Healthy Breakfast/Lunch or Snack Ideas for New Parents
The following is a guest post by Emily Stone, a SAHM, proud wife, runner, fitness freak, health food addict, and animal lover! If you'd like to reach out to Emily, you can find her on Twitter @FitMommaEm, or you can email her!
And now, without further ado --- take it away, Emily!
When I had my first child, the first few months passed by a in a blur. I was so exhausted from the nighttime feedings and the constant upkeep of a young infant that when it came to eating, ease was king. I ate out, a lot. But after I had my second child, I had a few more ideas to go on and those first few months were much easier on my diet (and my pocketbook). Healthy eating shouldn’t be a terrible chore, nor should it be impossible for new moms to do. With a little thinking ahead, it can be a snap.
I can fairly easily make a nice meal for my family and myself in about 30 minutes. One easy trick I picked up is to simply double or triple the quantity. Then, once it’s cooled, I freeze the excess to reheat for another week. When I have the containers, I freeze it in single portion sizes to make preparing for lunch much quicker. There are lots of dishes that work well for this, including pasta dishes, chili and soup. Then, I can have a hot, healthy lunch in minutes by simply using my microwave.
I don’t always have the time to sit and eat a hot meal, however. At times like this, I think easy. My fridge is full of meal components that are ready-to-serve. The day I go to the grocery store, I come home and prepare all the produce I purchased. Melons are cut into cubes and bagged, lettuce is washed and chopped into salad-size bites, and bell peppers are sliced. I stock up on other foods that are easy to snack on, such as deli meats and cheeses. If I actually have time to sit and eat, I enjoy Greek yogurt and cottage cheese for breakfast or lunch. At other times, I can go to the fridge with a plate and walk away less than two minutes later with a healthy, balanced, protein-packed meal that I can eat whenever and wherever I want.
During the warm, summer months, I spend a lot of time out of the house with the kids. The temptation is to simply eat while we’re out, but it’s good to know that I have healthy food that’s ready to go. I bought divided travel snack containers for the kids and myself. I fill up each one with crackers, fruit and easy veggies. I love dips like peanut butter, Greek yogurt and hummus. I include them in my travel snacks because they add necessary fats and protein to my diet.
Slow Cooker Meals
I cannot deny the convenience of the slow cooker. I throw a few ingredients in the crock in the morning and by dinnertime, the house smells great and dinner is ready. I never used a slow cooker before I had kids, and now I can’t get enough of it. The interesting twist these days is slow-cooking breakfast. Most of the time, my breakfast is cold, but every now and then it’s nice to have a hot breakfast. Recipes abound for slow-cooker oatmeal, French toast, and breakfast casseroles. I put the ingredients in before I go to bed, and when I wake up, my breakfast looks delicious and my house smells fantastic.
As a new mom, I needed convenience in the kitchen more than I needed almost anything. The ability to eat healthy quickly or on-the-go was a huge improvement in my quality of life, and has helped me set a good example for my growing children.