A mother’s responsibility list is long and never ending. The daily tasks of caring for her family and her home are time consuming and energy draining. It is not uncommon for mom to neglect the one thing that probably matters most – her Self.
Eating right is one aspect of self-care that is often neglected. When mom’s in a rush, it’s so easy to grab pretzels instead of carrots (I’m not sure why – but it is). Stressful moments lead to cravings for bread, chips, or chocolate. A mom’s diet is frequently one that does not provide enough nourishment to get through a busy-mom kind of day.
Healthy eating and snacking does not have to be difficult. Here are some tips to make it an easy priority.
Create a meal plan When snacks and meals are thought out and scheduled, it is easier to maintain a healthy eating plan. Figure out your personal needs – do you need three meals with snacks in between, six small meals, or constant grazing throughout the day? At the beginning of each week, write out your meal plan so you can refer to it when it’s time to eat. Print out a weekly meal plan according to your needs. Slide the paper into a sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to write out your meals. It may seem like a hassle, but there is research to show the benefits of writing out a menu plan.
Stock up on healthy choices If you don’t have carrots and hummus when the munchies hit, you’re going to reach for the potato chips. Keep plenty of healthy options on hand, and you’ll be more likely to make good snacking choices. Other good snack options include: additional vegetables, fruits – fresh and dried, nuts and seeds. When you have the time, bake and freeze healthy muffins (like quinoa banana muffins) for times when those “comfort carbs” cravings hit.
Prepare ahead A mom’s busy schedule often means little time left to stop and prepare a healthy lunch or snack. With your meal planning above and prepping ahead – you will make those last minute lunches easier to navigate. At the beginning of the week, make a pot of soup, cut up your vegetables for snacking, and pre-pack easy to go snacks for times when you are rushing out the door.
Set a goal What is the reason you have decided to eat more healthy? What are the values attached to that decision? We all know how to ‘eat right’, but when it comes down to it – it’s not always that easy. So, what is it that’s motivating you to change your eating habits? Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want more energy? How would a healthier lifestyle benefit you? Find affirmations like “The greatest wealth is health” (Virgil) or “One should eat to live, not live to eat” (Benjamin Franklin) and post them in your kitchen, on your bathroom mirror, and other places you can see them throughout the day.
Pay close attention to the benefits Not only may the excess pregnancy weight melt away, but eating healthy leads to high energy, less fatigue, and better overall functioning. What mom couldn’t use a little of that? Putting the right fuel into your body means getting to the next fill-up station without a breakdown on the way.
Eating healthy is one of the key ingredients for mom’s self-care. Making the decision to eat healthy requires time, energy, and a bit of forethought, but the benefits will make all your efforts well worth it.