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Jamie Leff | The Balanced Mom Magazine

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Jamie Leff

by Jamie Leff

What is the first thing you think about when someone asks you, “What is your favorite thing about the holidays?” Often, I get answers such as, “Grandma’s Yams, Uncle Bill’s prize winning gravy or Mom’s World Famous Latkes;” basically, anything that has to do with food! It is not surprising that people put on weight over the holidays…. everything usually revolves around something edible or drinkable. There is the baking, the holiday parties, and office treats. Let’s not forget to mention things you wouldn’t normally, but now you absolutely HAVE to eat, because they put the word pumpkin, peppermint or eggnog in front of it. What if you focused on something else this holiday season? What if you focused on making memories instead of pumpkin bread?

You have five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. As we previously discussed, taste seems to get most of the attention around the holidays. If you think about it though, a lot of our memories are made using the other four senses as well. How about we give taste a rest and focus on the other senses instead? What would the holidays look like then?

Let’s explore this idea:


TOUCH: Think about the things around the holidays that you can physically feel. Bing Crosby makes reference to “Jack Frost nipping at your nose,” in his famous holiday classic White Christmas.

Some examples are:

  • Curling up with your loved ones under a cozy blanket, in front of a fire, on a crisp winter’s night.
  • Cuddling with your pet, stroking it’s fur and just relaxing after a long day.
  • Taking a hot bubble bath (I know I said to ease off of taste, but I think adding a glass of wine here will make you feel really good!).
  • Hugging and kissing your loved ones as often as you can.
  • Making homemade holiday decorations with your kids.

 

SMELL: Sometimes the best part of baking all of those holiday goodies, is the smells they leave behind. You can be in the middle of a restaurant, get a whiff of cinnamon and apples, and it brings you back to the last Thanksgiving at grandma’s.

Here are some examples of using smell:

  • Lighting candles or getting air fresheners in your favorite holiday scents.
  • Since we are so obsessed with everything pumpkin, peppermint, or eggnog, how about getting a bubble bath in one of those scents?
  • Standing in front of a Christmas tree and just breath deeply! Or go up to the mountains and take in the fresh air!
  • Try this Hot Spiced Cider recipe from Betty Crocker. Not only will it warm you up, but it will make your house smell amazing!!!

HOT SPICED CIDER

There’s nothing like warm, spicy apple cider to break the ice when you’re entertaining on a chilly day.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

• 6 cups apple cider
• 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 3 cinnamon sticks

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat ingredients to boiling over medium- high heat. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes.

Before serving, strain cider mixture to remove cloves and cinnamon, if desired. Serve hot.

From Betty Crocker Online: www. BettyCrocker.com

HEARING: Part of the fun of the holidays is turning on your radio and rocking out to your favorite holiday classics! Or how about when your child comes home singing the same version of “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel,” that you learned when you were his or her age?

 

This holiday season:

  • Listen to holiday music.
  • Tell stories to kids about the true meaning of the holidays. Or have everyone share their favorite holiday memory.
  • Take in the laughter and the excitement. Focus on the joy the holidays bring, especially to your kids.
  • Tell someone you love them everyday. Chances are, they will tell you they love you back, and that’s a wonderful thing to hear everyday, not just around the holidays.

SIGHT: At the end of the day, there’s nothing better then spending time and making precious memories with the people you care about most.


  • Visit with family and friends. For some people, the holidays are the only time they get to see certain people. Take advantage and really enjoy that time.
  • Take your children to look at holiday decorations. Decorate your own house.
  • Watch holiday movies.
  • Record home movies of your kids decorating the house, opening their presents, and anything else holiday related. These will be your favorite holiday movies for years to come.

Hopefully, these ideas will distract you from the non-stop eating that occurs from Thanksgiving to New Years! Also, remember that the holidays are also about giving. When you find that you have over-done it in the kitchen, donate some of that extra food to the local food bank. Instead of sending your child to school with homemade cookies for his or her teacher, make a donation in that teacher’s honor. Purchase $5 gift cards to any fast food place and give them out to people you see in need. Take the time to be grateful for all that you had this year.

