It’s not surprising that new mums find it difficult to be healthy. Before kids, whipping together a healthy lunch was easy. Now, even keeping the fridge and pantry stocked can sometimes feel impossible. Plus, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and increased energy requirements don’t help, do they?
But the truth is, even though it’s harder to stick to your healthy habits as a busy mum, with a bit of extra thought and organisation, it’s possible. And, if you can follow a healthy diet most of the time, you’ll be thanking yourself later as you'll be feeling and looking your best. And your little one, who will benefit from all the goodness you fill your body with, will be thanking you too.
Below are our top four tips for eating healthy as a busy mum.
1. Surround Yourself with Healthy Options
The best advice we can give you is to make healthy choices easy and to make unhealthy choices difficult.
How do you do this? Don’t buy junk food. If there are no Oreos or salt and vinegar chips sitting in your pantry, you’ll be so much less likely to eat them. Yes, you might convince hubby to run to the shops to pick your favourite junk food when you’re desperate. But, more often than not, the thought of bundling your little one into the car to go and buy treats will seem way too difficult.
Instead, stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options. Make the healthy choices easy. For example, stock up on the Chocolate Brownie In Shape Mummy Bars for when the choccy cravings hit so that you have a healthy option on hand. Or keep some avocado and sea salt on Rye Vitas or Salted Caramel Peanut In Shape Mummy Bites in stock for when you crave something salty so that you don't make an unhealthy choice. And keep sparkling water in your fridge so that you're so that you have a healthy option on hand when soft drink cravings hit. The more times you don’t make healthy choices, the easier it gets. And surrounding yourself with healthy alternatives to your unhealthy pleasures is the best way to do this.
Add Healthy Foods to Add to Your Weekly Shopping List
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Ingredients for home-made muffins (always opt for recipes that use honey instead of sugar)
When you’re at the supermarket, aim to buy most of your groceries from the outside aisles. This is where the fresh produce like fruit, vegetables, red meat, fish and poultry are. Dairy products like milk, cheese, eggs, and yoghurt also tend to be on the periphery. When you do head into the middle, try to avoid the confectionary, chip, biscuit, and soft drink aisle altogether. It is much easier to avoid unhealthy choices if you don’t see them as an option. Out of sight, out of mind.
And always make sure you do your shopping on a full stomach. Going to the shops hungry is a recipe for disaster.
2. Simplify Your Cooking
There will be plenty of times in your life to get creative in the kitchen and try out new recipe books; but the newborn stage is not that time. The newborn stage is a time for cuddles and love bubbles, not standing over a hot stove trying to figure out how to cook crumbed tofu for the first time.
Stick to what you know, and you'll be in and out of the kitchen in as little time as possible. You can simplify your cooking with these easy steps:
Buy pre-chopped vegetables.
Cook in large batches and freeze half for another night.
Make enough for leftovers the next day.
Choose a few easy dishes and have them on rotation for a few weeks; this way, you can cook them without needing to concentrate too hard (it will also cut your shopping time down as you'll know exactly what you need).
Shop online (Coles and Woolworths remember your previous order, which saves a tonne of time)
Reduce your washing up time by cooking one-pan meals or slow cooker recipes
As your little one grows and you get back into the groove of things, you'll find you'll have more time to spend in the kitchen and can get back into trying new recipes. So don't feel like you need to give up on your kitchen creativity forever; just give it a miss for now to get you through the busier-than-ever-bit.
3. Don’t Wait Until You’re Hungry to Eat
As a busy mum you need to plan your eating. Otherwise, you might miss out altogether. Every mum has been in a situation where you’re hungry and about to sit down to have lunch, but then there’s a dirty nappy or two, a change of clothes, a crying fit, and suddenly two hours have passed, and now you’re ravenous.
When we are starving, we are more likely to make bad food choices and to overeat because our hunger cues become all out of whack. So, if you can, try to eat before you get hungry. You can do this by aiming to eat at set times throughout the day. For example, prioritise having a smoothie or a piece of toast before your partner leaves for work. Another trick is always to have a little healthy snack like a boiled egg or piece of fruit when your little one goes down for their first nap. That way, if things get hectic over lunchtime, you’ve still fuelled your body recently.
Prepping food is another way to make mealtimes easier. We know busy mums don’t have hours spare to spend in the kitchen planning out the weekly meals in advance, but there are some quick and easy ways to prep that will take the pressure off a little.
Cut up vegetables for a few meals all at once and store them in air-tight containers in the fridge
Store your individual smoothie ingredients in zip lock bags in the freezer
Boil enough eggs for a few days and keep them in the fridge
Make a big-batch healthy salad or soup that will last for several lunches
4. In Shape Mummy Health Shakes
In Shape Mummy Health Shakes are one of the easiest solutions to keeping healthy for busy mums. By simply adding two tablespoons of the In Shape Mummy Health Shake mix to your smoothie, you’re adding over 12g of protein and over 25 essential vitamins and minerals. So not only will In Shape Mummy make your smoothie healthier, but it makes it more delicious and more filling. For breastfeeding mums, it will also help support your milk supply.
As we mentioned earlier, prepping your smoothie ingredients in zip-lock bags, and storing them in the freezer is a great way to save time. It means you can throw your ingredients in the blender, add your shake powder and choice of milk, and voila, a healthy, balanced and filling breakfast or lunch.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.
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