Working full time and preparing healthy dinner meals every night can be challenging at least and frustrating at best. Picking up a pizza or drive-thru dinner saves time and reduces stress. But I encourage you NOT to give up. You can have your "carrots" and eat it too!
When I moved from Virginia to Colorado, I moved to the land of health and fitness. At first, I fought it. I came from the land of southern cooking - everything had butter, mayo and cheese. A few years in Colorado and I was converted. We now eat ground turkey, instead of ground beef, plenty of fruits and vegetables, as little processed foods as possible (I have 3 kids - I can't totally avoid McDonalds!) and whole grains. And, before I went back to work, I had TIME to create interesting, fun, healthy meals each night.
We ate healthy and we LIVED healthy - always outside and active.
Then we moved to Illinois where we were back to mayo, cheese and butter. Even the school food options aren't nearly as healthy as in Colorado. Now, even as a career and leadership coach and compensation specialist, I promote healthy eating amid a culture where sweets and treats abound.
But I am not giving up. My kids are more balanced psychologically and happier when they eat well. I won't be able to control this forever so I need to instil these healthy habits now. Yes, I understand that some nights, a pizza is the only option that makes sense. I don't want my own waist line - or my kids - to expand. And I want us all to have a healthy lifestyle.
If you spent time at home raising kids, you may have gotten used to the freedom to plan meals "at will" rather than in advance. But if you are working, that freedom goes out the window. And while we have become a "pinterest" nation where it feels like some things need to be "over the top", super cute and child-friendly, sometimes simple is best.
Yes, Keep It Simple Silly...
Here are a few suggestions to stay on track:
1. Ddedicate 20 minutes on Sundays to outlining a meal schedule for the week, You will bemore likely to stick to it and preparation is easy because the food is on hand - fewer ad hoc trips to the supermarket
2. When cleaning dinner at night, before you "close the kitchen", ake out the main meat/fish item from the freezer and stick it in the fridge.
3. Set a hard limit on how many school lunches kids can buy - and determine whether some menu items are strictly off limits (like corn dogs)
4. Only buy what you want them to eat - if it isn't in the kitchen/pantry, they can't eat it.
5. Any snacks bring places should be healthy snacks
6. Limit the sweets - once a week perhaps? (birthday parties excluded)
Working moms have to work even harder to promote healthy eating. So make it a family affair. Making healthy eating a daily, family-focused activity can feel like an uphill battle, but your family's health will thank you.