Being a new mum (or an experienced mum) is a very busy job that takes up the majority of your day so if you want to stick to a healthy eating and exercise regime, then you have to be organised and put in some preparation on a regular basis. When it comes to clean eating, the prep is everything because when you make everything convenient for yourself, there’s no excuse not to stick to it! So I thought I’d put together some of my best tips for staying organised and on-track when the world is working against you!
Where possible, do your food shop online
I do my weekly food shop online, not just because I live in the middle of nowhere and not just because it’s easier than dragging Conor around the supermarket. When you sit down and go through what you’re buying, you really have time to think about what you actually need. It cuts down on unnecessary purchases, impulsive 2 for 1 buys or anything that will sabotage your healthy eating. You can make a shopping list and stick to it.
Sundays are baking day
Sundays are the perfect day to rustle up some clean eating bakes – my personal favourites are my homemade protein bars, chocolate banana oat muffins and chocolate and almond crispy treats. By making them on a Sunday, you’re still getting that baking fix that we all love and you’re set up with healthy treats for the week. When you have a cuppa and crave something sweet, there’ll always be something healthy there to snack on. This is one of the key aspects of staying on track – making it easy for yourself to make healthy choices.
Make your breakfast in advance
As a tired, busy mum, you grab what you can for breakfast so convenience is key. It’s all too easy to plump for sugary cereals, flavoured coffee drinks or a muffin. However, if you spend 5 minutes doing the prep the night before, you’ll always have something really nutritious and filling ready to go in the morning. There are a few options for pre-made breakfasts but my favourites are mixing up some coconut flour pancakes (the batter can be made the night before and stored in the fridge overnight), some overnight oatmeal (so easy to whip up and really filling) or a banana and pecan muffin. Breakfast is so important for a healthy, balanced diet and it kick starts your metabolism so it’s really important to make sure you do it right.
Never leave home without a water bottle, a piece of fruit and a healthy snack
This simple tip has really helped me big time! When I was rushing around before, it became too easy to stop at Starbucks and pick something up for a quick boost. I always regretted it later because I knew I wasn’t making the right choices. You justify it by saying “oh it’s just one little snack and drink” but the reality is that it all adds up. Now every time I leave the house, I fill up my Citrus Zinger with half a lemon and water so I can stay hydrated while I’m out. Sometimes thirst can be easily mistaken for hunger. I also grab a banana or an apple and one of my clean eating baking bits. That way, I know exactly what I’m eating and once again, I’m making it easy to stay on track.
Take healthy snacks with you if you go to the cinema or a friends house
Now this is one that I found difficult to start with, mainly because I felt like a loser doing it. It felt strange to take my own snacks to the cinema but once I did it, I realised that it was such a genius move because it stopped any temptation when I became hungry. You’re not going to find any healthy choices at the cinema – even the frozen yoghurt is laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners. That’s fine if you’re having a cheat day, but if you’re not then it’s a recipe for sabotaging yourself. Also, when I’ve gone round to friend’s houses, I now take something with me, which I was embarrassed about to begin with. But at the end of the day, my friends are aware of what I’m trying to achieve and they support me 100%.
Take an hour in the kitchen 2-3 times a week to prep
Preparation and planning is key to maintaining healthy diet – we all have busy lives and none of us want to finish our working day and then have to prep and cook a whole healthy meal. However, if you are trying to lose weight or just improve your health, then having a clean diet the majority of the time is important. One of the main questions I am asked by readers regarding this is ‘how do you find the time to get organised?’. The simple answer is I make time. Twice a week, usually on a Sunday and a Wednesday, I spend a couple of hours preparing and cooking some things for the week ahead that will help me make quick, easy and healthy meals and provide me with lots of healthy snacks. It seems like a bit of a pain spending that time in the kitchen but if you put that time in, during the week you’ll be able make some of your meals in under 5 minutes. Surely that’s worth the effort?
These are some of the things I prep on a Sunday:
- Whole chicken, roasted – I take all the meat from the chicken, shred it and store it in a container in the fridge. It can then be used in salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, Mexican dishes, Asian dishes etc.
- Boiled eggs – I boil a few eggs to use in salads, as snacks or as part of breakfast
- Superfood Pesto - I make mine with Spinach, Kale and Basil to be used in pasta dishes, in wraps and sandwiches and with fish. You can find my recipe here.
- Soup - probably the most convenient lunch you can have. Here are some of my recipes - Broccoli, Cauliflower & Stilton Soup, Spicy Tomato & Lentil Soup, Curried Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Goats Cheese Soup, Roasted Cauliflower & Parsnip Soup, Leek & Mustard Soup.
- Carrot sticks - This is a really simple one but it just makes your life easier and you’d be surprised how any times you just can’t be bothered to chop carrots when you’re in a hurry! I like to have mine with homemade hummus.
- Homemade hummus - this is always a great thing to make for salads, sandwiches and as a dip.
- Roasted vegetables (carrots, peppers, red onions, courgette etc) – great for wraps, salads, pasta dishes and also as a side to any meat or fish dishes.
- Quinoa & brown rice – I prefer to eat quinoa mixed with brown rice for a little more texture and if you make it in advance, it’s really convenient to add to salads, wraps, stirfrys and as a side for a meal.
- Overnight Oatmeal - As I said above, this is a great breakfast option and you can make a few in advance and store them in the fridge for the following 3-4 days. There are so many options - Apple, cinnamon and vanilla/banana and peanut butter/Chocolate Chia.
- Smoothie Bags - I put chopped banana, pineapple, apple, peach, kiwi and berries in freezer bags and freeze for quick smoothies. This way you can make the most of the fruit you buy when it’s at it’s best and you have everything you need for a breakfast smoothie (bar the almond milk/coconut milk/greek yoghurt etc)
- Thai salad coleslaw – I like to have this handy in the fridge to pop into sandwiches and wraps and you can also just chuck in some shredded chicken for a quick lunch! Here’s the recipe.
- Cooked sweet potatoes - these are great to have to hand for salads, to split open and fill with turkey mince chilli as a really filling meal, to make sweet potato hash or for use in baking.
Surround yourself with positive, motivational people
This is just a general point because when you’re striving to improve your health and wellbeing, who needs people who are trying to enable you? Encouraging you to veer off track? Make sure the people you surround yourself with know what your goals are and that you’re serious about them. If they care about you, they’ll support you and not belittle it or keep offering you junk food. I have no time for anyone who actively tries to sabotage other people like that.