These things are what the holidays are really about. It’s about making memories with the people you love. Focus on these things and you will be so caught up in the holiday spirit, you won’t even think twice about Aunt Betty’s special fudge. You’ll just be so happy to see Aunt Betty!

Happy Holidays!  I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite holiday traditions that don’t involve food? Send an email over to Jamie@JamieLeffNutrition.com.

Healthy Habitsby Jamie Leff

I am loving Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules – an Eater’s Manual! If you have not read it, I cannot recommend it enough. He is a man after my own heart – searching for ways to make nutrition simple. He tells it like it is, and weeds through all of the bologna.

In case you haven’t heard of the Happy Meal Experiment, I have done it. I have a Happy Meal that I bought back in October 2009. That means it is coming up on it’s 4th birthday! The thing looks just like this picture (which happens to be of a fresh one). Nothing has grown on it, the meat did not rot, the bread did not mold… there is something really wrong with that! Your food should not out-live you! In fact, I had to place it in a box because the bag it came in deteriorated thanks to the oil.

Why do I bring this to your attention? Because even well meaning moms can sometimes be a slave to fast food, drive-thrus and things in little packages that have a shelf life older than some of their children.

School is back in session, which for many of you means packing lunches quickly to get out the door on time, grabbing a quick lunch for yourself in the middle of the day in between mommy duties, or driving through the closest place you can find between school and soccer practice. More often than not, health takes a back seat to convenience. Do not let yourself get caught in the trap!

Here are some tips to help you get quick and easy meals, without having to sacrifice your health:

Burger Places: Most places now offer salads, grilled chicken sandwiches and turkey burgers. If you absolutely must get a burger, get a regular hamburger. Instead of french fries, opt for a side salad, yogurt or fruit.

Sandwich shops: Avoid mayo or items made with mayo such as tuna or chicken salad. Order your sandwich on wheat bread vs. white bread and ask for extra vegetables. Again, most places now offer fruit or yogurt in their value meals instead of chips.

Mexican Food: Avoid items that are fried or contain nacho cheese sauce, sour cream or the word “Supreme” in the title. Ask them to hold the cheese and add extra salsa.
At any restaurant, always order water or unsweetened Ice Tea vs. soda.

Starbucks: Instead of grabbing a scone or bagel, which can have around 700 calories, opt for the “protein plate,” which has a hardboiled egg, a whole wheat roll with Almond Butter, some grapes, and a few pieces of white cheddar cheese. Another option would be the oatmeal or the egg, spinach and feta wrap. Pass on the blended frozen drinks or flavored lattes and get a coffee with creamer instead. Bring your own Stevia packets from home if you need a little sweetness.

Another option is to keep snacks in your car or pack a cooler the night before with things you can grab in a hurry. This is an easy way to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition from whole foods throughout the day, without having to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

These snack ideas are great for kids too!

Fruit: I’ve said this before… wash fruit the minute you unpack it from the grocery bag. The faster you can grab it in the morning, the more likely you will do it. Another option is fruit cups with fruit that is packed in water vs. syrup.

A final option … organic baby food! Hear me out… have you seen those pouches where your kids can just squeeze and suck the fruit right out? For the ones I’m talking about, if you look at the ingredients, it should just say organic fruit and vegetables. True story, I was waiting in line at Babies R Us to purchase a baby gift for a friend. I was starving and happened to look over and they had about 10 different flavors of this organic baby food in those easy squeeze pouches! I picked up the
sweet potato pumpkin and sure enough, the only ingredients were organic sweet potato and organic pumpkin.

Let me tell you, it was delicious and totally held me over until I got home!

Nuts: You can now get pre-portioned packs of nuts, or just buy snack baggies and make them yourself. Nuts are a great thing to keep in your car or purse for those emergency
situations when hunger strikes and the only thing for miles is a Taco Bell.

Greek Yogurt

String cheese and Apple

Cut up Vegetables: Try celery with peanut butter or raw sugar snap peas

Peanut Butter and Jelly or Turkey sandwich: Or whatever sandwich you decided to put in your child’s lunch that day. When you are packing their lunches, make an extra one for yourself!

