One of the biggest challenges I am facing at the moment is that of trying to eat well.
And by well, I mean balanced and healthy – where I am not skipping meals and not overeating because of stress or exhaustion. What adds more complications to this challenge are my two kids.
I love them both like crazy! But much to my disappointment in thinking they would happily eat the same things at the same time and enjoy it, my hopelessly high expectations were all in vain.
Before I had kids, my husband and I had very different tastes.
I am more of the vegetarian who loves a rack of ribs now and again, and he is more of the – “what’s this green stuff on my plate? That’s where the meat goes!” – kinda guy.
Often, I landed up cooking different meals, which was fine back then because I loved cooking and had the time. It felt like a millennia ago, like the days of BC. Before children.
Nowadays, not only do my husband and I have different preferences, but we also have the added complication of another two totally different ideas of what yummy is.
While the one loves a plate of chicken nuggets, chips and tomato sauce, the other prefers eggs and yoghurt. There are, however, a few fail-proof dishes that they both love.
Thank goodness for good old-fashioned Spaghetti Bolognese and Mac and Cheese. But as a mother who values healthy eating, the guilt will not let me feed my kids pasta every day.
So now, I have made my life more difficult because I want to encourage variety.
I know every parent will have different views on eating, and often we succumb to the inevitable just to get them to eat something.
As much I am so embarrassed to admit this, ice cream and curl chips (aka Flings) sometimes land up being a meal in a desperate attempt to get them to eat anything and because the fight is exhausting.
Every child is also different. Their bodies require different things, and their pallets differ. I do not want to force-feed my kids, nor do I want to give in to their every whim – it is a fine balance, but it’s exhausting having to do this three times a day for the next 15 years!
Once the kids are eventually fed and satisfied, there is no energy left for me. The idea of cooking a meal is about enticing as changing the bag in the nappy bin.
So what happens is that my husband and I both fall into the trap of the scraps.
In an effort not to waste food and our hard-earned money, suppers often include whatever the kids left on their plates and a piece of toast, or if we are really feeling adventurous, a bowl of cereal.
Those were the rough days when the kids were not sleeping through the night.
Since having kids, the last few years of our lives have not been the healthiest. After two pregnancies, my body will never be the same. And the dad bod is a real thing. If we don’t even have time to eat a warm meal, how on earth do we find the time, energy or will to go to the gym?
There is a bittersweet thing that happens when one hits rock bottom.
Bitter because you realise how bad things actually are. And sweet because there is a refusal to carry on that way. Therefore, things have to change. There is no alternative.
And it is funny how once you have decided to change, things manifest and options become available.
FitChef was a Godsend!
I had heard about it and seen the meals in stores, but I never considered it. Now that I knew things could not carry on the way they were, it all made sense.
Fast forward to when two boxes of assorted meals, snacks, juices and smoothies arrived at the house, and suddenly the freezer became a lifeline.
Move over mini pizzas, frozen peas and chicken nuggets – it’s time for the real meals!
There is, now, no excuse for my husband and me not to eat properly.
I didn’t realise the level of responsibility that was weighing down on me. The everyday pressure of having to shop, prep, cook and feed a family food that is healthy, nutritious and edible was suddenly removed from my ever-expanding to-do lists.
I know life goes through seasons, and now is the season of chaos, busyness and high demands. So to know that there is a way to make life a little bit easier and simpler, I’m on board!
My new routine consists of prepping breakfast and snacks for the kids the night before and choosing a meal out of the freezer for myself for lunch the next day. Simple as it may sound, the choices are almost endless…
- Peri-Peri Chicken
- Beef Con Carne with Quinoa
- Fillet Steak with Roast Potatoes and Stir Fry Vegetables
- Chargrilled Lemon Chicken
- Beef Goulash with Pumpkin & Spinach
- Spanish Red Kidney Bean with Quinoa
- Tikka Roasted Vegetables with Butternut
- Sweet and Sour Vegetables Stir-Fry with Brown Basmati Rice
…just to name a few!
Lunch has become my favourite meal of the day because it is the only time I can eat in peace and quiet without the kids running around or trying to steal my food. Especially more so now. I have gone from eating noodles or a salad to gourmet, well-balanced, healthy, cost-effective, convenient food that tastes good.
What surprised me the most is I am not feeling the need to snack as much during the day. The meals seem to carry me right until dinner time. I have energy for my work, the kids, the bedtime routine (aka suicide hour – parents will know what I mean) and work I need to finish after hours.
Why did I need to suffer for so long before deciding to do myself a favour? I guess that is something all parents are guilty of – being martyrs.
I shall accept all the help I can get, especially when it comes neatly packaged in a microwavable container.
The only downside about these meals is that the kids love them too.