Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Moms

Allison Martineau, Sweetpea Nutrition

Moms are busy. I know that is one of those captain obvious kind of statements, but sometimes it requires repeating.  Being a new mom or a new working mom means that what worked for you before having children may not cut it post kids when your time is stretched thin. Below are my healthy eating tips for those days when your meeting runs late, the traffic was crazy, your baby was up all night or you are simply exhausted which is basically every day!

TOP Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Moms! 

  1. Do meal prep for your produce as soon as you get back from the grocery store! Before you even put the food away, take 15 minutes to wash and cut up your vegetables and fruits that way they are all ready to go. This hack is perfect for when you or your kid’s ‘hanger’ threatens to take over! It also means you are choosing better snacks.
  2. Prepare some quick meals in advance. This is as simple as boil a half dozen eggs so you have a quick protein snack ready, whip up a quick chia pudding, throw some peeled and chopped bananas in the freezer for smoothies.  Any quick food prep that you can get out of the way in advance will make your week smoother and cooking easier and more enjoyable. Meals that are great for freezing include meatballs, cabbage rolls, lasagna and chilli.
  3. Double or triple your recipes. If are you going to go to all that effort to cook, might as well make a few batches so you have lots of leftovers in the freezer that you can pull out when you don’t have time!.  Meals that are great for freezing are….
  4. Quick snacks are your new BFF. Reinvent what a meal looks like.  It doesn’t have to be complicated; quick and easy is best! See list below!
  5. Grocery store shortcuts are OK! I am giving you permission to buy grocery store short cuts whether it be pre-chopped veggies or bagged salads! Yes, they cost a little more, but if it means healthier eating and less stress then it is worth it!

Healthy Eating Tips: Quick Snacks are your new BFF List!

  • Dates with a small spoon of nut butter
  • Turkey rollups (slice of turkey or other deli meat with a slice of avocado inside)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Fruit and plain (no sugar added) yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Smoothies
  • Energy balls
  • Dark chocolate (75% cocoa content or higher)
  • Apple or celery sticks with nut butter
  • Sweet potato fries (roasted in the oven with a drizzle of oil and seasonings of your choice)
  • Avocado toast (whole grain bread with mashed avocado on top with a sprinkle of sea salt and some red pepper flakes)
  • Piece of cheese
  • Roasted vegetables (roast cauliflower, brussel sprouts or broccoli with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of sea salt at the end)

BONUS: Easy & Healthy Eating Snack Recipes!

Cherry Chia Chocolate Smoothie
Serving Size: 1

1 cup frozen cherries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ banana
Handful of spinach (you won’t taste it)
½ avocado (because I feel the need to add avocado to everything!)
1 cup of milk

Blend all ingredients in the blender until smooth.  Drink immediately.  Smoothies with avocado tend to not last very long in the fridge.  If you won’t be drinking right away you may opt to leave out the avocado.

Nutritionist Tip: Cherries and bananas are both rich in potassium, a natural blood pressure reducer.  Cocoa powder is a great source of magnesium, which can be effective in allowing your body to relax and may enhance your sleep.

 

Chia Seed Pudding
Serving Size: Makes 3-4 servings

1 can of coconut milk (400 mL)
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Optional add-ons include fresh fruit, chopped nuts and/or granola

Whisk can of coconut milk in a bowl with chia seeds, vanilla extract and maple syrup.  Thoroughly combine all ingredients.  Place bowl in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  I generally prep in the evening and have it sit overnight so I can eat this pudding for breakfast.  Once it is ready it should be thicker and a pudding like consistency.  If it is too thick, simply add a splash of milk and stir together.  Top with fresh fruit, nuts or granola.

Nutritionist Tip: Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse packed with calcium, Omega 3 fats and antioxidants.  They are quick and easy to add to meals such as oatmeal, smoothies or in a pudding such as this one, where they are the star of the show.

Granola (Great as a topping, snack or mix with yogurt)
Makes 12 1/2 cups

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup (increase if you prefer a sweeter granola)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups raisins or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine all ingredients except the dried fruit in a large bowl, tossing them to coat evenly. Spread mixture in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, to avoid sticking.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes total. After about 20 minutes into the cooking time, use a spatula to turn over the granola so that the other side can brown up as well. Cook remaining 25-35 minutes. Cool completely. Once it’s completely cool, add in dried fruit and break into clusters if it is too clumped together.

Nutritionist Tip: Walnuts contain a high amount of plant based omega 3 fats, have antioxidants and vitamin E, which together can all help with weight control, mood, blood sugar balance and heart health (among other things).

Energy Balls

Makes about 20-25 balls

1 cup (dry) oatmeal (old-fashioned oats)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 1 week.

Nutritionist Tip: Flaxseeds are an excellent source of plant based omega 3 fatty acids, offer heart health benefits, digestive health support and also have anecdotal evidence to boost milk supply if you are nursing.

 

Healthy Tips for Busy moms

Allison Martineau has a Masters in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University and has over 10 years experience working in health and nutrition.  She has a passion for sharing her nutritional strategies with expectant and new families to make cooking and eating for health during the preconception, pregnancy and postpartum periods simple and convenient.  Allison runs a nutrition practice called Sweetpea Nutrition and is the nutritionist at West End Mamas. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three young sons.

League of Moms / 01/10/2018

4 thoughts on “Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Moms”

  1. I agree with moat of the tips except 1. and 3.
    Preparing, pre-washing and bagging produce reduces its fridge life and it ends up spoiling and going into garbage. When I cook double the recipes it only goes in fridge never frozen. I find that when my recipes are doubled hubby and son want to just eat it the next day. So they don’t make it to freezer. Tip 4 and 5 are a must do for weekday meals. In our house we even use pre made sauces or pre cooked chicken strips.

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