All it takes is a little prep work and a conscious thought to make healthier choices when you are out and about, but it is possible to get fresh and healthy foods on the go. Don’t get stuck eating something that goes against nature!

by Jamie Leff

It’s summertime!

Which means warmer weather and outside activities. Kids love to run around, play sports, and stay active in the summer time. It’s important to keep your family hydrated this summer. One common complaint I get from my clients is that they can’t seem to get their kids to stay hydrated. They do not like the taste of water, so they just won’t drink enough of it. Here are some fun and easy tips to make sure you and your family are getting the liquid they need:

Instead of soda, try sparkling water.

You can add lemon, lime or even a splash of juice to give it flavor. Some brands also come in different flavors. Just be cautious about the sweetened ones, as most of them contain some sort of artificial sweetener.

Eat juicy fruits.

The more water in the fruit, the more hydration it will provide. Great options are watermelon, oranges, and grapes. (Here’s a tip: Freeze little baggies of grapes for a cold, refreshing treat!)

Have soup for dinner!

If something hot does not sound appealing, try this recipe for a yummy chilled carrot soup from Martha Stewart:

Ingredients :

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup diced onion
• 2 pounds carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
• 5 1/2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Salt and pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup fresh unseasoned coarse breadcrumbs
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Thinly sliced baby carrots, for garnish

Directions:

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add carrots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are very soft, 25 to 30 minutes.

2. Filling a blender halfway and covering with a kitchen towel, puree soup in batches. Stir in honey, and season with salt and pepper. Chill soup for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

3. Before serving, prepare breadcrumbs:
Heat olive oil in a medium-size saute pan over medium-high heat. Add fresh unseasoned coarse breadcrumbs.

Stir constantly until toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool. Stir in finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon breadcrumb mixture, and thinly sliced baby carrots if desired.

Make homemade smoothies with water or coconut water and fresh fruit.

Just pick your favorite fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen), add about 8 ounces of liquid per serving, blend and enjoy.

Save the leftover smoothie and pour it into popsicle trays and freeze for homemade popsicles.

Your kids will love these because it is a yummy treat, while moms will love them because they are made from fruit, without any added sugar.

Let your children pick out a special water bottle just for them to encourage them to drink more water.

If it is something fun that they enjoy, they will be more likely to want to take it with them to places.

Make a game with your kids, including a rewards chart for however many glasses of water they drink in a day.

While it is important to make sure that everyone is getting adequate fluid, not all beverages are created equal.

Avoid giving your family the following beverages, as they contain a lot more sugar and very little nutritional benefit:

Avoid giving your kids too much juice. Limit it to one glass a day, and if possible, dilute it with water.

Avoid sodas. Not only are they high in sugar, the phosphoric acid is terrible for their teeth!

Gatorade is for gators! Did you know Gatorade was originally invented for the college football team, the Florida Gators. It was designed as a way to replace electrolytes lost after hours of excessive sweating. If you or child is involved in a strenuous activity that lasts longer than an hour, then an electrolyte beverage such as Gatorade would be appropriate. Otherwise, drinking it as a recreational beverage provides too much sugar and the extra electrolytes are not necessary.

A common question I get asked is, how much water should I drink in a day? How much should my kids be drinking? The general guidelines are to take your body weight and divide it in half. That is how many ounces of fluid you should be drinking on a daily basis. Not to get too graphic, but a good rule of thumb is to check out your urine. If it’s relatively clear, then you are in good shape!

Lastly, beware of dehydration! Symptoms can include dry mouth, sleepiness or tiredness (children tend to be less active than usual), dry skin, headache, decreased urine output, constipation, and lightheadedness or dizziness.

A common comment I get is, “I only drink when I’m thirsty.” Believe it or not, thirst is also a symptom of dehydration. Do not wait until you are thirsty to rehydrate. Hopefully, these tips will help to keep you and your family healthy and happy this summer season. Got any additional tips you want to share? Head over to www.JamieLeffNutrition.com and shoot me a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Jamie Leff

Health & Nutrition
Jamie is a registered dietician who hopes to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
Read more about Jamie here
.

