3 Time-Saving Food Tips for Busy Parents
What is the number one obstacle to getting your family eating the healthy food you want them to eat: Time. Time is the obstacle everyone faces! Working, stay-at-home, in between, whatever kind of parent you may be… time seems to disappear from the day faster than your kids can dump out a bucket of toys. Every parent faces the same obstacle. So here are three simple techniques to overcome this limitation.
1. Just Chop
Veggies that is. Schedule in fifteen minutes at the beginning of the week (or whenever makes sense for you), and just chop! You’ll be amazed at how having truly fresh vegetables chopped up in your fridge can facilitate eating healthy foods! I suggest long skinny slices since they are probably the most versatile.
-You can pair them with a healthy dip like hummus for a super quick snack.
-You can toss them into a quick stir fry with a bit of tofu and some teriyaki sauce for a super quick meal.
-You can wrap them in a tortilla with salad dressing and a protein for lunch on the go.
-If you choose to chop up some fruit as well, you have an instant snack or side dish.
Your attitude is possibly the most important change you can make to succeed in your health and nutrition goals.
And guess what. That applies when talking about lack of time, too.
The constraints on your time are real. Working, breaking up fights over toys, scooping up hurt kiddos, planning outings, preparing meals, and (maybe) putting away some laundry… That’s all very real, and very important.
However you need to make sure what YOU want and need to do are on that list of important stuff, too.
You need to take care of yourself.
Because your time is highly related to your energy level. Because guess what. If YOU are burned out, you aren’t going to be able to use the time you DO have. So you HAVE to put yourself in there, too. Whether it’s a guy’s night or gal’s night, a cup of coffee or tea with a friend, a night away, a morning to sleep in, an afternoon in your home ALONE (imagine that!), or whatever else you need, make sure it’s a top priority. Because you can’t successfully find the time to take care of everyone else if you haven’t made the time for YOU.
3. Plan Time to Make Time
The last time saving trick is definitely the hardest to implement, but also the trick with the biggest time saving pay off.
By taking the time to PLAN your week, from when you will chop those veggies to when you will buy your groceries, and even down to what you will cook this week, you will end up SAVING time.
It seems counter intuitive.
It definitely does not come natural to everyone. Before kids it may have been, “What do I have in the fridge? Okay…what can I make with that?” And it probably worked.
But with kids it probably doesn’t work, or likely not as well. Without a plan families fall victim to stress, fast food, and giving in to kids’ picky eating whims.
To succeed in meal planning, you need to make sure your meal planning takes many different forms. Some weeks that may mean sticking to standby healthy options. Other weeks it may mean trying something new.
It helps to have a back up in the freezer or pantry. Whether this is a healthy home made casserole you froze or a few simple ingredients like fish and sweet potatoes that you can bake in the oven with just minutes of hands-on time, it pays back in spades to have a plan.
So this week try to: Pick one new healthy recipe. Put the ingredients on the grocery list. Plan to make it.
And make sure you have an emergency back up on hand when things don’t go according to the plan!
Alegra Loewenstein is L.E.A.N. Certified Health Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. As a busy mom of two boys under 5, she understands how important it is to get things done in the kitchen with ease and speed! She also knows how it feels to make a nutritious meal that is met by rapscallion stares… for this she offers a “Free Tip List: 11 Ways to Get Your Picky Kids Eating Healthy” at her website, HealthyFamilyHarmony.com