I have a bit of backlog of Mommy Musings posts, but since Nicholas is sleeping, I decided to sit down and write this (and skipping making lunch instead, which is quite a propos as you will see!)
Here’s a question that was recently sent to me…
“I have been having trouble with my diet since pregnancy. I feel out of control and eat too much junk food and feel like an awful mom. Not the mom that I intended to be at all. I can only assume that it is the lack of sleep and structure that has put me in this place. I am not satisfied by food and reach for the easy and crappy. Like ice cream! Reading what you make inspires me and I wonder if you can help me to get back on track. Can you tell me what you eat?”
I feel like I say this about a million times a week… But it bears repeating. You are not a bad mom! No mom who tries hard is a bad mom. We all do the best we can, and we love our children. Yes, we expected to be preparing gourmet meals our family would enjoy, and eat in peace while we would chat about our day, and the baby would be cooing, and we’d have classical music playing in the background. We expected to be cleaning the floor while singing, watching our adorable progeny stacking blocks, giggling as the tower would fall down.
Ah, but reality is much different 🙂
In the real world, babies are fussy, they cut teeth (get an amber teething necklace!), they wake us up at night and we can’t go back to sleep, they hate car seats, and they need to nap. Also, when it’s your first child, it’s so difficult to adjust to your new life. Before, you might have decided at 6 pm that you’re tired, and you’d eat dinner while watching TV. Or maybe go to bed early. With children, you can’t do that. They won’t let you watch TV, and if they do, you’ll feel guilty they’re watching TV in the first place. You can’t go to bed early. You can only go after they’ve gone to sleep, and that might be at 9 pm if they took a late afternoon nap. Etc…
So, how do I eat well? I take advantage of what’s convenient, a lot of the time. I have Franklin, who is a preschooler, and Nicholas, who is still a baby. My husband is in law school for what seems like 100 hours a week. Right now, my mom is here, but for most of Nicholas’ first year, I was on my own (and the help I’d get then really wasn’t helpful at all). Also, I take advantage of nap time.
Here are my best tips for eating well.
1) Clean when the baby is awake. Don’t do that while he sleeps. He needs to see his mom cleaning, because that’s how he’ll learn (that’s what I think anyway). When he’s sleeping, that’s when you can make food. Soon enough, he’ll be a toddler who will want to help anyway. During the morning nap, I eat my second breakfast, and I prepare dinner. Dinner either goes in the fridge (if it needs to be baked), or in the slow cooker. That way, in the evening, I always have a nutritious meal that can be ready quickly.
2) In the morning, I always make a big green smoothie, and save some for the baby. My husband and Franklin both get some as well. Sometimes, after taking the baby’s portion out, I will add protein powder, either grass fed whey protein, or Warrior Blend. I like to alternate them. I throw some bananas in the blender along with fruits (generally frozen and thawed overnight in the fridge) and a big handful of washed greens. I always buy my greens prewashed to save time.
3) I always have a second breakfast, or snack. If I’m on the go, which isn’t often right now so Nicholas can nap, I eat a bar. If I’m home, I’ll toast a little sourdough bread, spread some grassfed butter on top, and cook 2 eggs. We have backyard hens, so I eat eggs often. They’re great for protein and healthy fats, and are a wonderful food for pregnant women. And, I know my hens are happy.
4) Lunch is always something easy too. Honestly, I don’t like to cook for myself. I’m OK cooking dinner since my husband will be home, but lunch, not so much. My menus vary, but there are some great convenient foods you can use liberally: raw sauerkraut (I like FarmHouse Kraut), raw cheese, gluten free seed crackers (I like Mary’s Gone Crackers), milk kefir (homemade or store bought), protein rich gluten free pastas (like like these red lentil rotini), prewashed salad greens, veggies (cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.). As you can see, you can make pretty good salads for lunch in very little time. Be sure to check my magical salad dressing for a boost of nutrition! If I haven’t had eggs in the morning, I’ll have them for lunch. If you eat meat, it’s even easier, because you can add chicken, beef, fish, etc.
5) If you find a good restaurant that does take out, do get take-out once or twice a week. When my husband comes home at 5 pm (which isn’t often, it’s usually later), I will send him to get us food. There’s a nice place nearby (Laughing Planet!) that makes bowls and salads and burritos, so I usually get a gluten free bowl with greens, veggies, quinoa, etc. I don’t eat much soy but I’ll sometimes get tempeh for added protein. Soon enough both of my boys will be in preschool, and I’ll have all the time in the world to cook, so it’s OK to get a little take-out right now.
6) Treat yourself! You talk about crappy food… It doesn’t have to be like that. You mention ice cream. Ice cream can be great when you’re breastfeeding. I know, some of the people reading this had their jaw hit the floor. But, it’s true. Coconut ice cream has wonderful fatty acids that are great for breastmilk. Dairy based ice cream has lots of fat soluble nutrients. Both are rich in calories, which you need when you’re nursing. Just be sure to get quality stuff. I like Straus ice cream because it’s pastured and contains no gums and thickeners. It’s just ice cream. And since it’s both satisfying and expensive, you won’t gorge on it 🙂
I hope this helps!