Got Balance? by Jamie Leff
Moms wear many hats. They are not only moms, but wives, entrepreneurs, they play doctor, taxi driver, math tutor, they cook and clean. Moms basically run the show, making sure their families are well taken care of. But how often do they have time for themselves?

I work with a lot of moms, and it’s the same story: “I know I shouldn’t eat the chocolate, but I just can’t help myself. I see it and I have to have it. I just can’t stop.” One of the biggest struggles I see is that most women (moms especially), just can’t seem to curb the sweet tooth. It comforts them. It fills them up. Then they come to me full of frustration, wondering why they just can’t get it together and improve their diet. When I dig a little deeper, I discover that the problem rarely has anything to do with food. These women are burnt out! They run themselves ragged and have no balance in their lives. Food is the little pleasure they get out of their day, and often the one thing they feel they can control in the mass chaos that is their day. Once I bring this to light, we can start peeling back the onion, layer by layer, and try to figure out how to get things back on track. What can provide comfort instead of food? Why does she need comfort in the first place? What’s missing that food is trying to fill? What these moms really need is a little more balance!

Don’t you just love that word— balance? What does that even mean anyway? Can you really achieve balance? What balance really does is keep you sane and feeling on track. What allows you to take a pause and just breathe. When you are out of balance, it means that most of your focus is on one area of your life, but not enough on another. Being out of balance can effect so many different areas of your life: your health, your finances, the quality of your relationships, and your mental well being. Because I’m so so concerned about my client’s health, and because I find that tends to be the first to go when you’re out of balance, I decided to interview my friend who I think lives a very balanced life. She’s one of the busiest moms I know, yet she is also one of the healthiest.

Meet Patricia.

Patricia is a wife. She’s a mother of 3 kids under 5. She’s involved in her kids’ school, after school activities, birthday parties on the weekends, etc. Oh, and she works full time. Patricia is thin, fit and healthy. After picking her brain for a bit, here are some pearls of wisdom on how she manages to find balance and stay healthy. (I have included my thoughts on how you do this):

Anything is ok in moderation.

Don’t deprive yourself of anything, just enjoy it in small doses. If you absolutely must have a slice of cake at your son’s birthday party, take a tiny slice and enjoy every bite of it.

Get moving.

Staying active not only helps keep your body in shape, it provides mental relaxation as well. Working out is time away from the distractions of your kids, husband, work (i.e.. your life) and allows you time for you. Even if it’s only 10 minutes, that’s better than nothing. Plus, you can’t beat those feel good endorphins.

Snack smart.

When opting for a snack like chips or crackers, take one handful, close up the bag, and leave the room. Don’t bring the bag with you and mindlessly eat handful after handful until you finish the bag. This is particularly important for those who tend to stress eat!

Take a nap.

When feeling overwhelmed, take a time out. Lay down or sit still for 5, 10, 15 minutes and just relax. It may seem like there’s no time to slow down, even for 5 minutes, but I promise taking that 5 minutes now will pay off and actually save you time in the long run.

Make balanced choices.

Pick and choose things that you can and will avoid. For example, make it a principle not to eat fast food. Or if you know you’re going to want dessert with dinner, order a salad or something on the lighter side. When eating out, try to eat out only once or twice a week. Pack meals and healthy snacks to take on the road which can help you avoid temptation.

Stay sane by taking care of yourself.

Take some “me” time when you need it. Ask for help with the kids, but make yourself a priority. Find moments throughout the day or set aside time for a manicure or lunch with a girlfriend. Moms tend to be excellent at managing a schedule, so make sure that “me” time gets in there.

What are some ways that you can achieve some balance in your life as it pertains to your health? Do you see areas where you can improve? Can you try to incorporate one or two of Patricia’s tips into your week?

As I mentioned earlier, when trying to be healthy, lose weight or just simply improve your diet, sometimes diet actually has very little to do with it. If we can clean up other areas of your life, everything else seems to fall into place. Diet is actually the easy part. So look at where things are a little off balance. Maybe you eat right, but don’t exercise. Or maybe you give so much time to others, but you don’t have time for yourself. Start small. Look at a couple of areas where maybe you need more balance, make a few small changes, and suddenly, you’ll develop a momentum.

