It’s already such a challenge finding the right balance between being the mother you always dreamt of being, and achieving your every move in the business world, but add “making healthy nutritious meals every day” in the mix?!
I can easily say that one of my goals as a mother is to be able to make balanced, healthy, varied and yummy meals to my boys (and considering my profession, it would be bizarre if it wasn’t one of my aims in life 😉 ) but I think as a parent, we all want what’s best for our children.
We’ve got to remember that we are doing our very best every day. The nutritious balance of our plates is not evaluated every day but rather over 2-3 weeks. Therefore, no need to beat yourself up if you served pasta four times this week. You’ll do better next week 🙂
In an ideal world, we want to make a plan of our week’s menus before going to the grocery store. This way, we buy just what we need (no wastage), we are not tempted to buy additional things (just focus on our list 😉 ) and we know in advance what’s for dinner tonight (no more ‘oh no, it’s 6pm, what in god’s name will I cook in a short time which will be good and healthy?’).
Plan your menus according to your weekly schedule. Plan fast and easy options for days when you pick up the kids late from tennis classes or singing lessons. And plan more elaborate dishes when you’re home a bit earlier.
When making your weekly menus, remember to put the vegetables that wither away quickly in your first few meals (fresh spinach, salads), and the vegetables that have a ‘longer shelf-life’ towards the end of the week (carrots, sweet potatoes, leeks).
Also remember that frozen veggies are a great source. I tend to prefer mine fresh when it comes to stir-fries or steamed, but I often turn to the frozen options for soups or baked dishes.
We are not big meat eaters, but when we have it, it is usually on the first menus of the week, when it’s fresh after our grocery shopping. I tend to go for legumes towards the end of the week (lentils, chick peas, cannellini beans) as they are either in their dried form or in jars and therefore have a long shelf-life. I prefer cooking my own lentils but I have to admit that I buy beans in glass jars. Cooking beans is a whole schedule in itself with the soaking at night etc. At this point, with a baby and a toddler, it is not an easy option for me.
Make realistic goals for you and your family today. They may change next month but things are more achievable if they are realistic.
I often turn to my freezer when it comes to seafood or fish. I find they are a great solution to a dinner when time is of essence. Throw in your seafood mix in a pan, with a tomato sauce and some fresh basil and serve with spaghetti – if time permits, grate a carrot and an apple while the spaghetti are cooking – the combination of the vegetable and the fruit is delicious and makes for a great entrée! Also, add some nuts and seeds to your salad – they’re a great source of protein and omega-3s and add a bit of crunch!
Ask your little assistants for their help in decorating the salad (or helping with the grating depending on their age) – it is a great way to bond over food and develop healthy eating habits in the kitchen! They love feeling involved and will be proud to have contributed in making a pretty dinner for the family 🙂
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Until next time 🙂