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Sometimes it’s hard being a mama. Our to-do list is never-ending, but we still expect to get it done while toddlers hang on our legs and children ask us 400 questions in the span of 3 minutes. It’s amazing that our brains can even still function… or can they? I know that I have serious doubts about mine most days.
We juggle things like careers, spouses, children, school, mealtime, gym time, and play time. We have to worry about if our kids are being challenged enough, if it’s a problem that the two-year-old isn’t talking yet, and that big deadline with work that we have coming up. Not to mention, it’s been how long since we had a date with our spouse?
And then there’s the meals. These kids want to eat constantly. All. The. Time. I make them a meal, and then in ten minutes I hear those dreaded words – “mommy, I’m hungry”.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really enjoy cooking. It’s something that I’ve taken upon myself so that I can make sure that my family is being nourished, but I don’t really love it. I actually dread mealtimes because I know that I have to come up with things to feed them. Thankfully, this has morphed into a really useful trait – I’m now a master of easy, healthy recipes.
I’m going to let you in on my secret now: I keep meals to under 7 ingredients. And not just any 7 ingredients, I make sure to keep only the healthy foods that I want to be feeding my family in the house. This really cuts down on making convenience foods that aren’t good for us to eat.
I break everything up into categories and I always have the ingredients on-hand.
Proteins: chicken, fish, ground beef (all frozen), beans.
Vegetables: frozen, organic veggie mixes, and fresh in-season vegetables like zucchini, squash, and greens.
Starches: sweet potatoes, red potatoes, butternut squash, rice, and quinoa.
My meal planning from this point on is simple. Everything is either baked, sautéed, or put in the crockpot. I don’t go fancy, and I use seasoning for flavor.
My 3 main dishes are:
Baked fish with sautéed broccoli/rice mix.
Crockpot chicken and veggies with roasted sweet potatoes.
Beef taco salad with rice or quinoa.
You can mix and match any of the ingredients and seasonings to match whatever you’ve got on hand, and your dinner will be easy-peasy. Take just a few minutes on Sunday to write down what you’re planning for the week and then you won’t be rushing around at dinnertime, trying to figure out what you’re going to feed the kids!
So while this way of eating does still require some work, it’s not much. Our kids are growing, and they need foods that have nutrients in them if they’re going to grow properly. The convenience foods these days are full of ingredients that cause problems in our bodies, and then we wonder why we’ve got epidemics of autoimmune disease, diabetes, and behavior problems in our kids.
We are actually raising the first generation of kids that are not expected to outlive their parents, because the food we are giving them is not food for healthy, growing bodies. But together, we can change that. Our kids deserve the best from us, and feeding them whole, nutritious foods is the simplest way to start!
It’s a slow path to wellness, especially when you’re dragging screaming kids with you. But it’s possible. And I can guarantee you that if you start taking steps toward health now, you will be able to set your family up with good habits for life.
My book will help you to outline the steps to take so that you can attain health with your family too. You can get a free sample chapter here, along with a pre-launch discount code!
What is the biggest struggle with keeping your family healthy that you face as a busy mama?
19 thoughts on “A Busy Mom’s Guide to Healthy Meals”
Honestly these tips are great for anyone pressed for time! Thank you for the food inspiration!
Stefani knows her stuff!
My 4 year old tells me she is STARVING at least 30 times a day. From the minute she wakes up until she is asleep, she wants to do nothing but eat! We have been doing healthier options, but dank this kid can eat lol
Man! I think my son just snacks ALL day long. He’s never without food!
Ooo, I battle to get my eldest to eat most things resembling fruit or veggies which is so weird cause as a baby and toddler he would eat so well! I’m now on the constant hunt for ways to disguise veggies!
We’re ALWAYS disguising our veggies!
I like those ideas. I so need to plan out my meals so much better.
A big part of eating healthy is definitely planning ahead!
I actually love cooking, for my family, but it still can be a struggle to get good meals on the table. I love your idea of having categorizes of food on hand.
Stefani has some really great tips!
This is so great! I know I struggle with putting healthy meals on the table every night. As we speak my hubby is getting McDonalds because we’ve been busy getting ready to sell our house…
I understand how stressful selling a house can be. We’ve been eating poorly as we’ve been away so much over the past month. Hopefully I just keep making conscious decisions when we’re home for us! Good luck!
Oh man that quote about life expectancy really shocked me! That is so sad! I have worked really hard to not give my daughter a lot of processed foods. We have homemade meals almost every night, and crockpot chicken is a cornerstone of my meal planning too!
It shocked me too! That’s awesome that you make an effort every night for homemade meals!
I think we struggle with dinner time and having a balanced meal. To be honest, it’s a struggle to do it after a full day of running around. Trying to get better at it by making larger portions of food and saving it for a quick defrost/replay instead of ordering take-out.
I know I need to get better at it too. There’s so much going on in my day that I often leave food last.
My biggest problem is that my son just hit his first food phase: he only wants to eat fruit, pancakes, and cookies. Even stuff he loved before he just doesn’t want! Gah!
Just keep trying! That’s what we do at the very least and hope for the best at every meal!
I’d love to see an article like this for vegetarian families! Any chance? Great post, though. I NEED to plan our meals better!