Need help? Head over to www.JamieLeffNutrition.com, take our assessment and set up a complimentary consultation to see where you could use a little improvement.

Jamie Leff

Health & Nutrition
Jamie is a registered dietician who hopes to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
Read more about Jamie here
.

The holidays are usually about family, fun and food…lots and lots of food! Last I read, the average person gains about 7 pounds over the holidays (the “holidays” being defined as Thanksgiving to New Year’s). However, this does not need to be the case. Studies have shown that if you indulged on only those three days (Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah/ Kwanza, and New Years), you would not gain weight. The problem is, when people start eating on Thanksgiving and eat their way until New Years. Between the office parties, holiday parties, family gatherings and yummy holiday treats popping up at your favorite coffee shops, it’s a nonstop, all you can eat, time of year!

Here are some tips to help get you through the holidays, without derailing your healthy lifestyle habits, and causing you to make the dreaded New Year’s Resolution of “Lose 10 Pounds!” Now is that really a positive way to start the year?

Plan your day.

If you know you have a holiday party after work, and you know you are going to indulge, plan to eat a healthy breakfast and a light lunch. Eat something high in protein, such as an egg white omelette for breakfast, a salmon salad for lunch, and then enjoy half of your steak and a few bites of the chocolate soufflé at dinner. Top it off with one glass of wine versus a sugary cocktail drink. Again, plan what you are going to eat at the party, and stick to your plan.

Do something active before a big holiday meal.

Take a morning walk with your family, schedule some time at the gym, or sign up for a holiday race. Many towns have a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5k. It is a fun event to get you into the holiday mood. Plus, it gives you something to train for, so that you establish a fitness routine as you enter the holiday season. Check out www.active.com for a race near you.

Have a healthy snack like vegetable soup before the meal.

The worst thing you can do is go into a meal starving. You’ll be more likely to ignore your internal cues, and overeat. There’s nothing worse than enjoying a meal, but then walking away from the table feeling sick, regretting the last few bites you ate. By eating something light before the meal, you curb your appetite without extra calories, and prevent yourself from eating too much.

Wear your tightest pants to the meal!

I know this may sound strange and frankly uncomfortable, but you’ll end up feeling fuller faster. This will allow you to indulge in your favorite foods, without going over board. Furthermore, it will keep you reminded of your goal and commitment to yourself to get to or maintain a healthy weight.

Before you indulge, ask yourself, “Do I really want this? Is it really worth it?”

My personal example of this is the rolls on the buffet table at our Thanksgiving dinner. They are nothing special – just plain, white rolls. Not even the good ones they serve at restaurants that are hot and crispy on the outside. Every year I walk by the rolls and I think, “Sorry, you’re so not worth it. I can have you anytime I want. I’d rather have my mom’s famous sweet potato casserole and Aunt Mary’s delicious stuffing, since I only get those once a year.” The holidays are the perfect time to be picky and turn up your Holiday Eating Survival Guide nose at foods that just really don’t excite you. Do not feel compelled to eat something just because it’s there. If your Aunt Mildred insists you try her green bean casserole, take a small bite, tell her it was delicious, but unfortunately you are full.

Don’t keep leftovers in the house.

If you are a guest in someone’s home, decline the doggy bag. If you are the hostess, either send the leftovers home with your guests, donate them to a homeless shelter, or toss them in the trash! As painful as that sounds, you will feel a lot better about them being in the trash than on your waist line. Take notes and remember how much was left, then vow to cook a little less next year.

Plan meals for the days after the holiday and have healthy snacks on hand.

Don’t wake up the day after Thanksgiving with nothing but pumpkin pie for breakfast. Get right back on track with your usual healthy eating plan.

Indulge ONE day. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the month long spirit, but try to keep it to a minimum. Be selective with your food choices. Don’t get stuck in the holiday trap of eating just for the sake of eating because “you are in the holiday spirit” and someone has painted a snowman on it or put it in a Hanukah tin.

