I was chatting with a friend of mine (fellow new mom) about how hard it is to maintain a balanced diet when you’re taking care of your little one. Unless you’re VERY organized and plan your meals down to a tee, chances are you do not eat 3 perfectly healthy meals every single day plus snacks in between. And you’d think that I (a Registered Dietitian) would strive for nutrition perfection meal after meal ? No, not really. I’m human and it’s just not realistic for me. I’ve just recently started feeding my son solid foods and have been pureeing up a storm. I try to provide him with nutritious homemade foods every day so that he receives all of the vitamins and minerals that he needs (well, for the most part). And I’m sure that most of you moms out there do the same. So why does OUR nutrition tend to fall by the waste-side? Because we’re taking care of others, we have lives outside of meal planning, and quite frankly we don’t have time! I don’t strive for perfection, and neither should you. Healthy eating doesn’t mean perfect eating!
So if you can’t be perfect, what should you strive for?
Think in terms of 3’s. Start with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) each containing 3 components: a whole grain (whole grain bread, rice, barley, pasta, quinoa, oats, whole grain cereal etc)+ a source of protein (meat/poultry/fish, beans, lentils, nuts/seeds, dairy, soy, tofu etc.) + a vegetable and/or fruit (you know what these are). That, in essence, is a balanced meal! It could be as easy as whole grain toast, peanut butter and banana slices OR yogurt, frozen blueberries and low-fat granola OR carrots, hummus and whole grain crackers. Don’t resort to skipping lunch because you don’t have time to make something gourmet! Instead, grab a mini can of tuna, crackers and carrot sticks OR whip up a smoothie with frozen berries, milk and a couple of tbsp of oats- it’s not perfect, but it’s balanced, and if you are a busy person like me, this may be your breakfast, lunch or even dinner sometimes. It’s ok. Maybe dinner tonight is a couple of eggs, cheese, a whole grain tortilla wrap and salsa- it takes about 5 minutes and is balanced and healthy. Maybe breakfast is leftover vegetarian pizza. Why not? It’s balanced and it will give you energy to work, play and focus for the first part of your day. Try to be creative with your meals. It doesn’t have to “fit” together. It could be french toast and frozen peas! Who cares? It’s balanced and that’s all that matters.
I’ll talk about snacks in another post:)
Happy imperfect eating!!