Nutrition • 3 min read

Healthy Habits for the Busy Mom

Dalina_S
Guide
Guide

As a mom, I get how tough it is to keep on top of it all. It feels like we are being pulled in a million directions and our needs always fall to the wayside. And we also live in a world where it feels like everywhere you look, there is a new fad diet or new cleanse to try. Which is why I think it's important to know the basics. Nutrition and eating do not have to be complicated, but social media sure does make it look that way. To help understand sustainable nutrition, I want to break down the macronutrients that play a huge role in our health. I also want to discuss the MyPlate method in an effort to help you visualize that eating a well balanced diet isn't hard.  

 

Carbohydrates 

 

Carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. And the recommendation is, make HALF your grains whole grains, but I think for many, this is very confusing. We often only think of whole wheat as a whole grain and forget that there are over 20 whole grains to choose from. If you are eating variety throughout the day, and getting fiber from your fruits and vegetables, not all your grains have to be whole. So if you want to eat a bowl of white rice (my favorite!) you can. It might not be a whole grain (and it only has 1 gram less fiber than brown rice), but you can add fiber and nutrients in many other ways. Adding beans, a protein, and veggies not only makes it a complete meal; but also adds that 1 gram of fiber and some. Some other examples of whole grains are: oats, barley, rye, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and corn (yes corn)! When feeding yourself or your kids, if something isn't a whole grain, don’t stress it, ask yourself: how can I add fiber and nutrients?  

 

Proteins 

 

If you have watched any of my videos, you know I meal prep and center my meals around protein. It’s always the star of my dish and I add sides to complement it. Your protein can come from animal products such as eggs, dairy and meat, or plant based protein such as beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts. It’s important to get enough protein throughout the day and if you are vegetarian or vegan, variety in your plant based protein is key to make sure you can get all the amino acids you need to complete your protein needs. When having animal products in your diet, you have the complete proteins and that isn’t much of a worry. When thinking about protein, choose what works best for you and your family.  

 

Fats 

 

Fats allow us to feel satiety and play a major role in hormonal health.You also need them to digest fat soluble vitamins A D E & K. It is important to get enough and focusing on omega 3’s is always a good idea. Omega 3 fats are going to be found in plant based oils, nuts and fish. Fat also adds flavor. We do not need to fear fats, we need to be educated on them. Cooking with them is a great way to incorporate it into your day. And you can always buy leaner cuts of proteins and marinate with your favorite oil.  

 

Fiber 

 

Fiber is our friend! We want it to help us excrete the toxins or waste in our body. As you all may know, fiber is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When eating a snack or meal, you can always ask yourself, how can I add fiber to this dish? It doesn’t have to be a powder, it doesn’t have to be on top. It can simply be something that will enhance the flavor of your dish.  

 

And to round it all up, we want to think of how we will set up our plates. Making half your plate a fruit or veggie or both is a great way to make sure that you are getting enough. But to me as a dietitian it's more important to make a dish that you will want to eat and tastes good. Even if all the food is piled on top of each other rice bowl style, you are still getting all the nutrients. So when creating a plate ask yourself, does this have a carb? Does this have a protein? Does it have fat? And finally, does it have fiber? If it checks all four boxes, you have a complete meal. And if it doesn’t? It's OK. The next time you eat is a new meal where you can add nutrition again. Remember health does not live in the extremes. It lives in sustainable habits.