Clean Eating And Fitness For Busy Moms

Clean eating and fitness for busy moms may sound like an impossibility for some. But I promise it’s doable. Especially for us ladies who are natural multitaskers.

As Moms, we are natural multi-taskers. We have no other choice. We have to make dinner, soothe a crying baby, argue with our own mothers on the phone, do laundry, mend a sock or shirt and pay the bills, all at the same time.

Author wearing pink glasses and a white t-shirt.

We play the part of, taxi driver, nurse, cook, tutor, and authority figure on a daily basis, and usually, we do all of them within ten minutes after the alarm has gone off at 5am. We are amazing creatures if you really think about it. Few other human beings can accomplish in one day what a mother can accomplish in one hour. It’s really pretty incredible. And we do all of it with no pay and very little recognition.

Crazy? Perhaps. But there is also something very fulfilling about “doing it all”. A feeling of accomplishment when the day is finally at an end and we see those little angel faces asleep in their beds. It’s also about that time that we finally realize just how tired we really are, and we collapse where we stand knowing that tomorrow, we have to do it all over again.

So what happens when we realize that we are not as healthy as we once used to be? What do we do when we look in the mirror and don’t even recognize the unkempt mess in front of us?

Most days, it’s an act of God just to get a shower. Leaving the house with a shirt that is drool/spaghetti sauce/dirt/stain-free (take your pick) is pretty much impossible. And that’s just for stay-at-home moms! If you work part-time or full-time on top of everything else…. well, let’s just say that 24 hours per day is just NOT enough!

As a work-at-home mom, and full-time blogger, I’m often asked how I can possibly get everything done in one day. It’s not easy, but I do have some tips. Here are 10 of them.

  1. Reduce your work load.
    I know, this isn’t easy. We all get tugged and pulled in every direction during the day. Saying no, sometimes just isn’t an option. But I’m here to tell you that I would put money on the fact that there is probably 1 thing in your life you could say no to. 1 thing that would ease up your schedule a bit. We may not want to say no to somebody, but when life gets crazy, people understand. So just say no!!
  1. Make health a priority.
    It’s so incredibly easy to get side tracked when you lead a busy life. The person you really are gets put on hold, and everything else comes first. But here’s the thing. Unless you start putting yourself first, you won’t have anything left to give to anybody. Even your kids. You will be so worn out, you just won’t be able to give any more at all. So take the time, even at 5am if you have to, and take just 1 hour out of the day for yourself. Meditate, exercise or just sip a warm cup of tea and read the paper. Either way, you NEED that 1 hour every day to keep your sanity. Schedule it in your day planner if you need to, but make sure that that one hour is just as important as getting to that meeting you just can’t miss.
  1. Invest in a crock pot.
    If you’ve never used one, I’m here to tell you that these little contraptions can save your life. Who wants to slave over a hot stove at the end of a long and busy day? 20 minutes of prep time in the morning, and you’ll have a full pot of dinner (and maybe even some leftovers for lunch the next day) when you get home. You just can’t get much more efficient than that!
  1. Use your weekend to make the week run smoother.
    Take a half of a weekend day and spend it preparing food. Peel and slice carrots, cucumbers and other veggies. Make hummus for the week (it only takes 2 minutes with a food processor and that includes prep time!). Make lasagna but don’t cook it. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days so you can just pop it in the oven on a busy weekday night. Cook several different grains and store in the fridge so you have a healthy, whole grain side dish for any dinner you want to make. Marinate chicken breasts for up to 3 days in ziploc bags. Keep them in the fridge and bake them in the oven the day you need them, or toss them in the freezer after they have marinated for one day. I think you get my drift here. Plan ahead and your week will go much, much smoother.
  1. Get everyone into the kitchen.
    Weekends are tough because you want to spend that time with family. Doing things with the kids or with friends puts everything else on the back burner. But food should be a family event! There is absolutely NO reason that you should be the only one in the kitchen if you have a husband or kids (or both) at your disposal. Memories made in the kitchen last a lifetime, and you can’t give your kids a greater gift than teaching them how to feed themselves properly. Plus, picky eaters are far more likely to eat when they’ve been involved in the process. So drag them into the kitchen with you! You may have to oversee things a bit at first, but after a while, you’ll find that your load is tremendously lightened because they will know exactly what to do! (And some day, they will make dinner for YOU!)
  1. Cook during naps.
    If your kids are younger and still take naps, congratulations! You have a free hour in the day (if you stay at home) to cook! Now I’ll be the first to admit that when my son is napping, all I want to do it nap with him. But that just isn’t an option in my life anymore (oh, how I miss those days!). Just remind yourself that getting some cooking done now, will save you at the end of the day when you are REALLY tired and just want to land on a soft pillow.
  1. Cook large quantities.
    This is truly vital for those of you who work outside of the home. Get used to cooking for an army! Invest in single serving Tupperware or Ziploc containers and keep extra food on hand at all times. If you always have healthy leftovers, you’ll always have a healthy meal on hand. I feed 5 people in my home, and I make it a point to cook for 8-10 people. Everyone has lunch the next day, and there might even be a little left over to put in the freezer for a truly “rainy” day.
  1. Freeze, freeze, freeze.
    If you can afford it, invest in a deep freezer. It will be your saving grace. If you can’t afford it, clean out your freezer and get organized! The more you can pack that freezer with single serving meals, the happier and more stress free you will be during the week.
  1. Keep backup lists on the fridge.
    You need two lists on the front of your fridge at all times. One will be a list of foods you have on hand in the fridge and freezer so you know what you can just grab when you need it, and one will be a list of quick and easy, healthy recipes that you can throw together at the last-minute if you need to. That second list may seem a bit useless, but when you are very busy and cooking is the last thing on your mind, it’s easy to forget what everyone likes to eat. It’s easy to fall into that, “I don’t know what to cook” rut. So keep both lists on hand and you’ll never be at a loss for what to make for dinner. List number 1 also gives the kids and the hubby a great idea of the foods on hand in case you don’t make it home in time to cook dinner. All they have to do is pick from “the menu” and put it in the microwave.
  1. Family fitness is a must.
    You may not realize it, but if you have kids, you have the best workout equipment ever made. Kids have endless energy and will give you the workout of a lifetime if you let them. Working out doesn’t have to be in a gym. Take the kids to the park for an hour and play soccer with them. Swing on the monkey bars like you did in grade school (I guarantee you’ll find muscles you didn’t know you had the next morning!) Go bike riding, play catch, play tag or go swimming. Any way you look at it, your kids will get much needed and undivided attention from you, and you’ll get a workout that most celebrities pay big bucks for!

