Raising Kids

Raising Kids

Sanity amidst the chaos

Years ago, younger and with all the time in the world, clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle became a priority. As I grew my family and time became more scarce, healthy eating became more and more of a challenge. Now, in the thick of raising three kids, I can say that although it’s hard to put healthy food on the table every night, it’s possible!

I don’t usually share many details about my personal life, however many of my clients who are in similar life stage have seen glimpses of my experience raising kids. Occasionally, I will relate to a 7-year-old temper tantrum, how difficult it is to get kids to take supplements, or what my teenagers enjoy snacking on. Well, this is me. A mom of 3 busy kids. Doing my best to help them thrive in all areas of their lives. Plus, I have a marriage to balance. Not to mention take care of myself in the process. People often ask, “How are you doing?” “Good. Busy, but good” is my stock response. I’ve tried the more Zen response, “I’m doing great! How about you?”. But that doesn’t seem genuine. For the foreseeable future, my reality is a family of five that is active and busy.

Here’s an example of a typical Tuesday:

  • 5:30 am- Wake up and go to yoga.
  • 6:45 am- Get ready for the day.
  • 7:00 am – Wake kids, make them breakfast, out the door by 7:40.
  • 8:30 am – Start my work day
  • 3:00 pm – Walk the dog (if I have a break).
  • 4:00 pm – Bus drops Marlowe and Quinn at home, Ellis stays at school for hockey practice.
  • 4:30- 6:15 pm– Marlowe has dance.
  • 5:00- 6:00 pm – Quinn has hockey practice.
  • 5:30 pm – Ellis gets a ride home from hockey practice.  
  • 6:00 pm – Tom and Marlowe arrive home from dance, and make dinner.
  • 6:00 pm – Quinn and I go to the chiropractor.
  • 6:30 pm– Everyone is home, we eat dinner together.
  • 7:00- 7:30 pm- Marlowe and a parent read and get ready for bed while Ellis and Quinn do homework.
  • 7:45 pm – Ellis gets a ride to soccer practice (we rideshare with another family).
  • 9:30 pm – Tom picks up Ellis and his teammate from soccer.
  • 9:45 pm – All are exhausted and go to bed.
  • Next day – Do it all again!

I know I am far from alone living a schedule this busy. All caregivers can likely relate to the feeling of being pulled in a million different directions all the time. Not only is there work, school, homework, sports, etc, there is the simple (not so simple) chore of feeding a crew of five day-in, day-out.

Clearly, this schedule does not leave a lot of time for shopping, prepping, or even cooking on a Tuesday night. So what? How do my people get fed?  More importantly, how do they get fed healthy meals that keep them thriving? It would be easy to default to fast or packaged food.  Like I said, I committed to a healthy lifestyle years ago, and despite how much simpler it could make my life, I just can’t do it. Throughout the years (with a lot of trial and error), I have learned that to implement and model a healthy lifestyle for my children, I must plan ahead and create a healthy living environment amidst this chaotic schedule.

For our family, meal planning is key. Without this step, the chaos can feel unmanageable. Every Sunday, we look ahead at the week and physically write out a schedule of activities, along with a meal plan. Then create a shopping list, and order groceries to be delivered to our house. While ordering groceries may seem like a luxury, for us, it’s essential. We have found that not only does it save time, it also saves money. Online, we tend to only buy what we need for our meals and skip the unnecessary snack foods that look so enticing when shopping. Along with thinking ahead, we often prep or cook a few meals on Sunday evenings for easy execution on busy nights. More recently, we have been leaning on meals from Sun Basket. Typically, we order two meals a week from Sun Basket (then cook the rest ourselves). I have to say, just knowing we have two ready to go meals takes a significant amount of pressure off the week, and is a great balance for our busy lives.

Food hacks to help make life easier:

  1. Meal Plan, meal plan, meal plan!
  2. Order groceries for pickup or delivery.
  3. Meal Delivery Service (Sun Basket, Purple Carrot, Green Chef, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron)
  4. Make a bowl (I’m obsessed)
    1. Pick a meat (make it ahead in the crock), add a variety of veggies, choose a grain, add a sauce. Its as simple as that.
    1. Examples:
      1. Taco bowl
      1. Korean Beef Bowl
      1. Pork Carnitas with Black Bean Bowl
      1. Mediterranean Salmon and Quinoa bowl
      1. Cajun style beans and rice
      1. Beef fajita bowl
      1. Caesar chicken salad bowl
  5. Make soup ahead of time (soups usually taste better after a day or two in the fridge)
  6. Crock pot or Instant Pot Meals
  7. Rotisserie chicken with premade roasted veggies and salad

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *