Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or working outside of the home, finding time to prioritize your family’s health can be challenging (let alone keeping YOURSELF healthy, too). From age-friendly food education to prepping/saving food, the topic of health can be overlooked or even overwhelming for many families. For this reason, I sat down with a working mom to pick her brain on this topic, and to share her own tips and hacks with others in the same boat.
Jennifer Brott is the Director of Education and a Holistic Nutritionist at Simply For Life. She is the mother of two young kids and is openly learning how to be kind to herself as a working mom! We hope you find some nuggets of wisdom in what she shares today.
Let’s dive in - Jennifer's 5 health hacks for success as a busy mom!
Commit to meal prep time: Meal planning and prepping is a huge time saver. It’s important to schedule this time like it’s a non-negotiable event; put it in your calendar like any other appointment! Not only are you saving money by using up your food and avoiding takeout, you are avoiding the everyday headache of “what should we eat?”
My meal prep is about 1-2 hours on the weekend and resembles the Beauty and the Beast kitchen - all appliances are working away! I will usually have at least 2 grains cooking on the stove, a pot of eggs boiling, a tray of veggies roasting in the oven, and a protein or two cooking. While everything is cooking, I focus on cutting up fruits and vegetables for quick grab-and-go in the fridge. I also often prepare our smoothies ahead of time using reusable silicone bags in the freezer (just add liquid when ready!)
Remember: You don’t need to stress about prepping entire meals. Any form of meal prep is one step closer to a completed meal for you and your family. Focus on getting the repetitive, time-consuming tasks out of the way so you can focus on other things during the week!
We deserve a plate, too: Moms, how often are you eating the leftover bits off of your kid’s plate and calling that your meal? You deserve a plate, too. There’s a reason why you’re told to put on your own oxygen mask in an airplane before helping someone else - you’re sort of useless if you can’t function! If I’m not well, I can’t take care of my family, period. Prioritize your own nutrition and hydration so you can perform (and also feel) your very best.
Quality control your kid’s snacks: Let’s face it - marketing works on many parents as well as the little ones. Most kid snack commercials focus on the “grab-and-go” and overall convenience, yet are full of additives, preservatives, and lack the nutrition your kids need. This is where meal prep comes in - having fruits and veggies ready to go can make kid’s lunches a breeze. For pantry snacks, make sure to quality check the label and shoot for snacks with solid nutritional value. We have lots of allergy-friendly, healthier kid-friendly snacks available in store!
Watch your food language! Somewhere along the way we have given food moral value: Good food, bad food, cheat meals, etc. The way we talk about food as parents is super important and our kids will remember our relationship with it! Body image starts at a young age. A good way to promote food education is to talk about food colours and benefits, and this can be tweaked for their age. Teaching young kids that orange foods are good for your eyes and blue foods are good for you brain is a great place to start! As they get older, teach them a little more (orange foods have lots of vitamin C to keep you from getting sick, blue foods protect cells from damage) Encouraging kids to eat the rainbow - maybe making it a fun competition on how many colours are on their plate - this can inspire them to make great nutrition choices.
Insurance policy - Multivitamins: As much as you may plan and prep, there may be days when life is busier than anticipated and your own nutrition is out the window. I always take a quality multivitamin for that reason - it’s an insurance policy in case those days happen! I know I’m getting the baseline of important vitamins/minerals regardless of what I can eat that day. Remember that your own nutrition is super important and shouldn’t be neglected!