I find it a little amusing that March is considered National Nutrition Month, when every day –in fact every meal—is an opportunity to eat well.
For many women, eating well takes on particular importance during pregnancy. When our babies are born, we often feel more motivated to feed them better than we feed ourselves. In our hurry-scurry, over scheduled lives, it can be difficult planning to get healthy meals on the table, let alone to resist the siren song of the drive-thru! From doctor to mom, think of food as nourishment—fuel for your body and your baby’s body. Here’s one easy way: aim to eat five servings of fruits or vegetables at every meal. They’ll help fill you up and improve your health by reducing the risk for many diseases.
From busy mom to busy mom, one of the best ways I’ve found to multitask in feeding my family nutritiously and saving time in the kitchen is to designate one day a week to planning, cooking, and baking – and recruiting help. This is also a fun way to bond and teach my boys how to make a decent meal or two in the process.
Planning for Sunday afternoons work best for us; on “Cooking Sunday”, we prepare a half-dozen meals or more at once and store them all in the fridge or freezer so that when it’s crunch time we’re not tempted to stop by a fast-food restaurant on our way home from work or school. There’s already food waiting for us at home!
On meal-making day, I double my recipes or plan them for maximum efficiency. If I’m planning on browning lean ground beef for a chili meal, it makes good sense to go ahead and prepare enough for a spaghetti dinner and some lasagna while I’m at it. When I plan seven or eight meals at once, my kitchen stays cleaner throughout the week, and I end up spending far less time busily washing dishes and soaking pots and pans. I invest the time that I save by not cooking each evening in fitness activities, such as taking a bike ride or running on my treadmill for a half-hour.
Balanced meals, daily activity, and quality time with the family help a busy mom like me live every meal and every day nutritiously—and, now, hopefully yours too!
About the author: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, is a mom of three sons, family practice physician, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, in Lexington, KY. Dr. McAllister is a paid consultant to CBR.