Nutrition Tips for Busy Moms

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NNM2016_700x550_1March is National Nutrition Month ®, hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To celebrate, I asked my friend Lindsey Earle, who is a fitness consultant, to share ten nutrition tips for busy moms.

Even busy moms, with a million things on their plate, can find time to eat and nourish their own bodies. When I am HANGRY (hungry and, as a result, angry), I am not fully able to meet the needs of anyone else without blowing a gasket.

I am constantly on the go, feeding my young children, cleaning up their meals, chasing them as they play, cleaning the whirlwind of toys they leave in their tracks. When I catch a break from the constant swirl of energy that surrounds me, I use that time to work. Though it may seem unmanageable at times, it IS possible to juggle family life and a career while maintaining a diet filled with nutritious meals and snacks.

These ten nutrition tips can foster a healthy lifestyle.

1. Track your nutrition.

It’s important to track your nutrition so you know if you are eating too much or not enough of the right foods. This could be as simple as writing down what you eat in a notebook or using a free app like My Fitness pal to log your daily food intake. My Fitness Pal makes it easy to track most foods. Packaged foods, even some vegetables, can be scanned with the barcode scanner and automatically entered into your daily food journal.

2.  Snack on protein rich foods.

Keep easy-to-eat protein sources on hand. Protein snacks keep you full and keep your energy levels high. My favorite quick protein sources are hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Baked or grilled chicken can be made in larger batches for meals and snacks throughout the week.

3. Keep “mom snacks” in the diaper bag, too.

Diaper bag snacks are not just for your kids! Throw in an apple and a handful of raw nuts; you’ll be set when hunger strikes while on the go. Avoid the late afternoon energy slump by eating these two foods together.

4. Stay hydrated.

Your body sends signals to your brain when you need more water. These signals can be headaches, hunger pains, and a lack of energy. Always carry a water bottle with you; no one else is going to be concerned about your hydration.  Check out this easy water calculator from Bodybuilding.com that will calculate how much water you need per day based on your weight and activity level.

5. Prep fruits and vegetables for the week. 

Wash and chop fruits and veggies after returning from the grocery store. Doing this simple task will allow for plenty of healthy grab and go snacks.

6. Try your hand at freezer meals

Prep multiples of the same freezer meal each weekend. Make it a habit; your freezer will be stocked with meals that can be pulled out and tossed in the crockpot at the start of the day and ready for dinner that night. Crockpot Chicken Fajitas is one of my family’s favorite freezer meals.

7. Write out a meal plan for the week.

It’s easy to build a shopping list with a weekly meal plan. Throughout the week, everything you need is already purchased and at your fingertips. I’ve posted some FREE meal plans on my blog. Check out one of my favorites, 7 Days of Crockpot Dinners, Meal Plans, Recipes and Shopping List. Each recipe is made in the crockpot and requires very little effort to make a healthy meal for the whole family.

8. Eat every 2-3 hours.

Eating every 2-3 hours will help you avoid the inevitable hunger pit in your stomach that cannot seem to be tamed by any amounts of food. This is easier said than done, but the above tips should ensure that you have food ready to go when you need it.

9. Avoid highly processed, packaged snacks

Processed, packaged snacks tend to be nutritionally void, meaning you will consume higher calorie foods that leave you hungry shortly after your eat them. Think “food made from plants versus food made in a plant.”

10. Love yourself enough to make better choices.

This isn’t easy. Try making one simple change per week. Use the list above as a checklist and implement one new step each week. Maintain the changes you have already made and, before long, you will have created healthy habits.

12375120_533707996788336_863145598222984120_oLindsey Earle is a former elementary teacher who wanted to be home with her children. She embraced her passion for health and fitness by forming a home business to help people reach their health goals through online accountability groups and her website, Moving Motivating Momma. Now a certified group instructor, Lindsey motivates people to be the healthiest versions of themselves and to truly love the lives they live.