As moms, we are burdened by, what I like to call, the food trifecta.
There’s the meal-planning aspect – the comprehensive coordination of all the meals with all of the activities, the recipe researching, the creation of the grocery list, the shopping, the prepping, the cooking, the disgruntled eaters, the mystery of the leftovers, the guilt of throwing food away that either never made it to a recipe or was forgotten in the back of the crisper (what was that furry stuff anyway?)
Then, there’s part two of the trifecta – your responsibility to grow healthy humans. This process often involves smoke and mirrors, song and dance, and staunch negotiation. On repeat. Every day. It’s as if you’re the lead attorney in the people vs. all things green and you must convince the jury (your kids) that all things green are not only innocent but good. They’re not buying it. Case dismissed! What? Wait! Come back here… where are you going and where did you get those cheeZpoofs?
Finally, there’s part three – your eating habits. It’s no secret that this is often the first thing out the window. Why do we do that? Do we feel selfish? Is it because someone should finish those remaining chicken nuggets that your toddler knew better than to consume? Otherwise it’s wasting! Maybe it’s because we think we have time to work on ourselves “later”… What? After you declutter the basement and finish that scrapbook? Mmmhmm.
If you don’t take control of the food trifecta, it will haunt you daily. It will eat your mental wherewithal for lunch, and it will negatively affect your long-term health.
So, what can we do about it?
Let’s take it one “fecta” at a time…
#1: Effective Meal Planning
The secret to (life) meal planning is to have an organized approach; a duplicatable system. It’s the first step to take control of the food trifecta. Remember Ron Popeil of 70s & 80s TV marketing fame? He’s known for promoting kitchen gadgets and famous for the phrase, “set it and forget it.”
At Grace in the Race, we’re on a mission to automate as many mom-life processes as we can to reduce chaos and spend more time doing the things we love!
When it comes to meal planning we take this 3-step approach:
- Plan WEEKLY and do it on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Use your calendar to look at the week ahead while you plan. Work around meetings and kids’ activities and select your meals based on what your time will allow.
- While you plan your meals, create your grocery list. Organize the list by aisle to expedite your shopping trip. Remember to include not only dinner plans but breakfast, lunch and snacks as well.
- Do a quick clean-out of your refrigerator at the end of each week to assess what you might be low on as far as condiments and other essentials that you count on having on hand; add them to your grocery list.
#2: Raising Healthy Humans
On the heels of the tips above, and to further get control of the food trifecta, consider the following three steps:
1. When you return from the grocery store, start prepping your food immediately.
Particularly, wash fruit and chop veggies and store them in a grab-and-go fashion at kid-eye-level in your fridge. We tend to eat what is convenient. Encourage your little ones to get in the habit of reaching in the fridge for a snack rather than going to the pantry for equally convenient but potentially less healthy options.
2. Regarding less healthy options… limit them!
When humans, young or old, are given the choice between celery sticks and potato chips, they will likely reach for the chips. It’s our nature. However, when the choices are celery sticks or carrot sticks, the temptation is removed from the equation. Save the unhealthy stuff for special treats – not a reward, per se – but something that isn’t just readily available on a daily basis.
3. Help your kids understand the importance of healthy eating.
You are not doing them any favors by caving to their temptations and unhealthy desires. Food-related illness is said to be the underlying cause of death for MOST people in the United States. Is that not terrifying? Is it not also an opportunity to teach them young that our food choices matter?
#3: Taking Care of Mom
We have to shift the narrative on this one, mamas! The saying about putting your oxygen mask on first is key here. Here are the three things you can do to take care of yourself in order to better take care of your family and finally take control of the food trifecta:
1. Here comes the tough love…
Next time you get out of the shower, take a look at your (naked) self in the mirror and ask this question: do I want this for my children? If the answer is no, it’s time for change. Know that your kids are always watching and listening… well, hopefully not while you’re standing there dripping wet in front of the mirror, but you get what I’m saying… They think the world of you and want to be like you when they grow up. Set the right example for them to follow.
Your future depends on it.
In case the suggestion above made you uncomfortable, this isn’t about body shaming. Body image and self-image are closely related for women. Few who hate their body abound in self-love. A healthy body is founded on a healthy state of mind. When you adopt healthy eating habits you’ll fall in love with the way it feels to live in that body, even if you don’t drop a single pound. Though, the likelihood is that your body will change when your mind changes. It starts with a decision and a commitment to see the process in a new light. We MUST own our food choices. If you find yourself making excuses, STOP!
I warned you there would be tough love… please know that it indeed comes from a place of love. Know also that I speak from experience. My journey has been long and enlightening. I only wish someone would have given me this tough love ten years ago!
2. When it comes to eating, keep it simple, healthy and repetitive!
This sounds like a preposterous notion in a world of vast choices but here goes: for breakfast and lunch, try eating the same thing every day. Choose something healthy that you love, but yes, you heard me, eat it every day. If/when you get tired of it, then switch it up – that’s grace. This is a practice that will keep you focused and on track to a healthier lifestyle.
3. Invite a new mindset when it comes to food.
Think of food as fuel. It provides an energy source. Moms require a great deal of energy. If the foods you consume are not fueling you, they are doing the opposite – depleting you – and most of us have little energy to spare. Additionally, think about WHEN you need fuel… it’s not likely when you’re sitting in front of the TV at 9:30pm. Be aware of your WHY and your WHEN when it comes to eating and PLAN accordingly.
Take control of the food trifecta or it will take control of you.
If you’d like to learn more about automating your meal planning process to develop better habits, consider our MotherShip program. It’s a course designed to help busy moms get their SHIP together (their MotherShip!). It comes with an app that puts your day-to-day tasks on repeat and allows you to navigate them from the palm of your hand. Additionally, it includes a digital grocery list that will make your planning a breeze and save you time – and bad choices – at the store! Are you ready to get your SHIP together? If so, complete the form in the middle of this page and we’ll be in touch with the next step!
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