To tell the truth, I’ve been in a funk lately with cooking and with blogging. This pregnancy and having a teething, picky toddler have been exhausting so I’ve been getting by on standard easy meals like pasta and tacos, even takeout, with minimal planning. I keep telling myself there is nothing wrong with that, but I have not been inspired to share with you guys – until I realized that this is reality for a lot of us these days and I shouldn’t hide it.
I’ve also been letting my perfectionism and fear of failure paralyze me on the blogging front. My life doesn’t usually look like a perfect Pinterest picture or curated Instagram profile. It’s often messy and disorganized. I struggle with anxiety and self-doubt as a mom.
I want to let you know that if you relate to this and you are not always getting the most healthy meals on the table – YOU ARE STILL DOING GREAT! Some weeks (or months) are like that. As parents we make compromises so we can stay present and sane for our kids.
I’m still here sharing my less than perfect experience and learning compassion for myself along the way. I’m learning that I’m often my own worst critic when I don’t live up to impossible standards. I’m learning to take breaks from social media and how to quiet the perfectionist and anxious voice in my head with mindfulness.
I think we are all learning to re-navigate the world after we become parents, especially in this digital world that feeds us images of unrealistic ideals. I personally don’t want to add to that noise.
That’s why I’m sharing my real life “hacks” and tips! My hope is that moms (and dads!) like me will read this blog and gain some confidence in their cooking and planning skills, and also show themselves grace. We can create a more compassionate world, beginning with ourselves and with our plates.
If you are having a week (or month) where you feel you are barely surviving, be gentle with yourself. Here are some of my tips for times like that!
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid
I had a mentor who always said this acronym – Keep It Simple Stupid (although I’m pretty sure that last S was something even worse, ha!).
What are your go to quick family favorites? Go ahead and use them. Over and over if you have to. Who says you have to make different, creative meals everyday of the week? Eat leftovers some days. Have breakfast for dinner.
Mine go to easy meals are: pasta with a veggie side, tacos or nachos, and stir-fry. Now is not the time to try out new recipes and stress yourself out with new ingredients and timetables. Stick with what feels comfortable until you get out of that funk and feel inspired. It will happen.
Here is a list of 25 low/no prep meals I compiled to jog your memory or if you do want to try something new, but still easy.
Keep a well stocked pantry
This is a great tip for anyone, whether you are a planner or not. Take a look at the types of meals your family tends to like and always keep those items on hand so you can throw something together last minute. My list may look different than yours, but there are a few things I tend to buy every week. Scan your fridge and pantry before you shop and make sure to stock any of the things that are missing. From these items there are lots of simple meals you can make, including Power Bowls, oatmeal pancakes, soups, simple veggie burger dinners etc.
- Dry items (usually buy once a month) : rice, brown rice, quinoa, oats, lentils (red and green)
- Canned: Black beans, chick peas, diced tomatoes, corn, coconut milk, salsa, white or navy beans, peaches
- Fridge/freezer: Soymilk, OJ, fruit juice, vegan cheese and yogurt, veggie burgers, tortillas, bread, frozen broccoli and peas
- Produce: Apples, bananas, berries, carrots, lettuce, spinach or kale, peppers, potatoes, onions, green onions, avocado, cauliflower
Feeling Financially Stressed?
I looked over our budget last month and it was … not great. So I resolved to keep cooking simply and try to use up veggies and things in the pantry or freezer. It has taken some burden off of me needing to plan as well. Some nights have been beans, rice, salsa and greens.
And another way to save money and time, is to try a grocery delivery or pickup service. I tried this for the first time last week at my local Kroger store. It took out the element of trying to find a time to get myself and baby to the store at a convenient time, and I also saved some money because I could easily compare prices, see a running total, and avoided impulse buying. I was able to check my fridge or pantry as I went also so as to not overbuy.
Most importantly …
Stop comparing yourself (and your dinners) to things you see on social media. Keep it simple and know that your family is eating good food!