Most of us enjoy eating with our families, and not having enough time gets in the way! Hectic schedules existed before COVID 19, and still prevail during the pandemic. We may have expected less stress getting a meal together in quarantine because, after all, everyone is home under the same roof. The fact remains because of homeschooling and demanding jobs, time still wreaks havoc cooking and eating healthy meals together as a family.
We know time doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. Each day feels like we are reliving the movie Ground Hog Day. In some homes, food or meals may even seem “same-old-same-old.” Rather than throwing arms up in despair, a good plan works much better for busy moms. Easy healthy meals start with smart food shopping and simplifying food preparation, implemented during lock-down, and when we resume that “new” normal.
With Mother’s Day in May, I decided to celebrate busy moms and create a series of blog posts with simple suggestions encouraging moms to add at least one more family meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) to the table each week. I checked in with a few of my colleagues, Linda Farr and Elizabeth Ward, who also work with moms to share their top recommendations
On her website Nutritious Table, registered dietitian nutritionist and current President-Elect of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Linda T. Farr stays true to her mission.—– ” to help you improve your quality of life with simple, easy-to-implement tools that promote proper nutrition and healthful living for a lifetime.” Linda often shows mom’s how a family meal can easily be prepared in 20-minutes. “At about the same time, it takes to place an order from a menu, wait in line to pick up your meal, and drive home from either fast food or traditional restaurant, you could have made your own meal.” One of her secret time-saving tips is to use frozen vegetables because there is no preparation time, and they taste great.
“Because there is so much information about meal preparation, advising moms to fix five different dinners on one weekend day, moms can get overwhelmed,” Linda says. She has a more natural solution. No need to take a separate day out of your weekend to cook. Linda recommends that all you need to do is prepare extra, like double the recipe, for only two or three days a week, where you will have enough leftovers for the days that follow. “Meal preparation is essential, but you don’t need to exhaust your energy by making 5 meals in one shot.”
Linda also discusses the time-saving advantage of ordering groceries online with the availability of so many apps. Ordering groceries becomes a snap. “Many apps keep your food ordering history, which simplifies your next order. All you need to do is click on those items that you typically use. Once they have two or three meals or recipes that they make, many families repeat two or three times every week. ” To find out more about these apps during this pandemic, check out Seven Best Ways to Get Groceries Delivered by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
More advice for busy moms, comes from registered dietitian nutritionist, author of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy, Elizabeth Ward. Elizabeth recommends planning, patience, and persistence. – “First, think about what simple meals you can make during the week, or what you can make on the weekend to make weeknight meals easier, and shop for those ingredients. Second, be patient with children during mealtimes. They aren’t always in the best moods! They are tired at the end of the day, too, and younger kids often have a hard time staying in their chairs. Finally, keep trying. As the mom of three, I can tell you that persistence pays off!” Elizabeth, who specializes in food and communications also believes in progress, not perfection which is best described in the title of her website Better Is The New Perfect
Resources that my help you save time in the kitchen:
Seven Best Ways to Get Groceries Delivered an article by Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
The Easy Five Ingredient Health Cookbook by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN
The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Serena Ball, RD & Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD