I have something that I want to get out before I start talking about what I eat and why: I hate diet culture. From the (f)Atkins Diet to the ‘no carbs in the evening’, from the juice cleanse to the low fat, from the 5:2 to the Paleo. The list is endless. It was drilled into us about 10 years ago that fat was the enemy and we should buy low fat everything, and now the message seems to be that is sugar is evil and fat is good…No wonder people find food confusing! I’ll be honest, I’ve tried a few of these fads and whilst they may have made me feel good for a bit, I’ve never been completely happy with my ‘diet’ until recently. A few reasons: 1) there’s so much pressure if you deviate from your chosen diet, mostly internally in my case, and 2) it’s easy to become obsessed about said diet, which is stressful and sucks the enjoyment out of eating.
Now that’s off my chest, let’s get down to it. Being a mum is exhausting, relentless and awesome all at once. I’ve come to realise that if I’m not looking after myself, I’m a ratty, grumpy, short-fuse. There are three things that help me perform better in the parenting stakes: exercise, fuel and rest (and wine, but that’s fuel, right?). The latter is probably the most neglected, but if I get the other two right then that’s usually good enough.
I have a few basic ideas about food. Firstly, if you want to lose/maintain/gain, you need to make sure you burn off more/equal/less energy than you take in. E.g. if you wanted to lose weight, you need to burn off more energy than you’re taking in. You can eat whatever you like, as long as this simple principle is applied: fast food, take out, meat, plants; you can eat lucky charms smothered in Nutella every day if you want! Who actually cares? Well, I do, and that’s my second point. The nutrients I get from my food make a huge difference to my energy levels and my ability to not lose my sh*t with the kids. This awesome graphic from @meowmeix on Instagram highlights the calorie dense vs nutrient dense sitch:
This is all very well and good but how do I fit healthy eating into my already time-poor life? Glad you asked. Here are my top tips for switching up your food routine....
There’s a slogan involving a lot of Ps, but you basically need to write a meal plan for the week and do an online shop.
Cook once, eat twice
If I’m cooking something like a bolognese, I will often cook more than we need so that we either eat the same thing two nights running or I freeze a portion down for those times when life is hectic/I’m starving/the apocalypse.
Eat the rainbow
Get those veggies in! It doesn’t have to be conventional, just pile them on your plate. For the kids, the easiest way I can get my beige-loving boys to eat food with colour is to blend it into a pasta sauce. For the adults, I try and have at least two different colours of veg on the plate.
I try and bake something every week or two, depending on our schedule. Cacao crispies are a current fave- Jake loves them because they’re chocolatey, and I love them for a quick energy fix.
Zero waste eating
Ok so we are definitely notzero waste, but it sounds better than ‘less’ waste. I hate throwing away food so I have one super speedy go-to meal for using up leftover veggies and that’s a veg fried rice- I use microwave rice to make it ultra quick. You can put anything in the pan that you fancy- onion, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, grated carrot... the possibilities are endless- who knew rice could be so exciting?! Throw some cashews, egg and halloumi in there too and it’s an absolute delight!
This, for me, is KING. There’s nothing I don’t let myself eat, I just try and food that makes me feel good. Sometimes that involves wine/choc/crisps/leftover beige food from the boys’ tea, and I’m totally fine with that!
I’d love to hear your tips for healthy eating!
Love Mel x