Do you struggle as a busy mom/woman to prioritize nutrition?
Today I’m sharing my top 10 tips for busy women who want to prioritize nutrition for themselves and/or their families.
You guys have asked me in stories to share more about nutrition, and though I’m absolutely not a nutrition expert (nor do I claim to be), I’ve spent my fair share of time processing how to do this well in my life.
- Because food is the primary source of fuel to live our lives.
- What we eat makes a difference in how we feel and “perform.”
- Food is complex. There are layers here – it’s physical fuel, but it’s also mental/emotional/spiritual/cultural, etc. For most people, food isn’t “just” fuel.
I could do a deep dive into #3, but that’s for another day. 🙂 Instead, based on #1-2, I want to share with you my top 10 tips on how I incorporate solid nutrition into my busy life as a mom of 7 and business owner. I’m not a foodie and I honestly don’t love to mess with food, but I’ve recognized that how I fuel my body AFFECTS how I live my days, so it’s moved from “when I can,” to a NECESSITY in my weekly planning.
Here are my top 10 tips for prioritizing nutrition in a busy lifestyle:
- Make changes slowly – overhauling an entire diet/pantry, etc. is daunting. You might be motivated to do so, but I rarely find that those types of changes last. Instead, I’d advise making small changes over time. Start with breakfast or start with your kids’ snacks. Maybe it’s replacing a soda with water in the afternoon or packing a nutritious snack vs. the vending machine item at work. Either way, decide what is the EASIEST change you can make first, get that down, and then move on to the next one. It will be a much slower shift, but it will also be much more sustainable.
- Keep it easy – I’ve tried several meal planning options in the past that were “supposed” to be easy. The problem is that anytime I try a new recipe, no matter how simple it is, it feels a little overwhelming to me just because it’s new. Therefore trying to implement seven new recipes in my week was totally overwhelming! Like #1, instead of overhauling the whole system, why don’t you write down a few nutritious tried-and-true recipes your family loves and start trying only 1-2 new recipes/week to add to your list of easy ones you love. Over time you’ll still grow your list without making it so overwhelming.
- Have a list of basics – In my online grocery app, I keep a list of the basics we eat every single week. This is a list of my go-to items needed for breakfast, lunch, and snack items that we rotate through constantly week by week, which makes ⅔ of the meals pretty brainless. By having them saved in my online cart, a grocery order can be placed pretty quickly!
- Simplify your options – We all love variety, some of us more than others. I probably lean on the side of needing less variety, but even if you like more, I’m going to encourage you to simplify your options. Why? Is this going to be boring? No. It’s going to make your life EASIER to meal plan and free up brain space for all the things you need to do.
- Meal plan (enough said!) – I don’t think I need to talk a long time about this one. Meal planning is really essential to prioritizing nutrition. Anytime we’re left without a plan, we’re more likely to make a quick decision, and fast almost always = less nutritious.
- Keep treats a treat – as much as I might LIKE a treat every day, I don’t NEED a treat every day. The same goes for my kids. As much as possible, I keep treats out of the house and our snacks are “mostly” whole foods. We don’t do this perfectly, but if you’re trying to turn the tides in your own home, I have two pieces of advice:
- Expect it to take time
- Your kids (and YOU!) WILL adjust! 🙂 The good news about our taste buds is that though they may get used to processed foods, you can teach them to like more nutritious whole foods.
- Truth: I grew up on sugary cereal, pop tarts, and toaster strudels for breakfast. Snacks were often some type of Little Debbie/Hostess snack, and we joked about which “Helper” (like Hamburger Helper) was coming for dinner that night. This is in no way shaming my parents – they didn’t know any better and that’s probably how most people ate in the 90s! 😉 But now I can’t imagine putting any of these foods in my body. They don’t even sound good to me. And before you get the wrong picture, there are plenty of foods that I still love even though they aren’t nutritious! 😉 My point: tastebuds CAN change.
- Make it a family ordeal – get your family involved in meal planning so they have a buy-in to the more nutritious meals you’re choosing. Let them make the salad or help prep veggies. This may also mean sometimes having a compromising meal that isn’t perfectly on point with nutritious but keeps them happy! Serve fruits and veggies on the side and it will be ok for 1 night of the week. 😉
- Recognize how your body responds to different fuels – this is SO important. Example: When given a choice to prepare a fruit smoothie vs. grab a cookie off the counter, hands down I’m going to choose the cookie b/c I know it will taste delicious and is a quicker option. However, when I stopped to pay attention to how I felt after eating the cookie vs. the fruit smoothie, I realized that though the cookie tasted good, it only kept me full for about 15 min and just made me want to eat 2 to 3 more. On the other hand, the fruit smoothie filled with fiber and protein kept me full for 2-3 HOURS, AND tasted good! Having this knowledge keeps me from making a quick choice that I know won’t serve me well.
- See it is a necessity, not an option – I shared this above – I’m not a foodie and I don’t love spending hours prepping food. But every week when I don’t prioritize meal planning/getting groceries, I get frustrated with myself as we end up throwing things together or getting a pizza and I can FEEL the difference in my body. If you want to prioritize your nutrition, you need to see it as a necessary part of your week, not just optional based on how busy you are.
- Experiment with flavor – this is last on my list for a reason. I believe we have a much bigger buy-in when we actually LIKE what we eat vs. tolerate it. For me, food being fuel is #1 and taste is #2. For my hubby, the taste is #1 and I get that. I really do think God created food for our enjoyment as well, and thankfully He created all sorts of flavors for us to enjoy! Nutritious food CAN be absolutely delicious (our favorites are taco bowls, marinated salmon, strawberry spinach salad, homemade fruit smoothies, grilled steak, roasted veggies from the garden, chicken stir-fry, seasoned pork, egg omelets with veggies, etc), but it does take some time to find the right combination, so keep trying!
Want some help with meal planning? Download my FREE resource to help you get started. This is the exact method I use to help me each week! Enjoy!!