I don’t know about you, but 2020 has brought about some big changes in my life. As time in this new environment goes on, a new way of life has begun to emerge. One with slower days, with less to do each day and a job that suddenly does not require an office presence. I find myself in a position to consider new things like healthy eating and meal prep.
Now that my weekends and evenings are no longer filled with back-to-back activities for my kids: swimming, gymnastics, baseball, etc., and I am no longer commuting 105 miles a day, I have more time to put toward improving other areas of my life.
A main focus for me recently has been healthy eating and feeding my family nutritious meals. This is something I have always aspired to, but that has for the most part taken a back seat to convenient and fast food chosen under stressful and exhausting circumstances.
However, with my new work from home situation, we are slowing things down, and settling in and suddenly I find I have more bandwidth and energy to invest in healthier lifestyle choices. I am starting to hope some of these changes may stick around even after the school year starts.
For example, usually I would be in such a rush to grab a quick bite and rush out the door that if I ate breakfast, it was something convenient that I could cram down while hustling everyone to get shoes on, backpacks packed and into the truck. The kids often ate a granola bar, breakfast cracker or other pre-packaged item. I would drop them off, and then head 50 miles south to my office.
Now, we are biking to daycare and back. The hours are the same. It took about 1.5 hours of driving to my office each day. Riding to daycare and back twice a day on a bike is about the same amount of time. But the benefits abound. It is so much more enjoyable. No gas. No wear and tear on my vehicle. Good exercise. A mental health boost. And a little bit of sunlight. I could go on, but you get the point.
But what about the food? I have been concentrating my efforts this year on healthy whole foods. But so far, it has still leaned toward the convenient side. Steamable frozen veggies, canned veggies, simple fruit like apples and oranges etc. But after months of effort, I finally feel like I am skilled enough to start putting together meals that have some prior thought invested, rather than always wondering “what’s for dinner?”
On Saturday, the baby and I left early to make a grocery store run. We stocked up on tons of fresh fruits and veggies and several staples for the week. We washed and chopped and packaged the food in easy containers. I felt so accomplished.
But now what? Should I schedule and plan specific meals with the supplies or wing it and make whatever strikes me when I see the ingredients? I want to do the former. I want to make a fancy menu, so I know what meat to pull out and when to accompany my nicely chopped veggies. But this is new territory for me.
I have been sitting here debating if I should dedicate more time to this process or decide on the fly?
What do you do? Are you a whole food, meal prep master? Still stuck in a convenience food rut? Or like me and for the first time in my parenting path, exploring new options that were previously often out of reach for a full time, work outside the home mom?
Let me know in the comments and please share your best resources!