Thursday, January 21, 2010

Preparing Nourishing Food During Seasons of Busyness

These last 2 months have been quite an eye-opening experience for our family! Having two babies so close in age (Henry is 12 months, Ryan 2 months) has definitely been a lesson in time management....more like a crash-course!

These past two months have been a struggle for me in the meal department. I confess that we have eaten more than our fair share of pizza and more take-out than I care to admit! So what's a mom to do when she desperately wants to serve nourishing, whole food to her family, but she is absolutely STRAPPED for time? Here's what I've learned on my personal journey:

1. Let Go of the Guilt! In my perfect world, a warm, nourishing whole-foods meal would grace my table every night, but the reality is that often times I just don't have the time. I have learned to make peace with this by realizing that sometimes my family just needs my attention more than a perfectly healthy meal! I try to make the best of it by making the best of the situation--for example, if we must eat take-out, it certainly won't come from a fast food hamburger chain, but maybe the local Amish restraunt that serves home cooked meals to go. Or I may make an extremely simple meal of scrambled eggs and toast--nothing fancy, but nourishing and I know where the ingreedients came from.

2. I keep a list of quick nourishing meals on hand, as well as having the ingreedients for these quick meals stocked at all times. I start every day with good intentions to follow my meal plan, but as any mother to small children knows, plans can quickly go out the window before the day even begins! Some of my quick and easy go-to meals are breakfast for dinner, potatoes fried in coconut oil with garlic and onion and sliced nitrate-free beef sausage, shrimp or chicken fried rice made with leftover shrimp or chicken from the freezer, peanut butter and jam on sourdough bread or quesadillas with whatever veggies I have on hand, plus refried beans from the freezer and maybe even some meat from the freezer, if I have any.

3. One lifesaver for me in this busy season of my life has been "planned overs"! If I am making easily-doubled recipes such as a meatloaf, soup or casserole, I just double or triple it to make enough for the next night, saving me a night of cooking! Our family is ok with this, as we don't mind eating the same thing two nights in a row, but if your family prefers more variety, you may try saving the extra portion of your "planned overs" meal in the freezer and serving it the next week or for when you have a particularly exhausting day. I call these emergency meals! Just add some fresh bread and a veggie, and your good to go!

These are just a few of the ways I have saved my sanity in this hectic season of my life. Although I know we are not eating 100% perfectly right now, this season will pass and we can get back on track eventually. My babies will only be babies for a short while, so I prefer enjoy them rather than slave away in the kitchen all day! With a little careful planning, it is possible to serve nourishing meals to our families even when busy.


  1. This looks like a very interesting post, but I'm having trouble reading it because of the light ink color (and possibly because of my over-40 eyesight!) Just wondering if you could change color of the text ?? Thanks for considering this request!

  2. I was thinking the exact same thing...definitely will change it!

  3. Oh! That was fast! Thanks so much! :)

  4. Enjoyed reading your post! Most of my babies were around two years apart, but I had babies #6, 7 & 8 exactly 18 months apart, and it was tough, especially with homeschooling! But, now I miss those days when all my chicks were safely under my wings . . .

    Thanks for your excellent post. Life does have a way of rudely pushing aside the best of plans!


  5. My youngest two are 19 months apart, and it can definitely get crazy around here too! I think the hardest thing is letting go of the guilt when you can't do it all. Great suggestions! And, hang in there! our oldest two are 19 months apart also (we have 4 kids total) and when the baby is about 6 months, its a lot easier.