What is one of the HARDEST parts of motherhood? Feeding other humans! From day one, until those tiny humans venture out into the real world as grown people, you’re looking at three to twelve (where my mamas with newborns or grazers?) times a day, you’re on, mama. And that’s HARD!
What’s even harder? We want to do it right! Oh for the LOVE, we want to do it right— organic or conventional? To carb or not to carb? Fats are good or the devil? Dairy…in or out? And don’t even get me started on peanuts.
I’m like Avril Lavigne over here all, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”
But here’s the good news! I’m here to help! It’s my passion, really. Because when it comes to living a healthy life, I believe knowledge is power, but convenience is key. We’ve gotta make this process easier for the busy mamas of the world (can I get an amen?!).
So, here are a few of my best tips for simplifying meals and ultimately your #momlife:
Stop the weekly meal-planning madness!
Pinterest—love it or hate it—has created a never-ending pool of recipes that tempt like the Sirens call. You throw in those 30-second recipe videos from “Tasty” on Facebook, and you’ve got a real temptation alley on your hands!
This leads us all to Sunday afternoon “meal prep” where suddenly we’re going into the week all “Top Chef” in the kitchen.
It goes a little something like this:
So Monday night let’s go warm salmon and lentil salad. Maybe some roasted Brussels sprouts with candied pecans. YESSSSS! Jackie’s kids LOVE salmon and so many great omegas…awesome for brain growth. #WINNING!
Okay, says here that I’m gonna need Herbs de Provence. Hmmm, don’t have that in the spice cabinet, but all good things, all good things. And you actually candy the pecans, cool, cool, cool, I’ve got time after volunteering in Jack’s classroom. Okay, “Alexa, how do I cook perfect salmon?” Hmmm, pan-cooked or grilled? Let’s go grilled—ugh I miss summer—the hubs’ll dust the cobwebs off the grill when he gets home, easy peasy! Now what’s for Tuesday…lamb?
And this madness continues, until you have a five-star-restaurant grocery list, and an extra 45 minutes spent at the store trying to locate the mystery ingredients you need for the week. You feel me? This has happened to you too, right?
Fast forward to Monday night…
You had only five minutes after volunteering, you burned the candied pecans, and CRAP forgot the Herbs de Provence. The hubs FINALLY rolled in the door at 6:30pm and informed you, “We’re out of propane.” You’re mad, he’s all, “Woah, bro!” and the kids ate an entire bag of goldfish because they were “starving.” So…which drive thru is closest?
Mamas, PLEASE for the love of all things holy STOP doing this to yourselves! Why is it that we’re constantly trying to reinvent the meal wheel? Not this mama! I’m just over here all, “Hey sister, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” No need to rotate and balance those wheels until that tread is good and worn.
Here’s what I do instead:
We have 5 staple meals in our household. They’re tried and true fan favorites and they’re on the menu weekly. Yep! You read that right: WEEKLY. They’re easy for me to fix, they include minimal steps, and they’re jam-packed full of nutrients.
If I want to go all “Top Chef” I save it for a special occasion—you know, like when my kids are grown and they come back home for a visit. But otherwise, I stick to the favorites, and then add in ONE new meal at a time. I don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I just add in a little variety from time to time to keep things spicy (but not ACTUALLY spicy, because that leads to the drive thru).
So, here are our fam favs:
- Tacos (DUH!) with cooked bell peppers & black beans
- Rotisserie chicken (and we’re not talking homemade, we’re talking store bought!)
- Chili (but not the spicy kind—see reasons we end up in the drive thru above!)
- Meatloaf (you can even sneak extra veggies in that bad boy!)
- Pasta night (leftover rotisserie chicken + pesto + veggies and a meal is made)
And because I have my meals on repeat, my grocery list has become pretty regular, which leads me to my next tip:
Use ClickList (or Instacart)
How I wish this service had been available when I was wrangling a barely two year old and wearing a newborn through the aisles of King Soopers. For about $5 a week, I can order all of my groceries online. It remembers my previous orders, so I just “add to cart.” Then I roll up during my allotted time window, use the automatic open to pop the hatch, and someone else loads all the goods into my vehicle. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for the human being who thought, “Hey, let’s make this easier for busy people.”
If you don’t live within the “Kroger” family (Fred Meyer, City Market, Fry’s, Ralphs, or any of these), take heart, there is still hope! There is an amazing app called Instacart that allows you to order online and have the goods delivered to your door for a flat fee. BOO YAH!
It’s not quite as intuitive as ClickList, but here’s a bonus: if you live in Windsor or Fort Collins, you can have Costco delivered to your door. And THAT is a TOTAL game changer, friends! I keep holding out hope for us Greeley folk!
It doesn’t have to be from scratch
Read that again, then wash, rinse, repeat as many times as you need to. Eating well does not mean “homemade” or even “from scratch.” My personal guideline is minimal ingredients that I can pronounce. If it’s made in a laboratory, it’s a hard pass. But remember the store-bought rotisserie chicken? Yep! Weekly rotation, people. Things like pre-made rice and quinoa packs (like this one)? Yes! 1,000 times, yes!
I don’t know when we decided as a society that eating healthy equated to making yourself a slave to your kitchen, but I say down with the man! Feeding tiny humans does not have to ruin your life! Keep it simple, sister!
And if you need more tips for easy meal prep, make sure you’re following along on Instagram! I share a ton of my time-saving tips in my daily stories.