Time Management Tips for Healthy Eating
When I tell most people I have four kids, they typically ask, “How do you do it?”. When I add that I run my own business, have published three books, host a top-rated podcast and regularly deliver talks to global audiences, they usually place me in a mental category of someone who must have some sort of magic recipe for making it all work.
The truth is, I do, of course have systems and organizational tools I use to help me. I’ve had a fair share of life experience in my 38 years, nine of those being a mom. I even wrote the book and developed the program for moms to manage their time more effectively called Time MOMagement. But, most of what I do is pretty basic. You, me, he, she, they-any of us can do what I do. So, today, I want to walk you through some of the ways I make it all work, specifically when it comes to feeding my family.
Raise your hand if you’re the primary meal provider in your home. I can’t see you, but I assume you might be telling the truth or humoring me by raising your hand right now. A lot of moms are responsible for this part of the home management job. And even if they’re not the primary meal provider, they most likely participate in the process in some way, shape or form, whether that’s meal planning, grocery shopping, preparing meals and snacks, introducing new recipes and foods, you name it.
When it comes to making this all work while juggling all the things we do as moms, here are some of my best tips that work for me (and hopefully will work for you too). These practices have allowed me to save countless hours, avoid tantrums and meltdowns, instill healthy habits, and feel like I have it together more often than not.
- Plan ahead: Meal planning may feel like something you’re just not that into, but this practice has literally changed my life for the better. Did you know the average person makes approximately 35,000 decisions a day? Now add being a mom on top of that and having to make decisions for one or more humans in your life. When you plan meals ahead of time, you’re lightening the decision making load by removing the ‘what to make for dinner’ contemplation process. Additionally, planning ahead allows you to choose meals that make sense for different nights of the week. For example, if your kids have soccer on Tuesdays and you know you’ll only have 15 minutes to get dinner on the table that night, you can plan accordingly so you’re not serving dinner too late or dealing with very hungry children who are protesting waiting by eating lots and lots of snacks. You can do this a number of ways, but I like to keep it simple and add it to a family calendar where everyone can see it in our kitchen, and so no one is asking me on repeat, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”
- Prepare in advance: In addition to planning ahead, preparing in advance will be a huge time saver for you. Ever hear of batching content or batching tasks-where you complete a big chunk of the same thing during a specific time? You can do this for preparing food in advance too. Prepare chicken or meat right after you buy it by cutting it up and putting it in Ziplock bags with marinade, then freezing, so all you have to do is defrost and grill. Prepare triple of something that takes you ample time to make, then freeze portions for later use. Prepare bulk snacks in Ziplock bags for the week on a Sunday, so packing lunches and snacks for school is quick and easy. An simple way to implement this is to create a weekly habit, either right after you go food shopping or on a Sunday evening when everyone is winding down. If the task feels daunting to you, set a timer or put on an awesome playlist of your favorite songs (90s pop for me) and GO!
- Set ground rules: But what if your kids are picky eaters? Ha, like I don’t know what that’s like. Come on, the probability with four kids is high. Since my oldest kids (twins) were eating solid foods, we created ground rules when it came to meals and snacks. Breakfast and snack were always accompanied by a fruit. Lunch and dinner included a vegetable. This was a rule. If the vegetable being served during dinner was something they didn’t like, they could choose another, but a vegetable had to be eaten. When we’re on the go, if I haven’t had a chance to cut up an apple or we’re out of bananas, I’ll swap fresh fruit with dried options like dried mangoes or apple chips. These are also less messy in the car or out and about.
- Create habits: Habits are one of the best things you can do for yourself and your kids when it comes to managing your time and prioritizing your family’s health. Some ways we’ve done this are by practicing our ground rules of including fruits and vegetables into our meals and snacks religiously. We also ensure we have a set time for dinner and a routine when it comes to meals. For example, we all sit down and eat dinner together at our kitchen table. We don’t watch TV during dinner. And we all stay at the table (as much as the littlest can) during that time.
- Make it fun: Be sure to always leave room for spontaneity, treats, and fun when it comes to feeding your crew. Although I’d never call myself a Pinterest Mom, I have my moments where I’ll create a fish tank out of a waffle breakfast plate or whip up some green oatmeal with gold banana coins for St. Patrick’s Day (it’s a fan favorite every March). I also love to hype up new things I find that make my life easier, like Vitaminis. These cute, little individual juice bottles are all the rage here. We coined them “special treats” that each kid could have once a day and let them choose their preferred flavor. I couldn’t be happier because these “treats” are not full of sugar or preservatives, but are actually jam packed with fruits and veggies. Win-win!
If you want to learn more about managing your time and tasks as a busy mom, be sure to check out more resources and tips over at Mama Work It. The juggle is real, but I’m here for it!
BIO: Marisa Lonic is a keynote speaker, life & business coach, 3x author, top-rated podcast host and the founder of Mama Work It. After spending nearly 15 years in corporate leadership positions, Marisa shifted gears to become a full-time Time Momager & Biz Momager. Through her books, courses, and coaching programs, she helps busy moms juggling mom life, work life, wife life, fill in the blank life. Her time management and goal achievement strategies have helped the most overwhelmed mamas turn their dreams into reality, even when they thought they had no time to make any of it happen.
When she’s not supporting working parents with the daily juggle, you can find her cooking and baking delicious meals her kids may or may not eat, running (ok fine - walking/running) in her neighborhood, and hanging out with the five amazing guys she calls family (her husband and four kiddos).
You can connect with her here: