motivate, sometimes you just need more realistic strategies. Here are my top 5 mommy health strategies for the busy AF mom.
TOP 5 REAL-LIFE HEALTH STRATEGIES FOR THE BUSY MOM WHO NEEDS A BREAK:
1) Don’t Be Afraid Of Processed/ Pre-Packaged Food
You’ll hear that the healthiest diet is a whole food diet, and you need to avoid processed foods filled with artificial ingredients to get your health back on track. This is totally true, yes, the best diet is a whole food based diet. BUT, this is also a let’s get real post, so I’m going to tell you right now that you can eat packaged and processed healthy foods! There are so many amazing brands out there that focus on the quality of ingredients in their products.
For example take this post we wrote: 10 Healthy Packaged Foods Nutrition Experts Swear By https://thenaughtynutritionists.com/sexy-kitchen-tips/healthy-packaged-foods/, where we give you 10 healthy meal options that take little to no time to prepare and are completely good for you!
Just be wary of label claims like ‘natural’ ‘gluten-free’ ‘free from’ and do your due diligence with label reading, like actually read the ingredient list. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Check out this article on learning how to read labels. https://thenaughtynutritionists.com/luscious-lifestyle/nutrition/how-to-read-food-and-nutrition-labels/
2) Buy Frozen & Pre-Cut Veggies
Did you know that those bagged frozen veggies consist of vegetables that are processed almost immediately, packed and then frozen?
This means the nutrient quality in those frozen fruits and veggies are often preserved better than the fruits and veggies sitting in a van for a couple of days, followed by the grocery store for up to a week.
Frozen veggies, pre-cut veggies and healthy meal kits will save you time! Nowadays you can buy spiralized zucchini, packed steamed beets, superfood salad blends and frozen stir-fry blends without so much as batting an eyelid.
One of my favourite meals is sautéed veggies & shrimp with a bit of tamari, honey, garlic and ginger made into a sauce. If you get the packed frozen veggies you don’t even need to do the prep work, just toss in a pan, cook, pour sauce and you’re golden!
3) Snack & Eat Easy
One thing that can hinder your health efforts is reaching for the wrong kind of convenient foods. They ultimately end up screwing with your blood sugar balance https://www.healthline.com/health/dysglycemia#symptoms, resulting in a perpetual cycle of sugar or carb cravings.
Make healthy eating easy on yourself and your family!
Here are some quick and convenient snack and meal ideas that take little to no time to prep and put together, and make being healthy way easier:
- Snack plate for you and kiddos: organic cheese slices, sliced veggies (or going back to point 2, pre-cut), hummus, olives and whole grain crackers < throw in a hardboiled egg, this can also serve as a lunch!
- Organic blue corn tortilla chips and guacamole or salsa
- Veggies & hummus
- Hardboiled eggs with cumin & salt
- Roasted chickpeas, make yourself (recipe here), or just buy them
- Overnight oats
- Yogurt bowl with granola and fresh fruit (vegan or full-fat yogurt)
- Sautéed veggies with cumin + turmeric + chili powder and a side cooked chicken breast with salsa
- Trailmix (raw, unsalted) throw in dark chocolate chips & coconut chunks, so good!
- Fresh fruit (natures easiest snack), add some nut butter to apples/ pears etc. or bake and add some coconut oil & cinnamon
- Plain popcorn with cumin and salt sprinkle, or just get this amazing brand
- Nice cream
- Dark chocolate for the win!!!! We usually have with some raw almonds or hazelnuts, it kills that sweet tooth, but rich enough you don’t need too much
- Raw or lettuce wraps with sliced veggies, hummus, cheese, sprouts and salsa (make sure you have enough healthy fats and protein in there to keep your belly full)
Try to think of simple healthy ingredients in their purest form and find ways to make them work in your diet: chicken goes great with lemon and garlic, tofu is wonderful with tamari, veggies are great sautéed with some seasoning on them, there are so many simple recipes out there that won’t have you in the kitchen for hours.
4) Let It Go – Stress Is Worse For You Than Anything Else
How many times do you catch yourself thinking, I’m too busy or I wish I had some me time?
If you think this way, that’s your body and mind’s way of telling you that you need to slow down, take a break and spend some time focusing on you!
You might think pampering yourself is a luxury, but you need to start thinking of it as a necessity because stress can make you really sick and can be one of the biggest triggers for emotional eating, weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances, or even just making poor food choices.
It really wasn’t until I started supplementing with CBD https://thenaughtynutritionists.com/luscious-lifestyle/cbd-science-anxiety/ that my post-partum anxiety and stress levels (and all the nasty symptoms associated with them) started to level back out. Momming is 1000x easier when you’re not running on empty every day.
5) Get Some Sleep
I know just how easy it is to binge watch Netflix at the end of the evening to decompress, or play on my phone for all hours, but sometimes this can cut into your sleep time, and instead of getting that healthy 7-8 hours/ night you end up with 5-6 unsettled hours of sleep.
Sleep is just as important to your health as minimizing your stress fest. Sleep is a time to repair, rest your body, digest and fast. If you’re up too late, you’re messing with your hormones, which can also contribute to blood sugar and cortisol imbalances, thus continuing on with the perpetual cycle.
You can start simple by going to bed 30 minutes earlier than the previous day and work your way to an appropriate bedtime. Turn your electronics off 30 minutes before bed, and do some light reading. Whatever works for you, find a healthy bedtime strategy.
Like I mentioned, momming is tough stuff (but you know this), and being healthy while momming, even tougher. Luckily we live in times where simplicity is everything, so making sure you have a strategy filled with realistic solutions will be key to your health success.
P.S. Don’t forget to drink water 😉
Feel free to pop into our online community The Naughty Nutritionists- Weight Loss For Food Lovers https://www.facebook.com/groups/NNKitchen/ to learn more about simple health solutions!
Hey new friend, I’m Jenni, co-founder (with my amazing biz partner Mirna) of Naughty Nutrition (formerly known as The Naughty Nutritionists).
Over at Naughty Nutrition our goal is to give you access to the most accurate, up-to date, science based health solutions alongside delicious, simple and healthy food, all without any BS attached to it.