If you’re anything like me, you understand how difficult it can be to make great food choices for yourself. Even if you follow an organized meal plan, it can be tough to be diligent with what you’re feeding yourself.
Life can get so busy. Whether you are a mom or not, we can easily slide into the habit of eating junk and making poor food choices. Before I go any farther, I’m not a nutritionist. I’m simply going to share some things that I have found helpful in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
When I first started thinking about eating better, I thought it was be super expensive and take up way too much time. It wasn’t a reachable goal for me, so I didn’t consider it seriously. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I understood that it didn’t need to be complicated.
Probably like many other moms, after three pregnancies, my body was just over it. Especially after my third, I fell into some less than ideal heath habits. I knew I wasn’t in great shape or eating how I should, but I felt like it was a lost cause.
I am an emotional eater, along with some 50% of the population. Emotions trigger a desire for food. It doesn’t matter the emotion—sadness, anger, anxiety, fatigue, fear. I’m wired to turn to food for comfort. And, every time I go to the fridge for comfort, I’m left feeling miserable shortly thereafter.
Those habits are SOOO hard to break. It took our family photos to spark a desire for change.
Our oldest was beginning the summer kindergarten program at his new school. We lived about a half mile away, and I’m not a fan of driving, so I decided to walk him to and from school each day. I started noticing a difference in my mood and how I felt. Josh encouraged me to take the long way home and to just enjoy my time walking.
Just walking those extra miles made such a difference in my health. Since I was already getting so many daily steps, I joined Stepbet for added incentive. I love measurable goals and challenges, so meeting my step goals in order to win was no problem.
With one boy in kindergarten and another in pre-k for half the day, the youngest and I walked all over the place. We’d walk to parks, the library, even the store carrying tote bags on the stroller handles. Being the boy mom that I am, many of our walks also included dropping in at the police or fire station.
Just Eat Real Food
I also started following a blogger who emphasized “just eat real food.” I knew that food is fuel, but I never really applied that before. Our family cut out most processed foods. Thankfully, the boys love their fruits and veggies, so this was a fairly easy shift for us.
“Just eat real food” and “food is fuel” changed my mindset. It changed the way I shopped. I stopped snacking on junk throughout the day or picking at pieces of whatever the boys were eating. I would ask myself, “Am I going to regret eating this later?” The answer was usually yes, so I put the pointless snack down.
I began intermittent fasting. That could be a topic all on its own. But basically, that helped me set the limit on when I would be eating. I was done by 6pm. That meant no mindless snacking while chilling with Josh, watching a movie. He ate whatever; I had flavored water instead.
(Just a note here: it took a while for him to be comfortable munching in front of me while I was fasting. He was super sensitive about it and continues to be very supportive of my goals.)
My go-to way to break my fast around 10 the next morning was a basic Greek salad. It has a cucumber, tomato, some purple onion slices, black olives, and feta cheese (if I have it). Then drizzle with lemon juice and a couple shakes of pepper. And I could prep it all in advance!
I would typically make two salads at a time and store the second. And I cut everything up while I was already making the boys’ lunches. It really didn’t add extra work to my day.
This is huge. Because even though our boys would be perfectly happy to eat peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch with cucumbers, I know that my body is craving more. So being able to give myself that nutrient-packed meal with basically no added time was fantastic!
Taco Rice Bowl
Since then I’ve also come up with another quick meal. It’s a taco rice bowl. This one makes three meals at once.
While the rice is cooking, I divide a can of drained black beans and a can of drained diced tomatoes with chilies into three 2-3 cup containers. Then add the rice when it’s ready. If I can’t find the diced tomatoes with chilies I add salsa instead.
Have leftover chicken? Throw it in. You have cilantro, green onions, or avocados on hand? Add those after you reheat the bowl and you are ready to go. Throw cheese on top if that’s your thing.
That’s it. I can even do this while answering question after question from our 4-year-old.
Healthy Meals are Achievable
In just a few minutes, I can have 5 healthy meals that I can alternate for lunches during the week. Alternating the meals provides some variety to the week. My breakfasts (when I’m not fasting) and suppers are more planned, so being able to create an easy, healthy lunch is awesome.
In this crazy busy time, we all need something fast that doesn’t take a lot of time to prep ahead of time either. I hope these two meals give you more options for better choices.
Making simple changes like walking, eating to fuel our bodies, and being in control of when we eat (like through intermittent fasting) can make big differences in our overall health and lifestyle. Because I took our boys on so many walks when they were little, they beg to go for more walks and even join me when I go running. Just from simple changes.
What about you?
How do you choose to make healthy decisions in your life? Do you have any go-to meals I can add to my menu? I love these two, but I wouldn’t turn down a bit more variety either. What about some workout habits you’ve found you’re able to do as a buys mama?