Maybe you're already a SAHM (stay at home mom - or dad), or you've had to adjust to WFH (working from home), or perhaps you recently quit your job to be a stay at home caregiver (RQYJTBA...oh forget it). Whatever the case, if you're suddenly spending a lot more time in the house, chances are you're also eating more than you're used to. Stress eating anyone? Yep! And if there are kids around - forget it ("you want another snack?!"). Today, I'll focus on the kids, mostly because I'm surrounded by three of them all the time. Are we counting the husband? Make that four.
Our house: Dad works from home. Mom quit her job to stay home with kids re: COVID. Kid One - infant. Breastfed. Doesn't really count, but is kind of like wearing a weighted backpack while doing an obstacle course through the mud... in the rain...while jumping over fire. Kid Two - toddler, great eater. Kid Three - hates everything. Dad - eats everything. Mom - needs a bottle of wine.
First, the snacking. Set yourself up for success here. When possible, keep all of their favorite "healthy" snacks on hand, ready to go, at all times. We keep staples in our house like bananas, low fat plain yogurt, granola, oranges, apples, carrots, cucumbers, hummus, whole grain crackers, and low fat cheese sticks. If you prefer, buy some pre-cut ready to eat out of the package stuff. Otherwise, spend some time prepping things so they're sliced and ready to go when the little monsters start nagging. You are probably super busy, but this will pay off when you're in the middle of an important meeting and the whining begins. Think 'grab and go'. Also, make sure they (or you) are not eating out of boredom. This is another reason to keep healthy snacks around. If they're mindlessly over-eating carrot sticks or grapes while you're focusing on something else it's not the end of the world. Be careful not to keep too many tempting treats around (guilty). This might have worked when no one was home during the day, but now they're just staring you in the face all day. For bored eaters or stress bakers, this can be sabotage. If you 'have' to keep them around, do your best to hide them from yourself (think top shelf, way in the back, have to get the step stool out). If they're harder to get to, you're less likely to indulge.
Next, meals. Just... ugh. I have heard over and over from family and friends (and my husband and myself) that everyone is just so tired of thinking of what to cook every day. I used to eat my breakfast and lunch at work while the kids were eating theirs at school or daycare. Now, all of us eat every single meal at home and we are beyond fatigued. Personally, one of the best things I did at the start of COVID was subscribe to the NYT Cooking database (there are many others, too) after I got sucked in by their mouth watering Instagram posts. Now, when I need inspiration I pull up the app, choose some new recipes, and make my shopping list. I've had way more fun cooking up new material, practicing new techniques, and feel good knowing the kids are getting a well-rounded diet and exposure to a diverse selection of foods. Share recipes, too! Instagram that beautiful plate of scrumptiousness and send it to your mom or bff. We need to keep each other going this year. I've also realized, the more I get the kids involved in cooking meals, the more excited they are about what they're eating. Put your patient pants on and pull out some extra aprons. If they're proud of their creations and are familiar with the ingredients, they're more likely to eat it! Or at least try it...
Lastly, work it off! I know, it's cold and gray outside and you have so much work to get caught up on. I totally get it. But, it's so important that you and the kiddos get some physical activity a couple of times a day, especially if stuck in front of a screen for hours (plus, you can have one more leftover Christmas cookie, right? How many cookies is too many?). Try sledding, quick walks around the neighborhood, race around the house a few times, have a scavenger hunt, chase the dog, move the couch out of the way and pretend to have a ballet class, do push-ups by your desk, YouTube some karate moves. Dance party anyone? Just move! Burn some calories and boost your mood.
Whatever your flavor, let your food nourish, comfort, and inspire!
Some of our board members talk about their New Year's Resolutions...
Ellie Wilson (Public Policy Chair) - " I am reframing resolutions as intentions, and mine is to be more attentive to sleeping. I have been wearing my Fitbit for 24 hours since mid November, and I was so surprised by the data view that showed I was getting an hour+ less sleep than I perceived I was. New Fitbit Versa 2 for Christmas gives me even more data (once I learn all of the functions, lol), so I am excited to improve that health habit!"
Jana Neitzel (Social Media Chair) - "A few goals of mine for this year include reading more, learning to play the ukulele, and gaining physical flexibility (lots of stretching). "
Jennifer Bannigan (Reimbursement Chair) - "Happy New Year everyone! One of my goals to work on in 2021 is making at least one video each month to share with my clients. I have an increased demand from my clients to have videos available as I am no longer cooking with them in my office. I dread being filmed so this is a big hurdle for me to jump over."
Martha Wasserbauer (Membership Chair) - "One goal of mine for this year is to make more time for knitting projects and piano practice."
Lauren Coffey (Technology Chair) - "Some of my goals for 2021 are to declutter my home to reduce stress, to expand my cooking skills (while including the kids), and finally start (and finish) some of my sewing projects I've been putting off!"