Moms can be notorious for packing delicious, healthy lunches for their children and spouse, but then forgetting about themselves. Either they just grab whatever they find before leaving the house, graze throughout the day, or somehow find themselves ordering unhealthy food yet again. And some moms just simply forget to eat lunch sometimes (guilty!). Not good.
What we need to do is plan better.
If you are nodding your head and know this cycle all too well, be encouraged that you are not alone. But we cannot skip lunch, especially if you are still breastfeeding (whoops) because you really need your nutrients! Studies have shown that low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can slow the speed we process information, shorten our attention spans, and slow our metabolism. And if you’re like me, it also makes you hangry.
There are some mouth-watering ideas out there for lunch recipes, but I’d rather give a more realistic approach with some health tips for moms because I know we don’t have a lot of time to prepare award-winning dishes. So here are three healthy lunch ideas with a few busy mom tips mixed in to make sure we fill our bellies.
Make Meals In A Jar
There are a ton of recipes out there for mason jar salads and other mason jar meals. They are quick to prepare and convenient to store. If this is interesting to you, I recommend finding recipes you like and preparing several at a time. Advanced food prep is a great way to save time while making sure you are getting your healthy lunch. Do this after your children have gone to bed, play a little music, and have some fun prepping! You can use a food chopper or dicer to minimize possible chopping, although if yours is loud like mine is, you may want to find a different time to do this if the kids are sleeping.
Do the “Meal Planning” Thing
This is similar to the idea above, except without a mason jar. Right now the trend is to cook a bunch of meat at the beginning of the week and then separate it into containers to use each day. People add veggies to the side and usually some other healthy snacks. Meal planning is really helpful to a lot of people because it saves time by doing it all at once. It also helps from eating unhealthy because their food is already prepped.
Just make sure you use a variety of foods, so your body gets all of the different nutrients it needs. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of food prepped for the week, and many of them contain the same exact thing every day. I don’t think this is a realistic meal plan in the long run and I know many who would get bored of it. Our body needs a variety of nutrients instead of just the same ones you get from eating the same exact food each day.
There are so many healthy options out there, and it can be fun to mix it up. Here are some essential foods you need to include while prepping for the week:
- Why? Protein is necessary for our diet to help our body repair cells and make new ones. Proteins are known as the building blocks of life and not getting enough protein will make you weaker. As a mom who is still lugging around the heavy car seat, I know I personally cannot afford any muscle weakness.
- What are some examples? Meat and eggs are the easiest ways to get protein because they contain so much. However, you can choose other foods that have protein to eat if you do not eat meat. Nuts, chia seeds, quinoa, cottage cheese, lentils, Greek yogurt, tofu, some vegetables, beans, and chickpeas are all excellent sources of protein. If you do not eat meat, you will need to make sure you get enough protein from the other sources.
- Why? Double your veggies at lunch! Vegetables are both low in carbs and calories, which is music to your ears if you have been trying to lose some weight. And we obviously know they are high in nutrients. They can be relatively cheap, and they are also easy to cook. You can buy them frozen, canned, or fresh so really the options are endless.
- What are some examples? Cut up some cucumbers, grab some fresh green beans and dip them into hummus, or dip raw carrots and broccoli into olive oil. If you prefer cooked veggies, cook (while cooking dinner) a wide variety of vegetables in the same pan with some olive oil, using a dicer to save time on cutting vegetables. Or throw some in a steamer. Mix and match throughout the week to keep your tummy and mind satisfied.
- Why? We actually need fat in our diets, but not the kind that is found in most snacks/junk foods. Our bodies use fats to store energy, to maintain healthy skin and tissues, for the brain, and to transport some vitamins.
- What are some examples? Olive oil, nuts, avocado, olives, flaxseed, and other seeds.
Eat Your Leftovers
Not everyone is a fan of eating leftovers, but it certainly will save you time! If you don’t usually have leftovers from dinner the night before, just make more for dinner in anticipation of using it in your lunch. You can even set it aside to be sure no one else takes it.
Two Last Tips
I have two very important healthy eating tips to end this post with.
One, drink your water! There are so many reasons why our bodies need water and few reasons to drink other drinks. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go and drink as you go about your day. Drinking enough water throughout the day will help you to feel fuller, which means you will eat less.
The second healthy eating tip I have for you is to eat dessert! This is good news if you have a sweet tooth as I do! But my tip is to eat a dessert that is good for your body. I enjoy two options: either some dark chocolate made from at least 70% cacao or healthy chocolate pudding (made from 1 ripe avocado, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup raw honey, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract all mixed and then chilled).
Both are delicious and definitely satisfy my sweet tooth. Even if you don’t include my recipes, try some of your own. It gives you something to look forward to if you are a working mom or just need a little relief.
I hope you have been inspired and have found a way to eat lunch. Much of it involves planning, which is time-consuming but definitely worth it. We cannot skip lunch, and we will have the time if we adequately plan and prepare. Happy eating!