So there you have it. It’s not easy making lifestyle changes that include this type of daily activity. But if you can make the switch, not only will your family be healthier and stronger, so will you!

Article is an original work and is © Tiffany McCauley. It may not be reproduced for any reason without written permission by the author.

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  1. Stephanie says:

    did I write this blog? ha ha – it is so right on. Planning, prepping and making sure I get enough of sleep are the three main things I find that keep me together and then everything else will fall into place – well, most times…….there will always be life’s hiccups…..

    Love the picture!!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stephanie – LOL! I think it’s a pretty common theme for most busy moms out there. But yes, life always hiccups! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I loved this post….. it gave me a few tips I had not thought about yet on my quest to “Return to Me”. You, along with some other helpful people in my life, have jump started my weight loss and lifestyle change that will one day put a HUGE smile upon my face. SO THANK YOU!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mandy – It’s all you! You’re the one putting in the hard work. This site is just a tool. But I’m so happy you’re finding it helpful! Go girl! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Tiffany…thanks for this post. Nice to know I am not alone with these struggles.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim – You’re NEVER alone! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Brynne Ruiz says:

    Tiffany, you are awesome! Thank you for the tips and inspiration. I tried your no-bake cookies the other day on the advice of a friend. I loved the cookies but more than that, I love your blog! Thank you from another busy mama.
    I started clean-eating in December 2010. What an amazing change for our family!

    Thank you again!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Brynne – I’m so happy you enjoyed my article! Clean eating is truly an amazing thing. You’re giving your family a wonderful gift. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Sarah Seals says:

    I just stumbled across your blog. I LOVE these tips and will start using them this weekend. I am also a busy mom of 3 and love finding clean eating recipes and food. As a food blogger myself, it is nice to see others who share a similar vision.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Sarah – Fabulous! I hope some of those tips help! It can be tough as a mom. But as moms, we can do hard things. We do them all day long. Thanks for stopping by my blog!