They say “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” but for most parents (especially new ones), the cup is either empty or pretty close to it. Between interrupted sleep, demanding schedules and a lack of time and resources to do it all, parenting is the ultimate balancing act!
Thankfully, it also happens to be one of the most rewarding and special roles I’ve ever had.
You see, as a parent, you are a caregiver, a cheerleader, a teacher, and many times, a slave to your children’s needs. It’s a full time job, before tackling your nine to five. As a busy mom, a nutritionist and holistic health practitioner, I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice a lot of self-love and self-care. Those little ones are watching you and they need you.
HERE ARE OUR 5 TOP TIPS:
1 — PLAN AHEAD
Gone are the days where you can stumble in from a long day at work and jump on Seamless. We have nothing against Seamless, but often this is when you end up raiding your pantry, eating mindlessly. Spending even an hour or two meal-prepping on a Sunday evening can go a long way. And the kids can join in on the fun too! If they are a part of the process, they’ll be more adventurous eaters too!
Take them to the grocery store or farmer’s market, and let them watch or help you chop up your favorite produce to prep for the week. I’m a big fan of roasting veggies in bulk then storing them in air-tight containers so you have them on-hand and ready to eat when you walk in. I also suggest keeping fresh fruits and vegetables, pre-washed and pre-cut, so you can whip up a quick crudité plate or fruit plate. Mom hack: wash and cut them right when you get home from the market, before you even put them into your refrigerator.
2 —THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Literally. Many boxed and packaged foods can be high in sodium and other preservatives to maintain a longer shelf life. While we can’t always eat fresh, local, organic foods (we’re realistic!), frozen or dried fruits and vegetables are always the healthier, more nutrient-dense choice. A few of my favorite brands -- aside from mēle, of course are Kid Fresh, Dr. Praeger’s, and Ella’s.
3 — FOCUS ON COLOR
Even if your wardrobe is all black, your plate and glass should be packed with color. Whether it’s a simple stir fry, a colorful salad or a mēle shake, the more color, the better! The colors are representative of the vitamins and nutrients in your food.
- Anything red has lycopene which helps rid the body of free radicals that damage genes.
- Orange veggies have alpha carotene which protect you against cancer.
- Green/yellow veggies have zeaxanthin which can prevent age-related muscular degeneration.
- Darker green veggies have sulforaphane which also ward of carcinogens (stuff that will damage your cells and your health).
4 — HAVE A DANCE PARTY
There’s nothing more fun than blasting Taylor Swift and jumping and dancing around the living room with your kids. It’s also a great way to get the whole family moving! Who needs a gym membership?
5 — PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
If you want your kids to be active, let them watch you being active. If you want your kids to eat healthily, lead my example and eat healthy foods with them and in front of them. You are your children’s greatest influence in this world, especially when they are younger. One of my proudest moments was when my littlest (2.5 year old) was planning a holiday party in preschool with his friends and teacher. Each child got to choose one of the menu items and he shouted out “we need to have salad because mommies love salad.”
Jennifer Silverman is a holistic nutritionist who lives in New York. As an expert in nutrition and intuitive eating, she takes a 360 approach to empower her clients to take ownership of their eating choices to enrich their lives. Her high-touch approach, warmth and relatability set her apart among her peers. She educates clients about the power of food, debunks common dieting misconceptions and helps people develop a healthy relationship with food and eating.