We welcome Tina Murphy to the Meetmums blog. Tina is a qualified Personal Trainer with ISSA and a mum who also runs her own business, Run with Tina, helping women to learn to love running. She is interested in fitness, nutrition and health. There is no better person to talk about tips on healthy living for healthy people than her.
There’s no denying that eating and being healthy takes some effort and time. With our busy lives these days, coupled with all the mouthwatering takeaways and convenience foods available, it is easy to fall off the healthy wagon and go for the easy, unhealthy options.
When I first started working again after having a baby, I felt I was too busy to cook and ended up eating really badly.
I run my own business, teach classes in the evenings, look after my 15-month-old daughter with very limited childcare and my husband works long hours so there is very little time to spare. When I first started working again after having a baby, I felt I was too busy to cook and ended up eating really badly. It is still a challenge but luckily, after few months, I learnt to get myself organized so that I can make sure we eat super healthy 95% of the time. Here are my top tips:
1. Change your attitude – start seeing food as fuel, because, that’s what it is. Food is meant to nourish us, give us energy, keep us healthy and even heal us. This is especially important when it comes to feeding kids. It can still be enjoyed, there are plenty of nourishing yet tasty foods around! Start paying attention to what you eat and what the nutritional value of that food is, how does it make you feel, and you’ll quickly see where you need to make changes. The occasional indulgence is allowed, just make sure that 80% of the food you eat is good quality fuel.
Stock up your freezer and pantry – batch cook, make a double quantity of things or spend a few hours on a Sunday
2. Be organized – plan a weekly menu, make lists and stock up! Set aside couple of hours each weekend to plan the following week’s meals. Look up the recipes, write up a menu and make a shopping list. Make sure you think about all meals – breakfast, lunch, dinners as well as snacks. Another important thing is to find recipes that the whole family can eat; this saves time and ensures that the whole family eats well! Make sure you find new recipes to try regularly; this keeps things interesting and makes it more fun.
Once I’ve done my menu and shopping list, I often do a big order online. I also always have a list of things that we’re running low on (e.g. if we are running out of tinned tomatoes, olive oil etc pantry items) so it’s easy to remember to add those to the shopping. I have another list for things I need that need to be bought at a specialist shop like a healthfood shop or an Asian shop, so when I’m in town I can pick these up. And, to make sure I always have my lists near me, I keep save them in my 2do app on my iphone.
Get your kids involved in preparing meals, use lots of colourful foods, buy weird things in the health food store to try, explore a new cuisine
Stock up your freezer and pantry – batch cook, make a double quantity of things or spend a few hours on a Sunday to make a couple of soups or other dishes that freeze well. I always make sure I have plenty of tinned beans and pulses as well as tinned tomatoes and I always have the freezer full of frozen berries, peas, beans, mixed veg, spinach, sweet corn, prawns, fish…. you can even freeze fresh herbs!
3. Make it fun – Often when people start eating healthy they think it’s really boring and there is no joy in life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. See some great blogs such as Oh She Glows or Peas and Thank You for inspiration (these are vegan blogs but don’t be put off by that, I often ‘unveganise’ their recipes). Get your kids involved in preparing meals, use lots of colourful foods, buy weird things in the health food store to try (some you’ll like, some you won’t), explore a new cuisine – how about trying to cook Japanese? Make sure you try new recipes regularly, make side dishes, have desserts (healthy ones, of course) and make your own snacks. Challenge yourself to make healthy versions of your old favourites – you can have healthy pizza and I’ll include a ridiculously healthy chocolate mousse recipe below.
4. Take an evening off – I make sure I have a regular night off cooking and we have something that’s easy to prepare. We are lucky to have a great Japanese restaurant that delivers near us – I’ll usually get sushi or sometimes salmon teriyaki, both healthy takeaways. Sometimes we have ready meals – there are some not too bad options – for my daughter I always have Dee’s Wholefoods Beanburgers in the freezer and if we want a ready meal, I’ll go for something from M&S, usually something from the fish counter and a fancy few salads.
I always have the freezer full of frozen berries, peas, beans, mixed veg, spinach, sweet corn, prawns, fish…. you can even freeze fresh herbs!
5. Prioritise – when my clients tell me they do not have the time to exercise or cook, I always ask them if they watch TV most days. Most of them say yes, most people spend far more time watching TV, browsing the net, reading gossip magazines, than they realize. If you have time for this, you should have time to look after your health, it’s just a matter of prioritizing.
Now, here’s a lovely new treat for you to try. I guarantee you your whole family will love this one:
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE THAT’S GOOD FOR YOU
1 avocado (very ripe)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder*
2tbsp agave syrup
1tsp vanilla essence (optional)
Blend all the ingredients together with a handheld blender, until smooth. Add a bit more agave if needed (if you’re not using vanilla, you might want to add a 1/2tbsp more agave)
Eat as is or use as a chocolate spread on oatcakes, ricecakes or spelt toast.
Finally, please keep in mind that it takes time to make lifestyle changes. If you currently live on takeaways and ready meals, don’t expect to be munching on mung beans next week. Make a few small changes weekly and it won’t seem like such a drastic change.