Eating well is an important part of looking after yourself as a busy mum.
We need to be eating well to help support our immune systems, balance our hormones, help our digestion and give us plenty of energy for running around after our families.
Nutrition can be complicated, but it really doesn’t need to be. There is a lot of noise surrounding nutrition on the internet with people telling you ‘do this’, ‘don’t do that’, ‘follow this plan’ – and it’s very hard sometimes to work out what you should or should not be eating.
As mums, complicated just isn’t something we have time for, and eating well really doesn’t have to be complicated at all.
When it comes to our health and nutrition there is no one-size-fits-all diet, we are all live very different lives and we all have different tastes and preferences – so the best way for you to be eating is in a way that works best for you.
The best diet for you is one that fits in to your life, makes you feel nourished, full of energy and good about yourself – not one that leaves you feeling deprived, unsatisfied and miserable with no energy.
That being said, all humans do have basic nutrition needs that need to be met so that our bodies can function to the best of their ability.
When we are eating a wide range of foods, it allows our bodies to get all the macronutrients and micronutrients that it needs.
When we are eating a diet that has a good variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats including nuts and seeds, wholegrains and carbohydrates we can be pretty happy that we have a good starting point.
There is no need to be rigid about ensuring that we are only eating certain foods, it’s just a case of being mindful that we are making sure that we include these foods in our diets.
There’s no such thing as good or bad foods.
I strongly believe that having a good relationship with food in the first stepping stone in eating well.
And, the best way to achieve this is to understand that there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods.
Food is just food. Some foods have a higher nutrition profile than others – but they can all fit in a healthy and balanced diet.
Eating one pizza isn’t going to make you unhealthy, in the same way that eating one apple isn’t going to make you healthy.
It’s what you do consistently over time that is going to make a difference.
Remove the rules and restrictions.
What we need to eat and how much we need to eat is going to change on a daily basis.
It depends on so many different factors – how much exercise you have done, what you did the day before, how much sleep you had, how you are feeling – they are all going to make an impact on your daily needs.
When we are flexible with our eating, it makes our lives so much easier. It allows us to change and adapt our eating depending on what we need at that time.
When we have rules and restrictions on our eating and our habits it makes it very hard to tune in to our body to work out what it is that we need.
For example, if you are a vegetarian but decide you would like to start including some chicken into your diet – it can make you feel like you are failing. If you remove the rules you cannot fail.
Tune in to your body.
This one is so important, and it is one of the best things you can do.
Our body is clever, it’s job is to keep us alive. It wants to maintain balance and it will provide us with the cues we need to adjust our eating or our habits if it feels that we are unbalanced in any area.
Our job is to tune in and listen.
This can be tricky, we are born with this ability – when we are a baby we cry when we are hungry, when we are a child we eat until we are full and we leave the rest – but over time we lose this ability.
This may be because you were always told to clear your plate, or it may be because you’ve tried following different diets and plans over the years. There is a number of reasons for losing the ability.
In the same way that you can unlearn it, you can also re-learn it.
It just takes time and a bit of patience.
Tuning into our bodies it’s easier to work out if we are hungry or not – if we are we can tune in and work out what it is our body is hungry for, if we are not we can work out what it is our body is asking for – maybe that’s a 5 minute break or maybe you need something else.
Tuning in also allows us to work out if there are any foods that are not making us feel our best.
A Balanced plate.
When we aim to eat a balanced plate at most meals it helps us to feel our best.
Having protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre and something you love at every meal is going to keep your blood levels stable which will give you energy throughout the day and stop any energy slumps and it will also help you feel full and satisfied which will allow you to feel good.
An example would be a salad (fibre) with some chicken (protein) some seeds scattered over (fat) some quinoa or some rice (carbohydrates) and some of your favourite salad dressing or some cheese or whatever else you love that would help make your meal more satisfying for you.
Ultimately, when you can be flexible with food and not restrictive it means that you can improve your relationship with food and allows you to stop the all-or-nothing relationship we tend to have with food, where one day we are on plan the next we are eating everything.
Recognising that eating a variety of foods which includes foods that you love and that keep you satisfied is the best way to keep healthy.
- Leave go of the rules and restrictions
- Tune in to your body
- Eat in a way that feels good for you
- Balance your plate (most of the time)
- Eat a wide variety of foods so that you hit the basics
I hope that you found this helpful, if you have any questions let me know!