The Food Conundrum: Balancing Healthy Meals with Busy Lives

Rebecca J. - Mom of Three

My 18-month-old son just ate a Girl Scout S’mores cookie. Okay, maybe four. For breakfast. I know it’s not exactly a healthy meal choice, but it’s oh-so-delish! Plus, we had lots of leftover boxes from my daughter’s troop. Those Thin Mints literally pushed the quinoa oatmeal aside in the pantry.

To be fair, Jack is my third child. (I would like to think if he was my first child I would keep an avocado in my diaper bag). And while I would love to be cutting organic grapes in halfsies before heading to the park, we are often tossing back a sippy cup of milk while munching on a cereal bar in the car. 

It’s a conundrum: Balancing healthy meals and the realities of ALWAYS being on the go. What’s a mom to do?

Always prep the night before.

Lunches should be made the night before, not in the middle of a hectic morning while we are simultaneously trying to brush our teeth (and our children’s).

During mornings, time is a luxury we simply don’t have. You could spend the entirety just putting on your toddler’s shoes. That said, this is not exactly an ideal time to make lunch. Unless you like to yell and be in six places at once.

Look to restaurant menus for inspiration.

My picky-eater daughter decided she liked granola, yogurt, grapes, and honey when we ordered a “dessert” bowl at a restaurant. Look at menus for healthy meal ideas if you are in a food rut.

Make eating feel like play.

We will often make pizza with store-bought premade dough, premade sauce, and mozzarella cheese. My kids will (usually) eat food they make and it fills the time between after school and dinner time without the Ipad.

It also allows me to get quality time in with my kiddos while also whipping up a quick, healthy meal that they will love.

Don’t shy away from pre cut fruits and frozen veggies.

I know that pre cut cantaloupe costs more than the whole melon, but sometimes, it’s easier to throw those cubes on their plates. And did ya know that frozen veggies can be more nutritious than veggies that have been shipped long distances? Yup, so microwave that frozen broccoli, throw some olive oil and salt on it, and shove it in the oven.

Find a healthy meal on an unhealthy menu.

Did you know that you can get eggs at most fast food places? It will make you feel good about that fast food drive through and you can get another cup of coffee.

Eat lots of dips and smoothies.

Some kids will eat carrots if you dip in ranch or eat fruit when you whip up a smoothie. Even my baby likes to press the smoothie button, and it’s an easy way to sneak in some healthy stuff.

It’s all about balance. We are doing our best, and that’s okay. Some days you’ll eat cookies. Some days you’ll eat organic turkey bacon with no nitrates. And some days you’ll find a smashed avocado in your purse from your first kid…

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