Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a dietitian or nutritionist. These are just ideas that have worked well for me and should you choose to implement them, that is up to you. In my previous post I mention that I think that nutrition is the most important thing to worry about postpartum when it comes to your mood, energy and general well being. Well a lot of moms ask how? How can I eat and feed my family nutritiously? I usually hear things like its too much work, it’s too expensive, I don’t have time. Well I’ll share strategies I use to help myself keep on track.
- Be Boring
Sounds boring right? Well it is. But I bet if you look at your daily meals, you’re probably eating the same things over and over again. You might switch it up every month or so, then eat the same meal for another month. For example, lately I’ve been eating oatmeal for breakfast, greek yogurt with nuts and berries for meal 2, a large smoothie with lots of greens for meal 3 and whatever I have meal planned for dinner. Occasionally I’ll switch out meal 2 or 3 for leftovers from a dinner earlier in the week, but rarely do I actually make a completely different meal.
- Pay Attention to How you Feel
Not everyone is the same when it comes to nutrition. Some people can eat bread daily and feel great and energised, but if I do it makes me feel bloated and sluggish. For some people this is dairy or beans or cabbage. Take a few days or a week or so and make a food diary, whether it’s on paper or using an app like MyFitnessPal, keep track. Then pay close attention to how you feel. Did you struggle to get out of bed this morning, and ate pizza last night? Do you feel gross and bloated in the evening after a bowl of pasta? Are you crampy and uncomfortable after eating baked beans? These are the things you need to think about. The last time hubs and I ordered pizza delivery, I was a miserable bitch the next day, and let’s just say his digestion wasn’t in peak form. Needless to say we’re a lot less likely to order pizza again.
- Find Something you Love
If I tell you to eat oatmeal every day, but you hate oatmeal. You might do it once, or twice, but then you’ll gradually stop until you can’t remember the last time you ate oatmeal. You have to find healthy foods that you enjoy. If you love salad, find a way to make a quick easy salad. If you love chicken wraps, make chicken wraps!
- Cook Your Own Food
Now this is a hard one to get into if you don’t already. I love cooking. It’s like meditation for me, but I can see how some people hate it. I think a lot of what people hate about it is they have no idea what they’re doing! Finding good recipes is key. This is why I love Pinterest. Whenever I feel like I’m in a rut or I want a new idea I go there. There are tonnes of healthy, quick & easy recipes on there for you to choose from!
- Choose Real Food
Your best bet for healthy food is to buy things that don’t require an ingredients list. Like fruits, veggies & meats. There will always be times when you need packaged foods, and I’m not saying they’re all bad. But pay close attention, some greek yogurts are loaded with sugar, or frozen fruits can be sweetened. I personally love frozen veggies. I cannot be bothered to cut up and steam veggies most days at dinner, but dumping a bunch of frozen beans in a bowl and tossing them in the microwave is totally my style.
- Choose Healthier Options
Almost all packaged foods out there have healthier versions available. However, do not be tricked by the ‘low fat’ movement! Most ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ products are loaded with sugar so they don’t taste like cardboard. You have to read labels. In the ingredients, they are listed based on quantity, so if sugar is the first or second ingredient, then the product is most sugar. Try to find foods with whole ingredients and little fillers or added sugar. Don’t be fooled by hidden sugar like ‘fruit juice concentrate’ or ‘evaporated cane juice’. Sugar is sugar is sugar. Unless it is in the actual whole fresh fruit or veg, with accompanying fibre and nutrients, it’s just sugar.
- Meal Plan
When my husband and I started meal planning we cut our grocery bill by probably 25-50%. How many times do you go grocery shopping because ‘there’s nothing to eat’ yet your fridge is full? This was us. Until we started meal planning! Now at the end of the week, we are down to bare bones, we go and stock up only what we need. Here is the Meal Plan Template I developed and we use weekly. It’s simple, easy to follow and helps you develop your grocery list for the week.
- Make Your Unhealthy Favourites Healthy
This is one of my favourite things. I love being able to make something healthy and delicious! Now, it doesn’t always work, but don’t get discouraged. Keep trying! My favourite recipes that I’ve made healthier are lasagna with eggplant instead of pasta, meatloaf with oatmeal and lean ground beef, shepherds pie with cauliflower instead of potatoes. Honestly, 75% of my ‘healthy’ meals are made from lean ground beef, but you could substitute ground chicken or turkey if you prefer!
Hopefully these tips will help you get on the right track to eating better! I know since I started paying closer attention to my own nutrition it has been like night and day with the way I feel and how I interact with my family, and I hope you have the same experience!