Written by Vicki Ma (Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian)
Finding the time, energy and motivation to eat healthy and exercise can be difficult at the best of times, especially if you’re a busy mum trying to balance raising active kids and meeting work demands. We tend to neglect ourselves and put our needs on hold in order to prioritise taking care of the family.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, we need to simply change our mindset and, instead, think about how taking care of ourselves will not only benefit us, but also our family. As busy mums, we need to make our health a priority. Having the right nutrition will not only help nourish our body, it will also provide us with enough energy to keep up with the little ones.
Here are some simple nutrition tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the past few years to help keep myself and my family nourished when life gets hectic!
Always plan ahead
Eating healthy can be challenging at times. Planning ahead and having a rough guide of what you and your family would like to eat for the week can save you a lot of time in the long run. Not only will this help remove stress from your busy day, but it will also help you avoid the impulse eating when you get over-hungry (because you were too busy running after the kids all day!).
Here’s an example of a simple, healthy meal plan, suitable for the whole family:
Breakfast: natural muesli with milk
Morning tea: yoghurt with berries
Lunch: chicken and salad sandwich or wrap (wholegrain)
Afternoon tea: Vita-Weat biscuits with cottage cheese and tomato
Dinner: beef and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
Supper: fruit salad
Keep healthy snacks on hand
It’s easy to fall into the habit of mindless snacking when you’re tired and busy working or looking after little ones. Try to have nourishing snacks available at home, so when you’re running out the door to take the kids to afternoon sporting activities, you’ll have plenty of healthy options to keep them (and yourself) satisfied and energised. Some healthy snack options include:
- Yoghurt and fruit
- Fruit/ vegetable smoothies
- Carrot/celery sticks with hommus or guacamole
- Wholegrain crackers (e.g. Vita-Weat) with avocado and tomato
- Frozen yoghurt popsicles
- Savoury vegetable muffins
- Homemade muesli bars
Make meal prep a priority
Set some time aside during the week to create healthy nourishing meals for you and your family. If this is too challenging, try to make double the portion at dinner time so you can have the leftovers the next day. Another tip is to pre-cut all vegetables and meat so it’s ready-to-go, this can also be a massive time saver!
No need to make gourmet meals every night, just keep it simple and nutritious. Here are some quick, healthy and easy meals that are constantly on our menu:
- Chicken/beef/tofu vegetable stir-fry
- Beef/chicken burrito bowls
- Oven baked fish with roasted vegetables
- Chicken and pesto pasta
- Roasted vegetable frittata with salad
- Salmon and steamed vegetables with brown rice
- Almond crumbed chicken/fish with salad
Remember, success won’t happen overnight! Making changes takes time, energy and effort. Take small simple steps and make one positive change at a time. The most important thing is to ensure you pick achievable and sustainable nutrition goals that will help nourish you and your family.