Remember what the holidays are really about.

They are about having family and friends around and enjoying being together. Start nonfood related holiday traditions, like volunteering at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving, or going caroling on Christmas Eve. Give movie tickets or Lotto Scratchers as holiday gifts instead of boxes of chocolate or tins of cookies.

If you choose to stay mindful and be aware of what you are putting in your mouth, plan ahead, enjoy when it’s appropriate and really focus on nonfood related holiday cheer, you can get through the holidays without the gift of extra weight!

Happy Holidays!

 

Jamie Leff

Health & Nutrition
Jamie is a registered dietician who hopes to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
Read more about Jamie here
.

It is only 7 am on Tuesday and you are already feeling overwhelmed! Your long list of things to do include dropping the kids off at school, picking up the dry cleaning, meeting with your web designer, taking care of your customers, developing a new product, picking the kids back up from school, taking Jonny to soccer practice and Missy to ballet, and then, somehow manage to feed your family a healthy meal. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing this! Now, it’s 11 pm, you finally have some time to yourself, and you realize you have not had a decent meal all day! You picked a little off of your kid’s breakfast plate and finished up what was left of your husband’s dinner, but that’s hardly a balanced meal. The hunger pains start to kick in and the next thing you know you are raiding the cabinets and consuming anything you can find, from crackers to ice cream. This scenario is all too familiar to me. I see it all of the time with my moms who are trying to balance a family and a career. They do not have time to cook, so they end up picking up fast food on their way home. Or, they have been out all day, running around, and forgot to stop for lunch. Here are some tips to stay organized and hopefully prevent you from missing a healthy meal and becoming a slave to fast food or whatever junk food happens to be in your house at the moment.

1. Plot out your week ahead of time. I am sure you have heard this before, but it is worth repeating. You need to know ahead of time when you will have time to cook and when you will need to pick up food. Schedule meals like you would appointments, or get a meal planning calendar. My favorite comes from momagenda.com. You can plot out your family’s activities for the week, and then plan your meals around them. This will allow you to see when you need to pick up food on your way home from soccer practice, what nights you need to reheat leftovers, and what nights you actually have time to cook.

2. Find a free day (Sunday’s work best for most people) and prep ahead of time. You can make multiple meals at once, then freeze them. Cook up some ground turkey and use it all week for pasta sauces, burgers and tacos. Bake a dozen chicken breasts and shred them into soups, stews, tacos, salads or to top a baked sweet potato. Slice up a bunch of sweet potatoes, spray them with olive oil and bake for 20 minute at 425 degrees. You can sprinkle with a little sea salt, then portion them out into individual baggies for a healthy, tasty snack on the go.

3. Wash and do most of the prep work as you unpack the groceries. I wash fruits as soon as I take them out of the bag, and put them in a fruit bowl on the counter. Then I know I always have fresh fruit that is ready to grab as I’m walking out the door. If you’re anything like me, the idea of taking the extra time in the morning to wash that apple will actually prevent me from taking it as a healthy, “on-the-go” snack. Wash and cut up veggies right away and store them in Tupperware. Portion out chicken or fish into individual freezer bags with marinade. Put nuts into snack baggies or purchase the individual portion packs. Taking these little extra steps will guarantee you have a fridge full of grab and go options, and will actually save you time in the long run.

4. Pack a cooler with food for the day to keep in the car – grab a sandwich or a snack in between meetings, errands or appointments. Some of those coolers can keep food cool for up to 12 hours! Add some ice, a large bottle of water, some fruit, a pack of nuts, a hard boiled egg or string cheese, maybe a tupperware of some leftovers, or even a salad! Just don’t eat while you’re driving! Before you hop out to pick up the dry cleaning, reach in and grab that hardboiled egg and maybe a handful of grapes. After your 12:00 meeting, scarf down half a sandwich before you drive off to meet your customer. Finish the other half and maybe a few cucumber slices when you’re done. Snack on some nuts while you’re waiting for your kids to come out of school or while you’re watching them at soccer practice. The key to being a Balanced Mom is to take advantage of stolen moments.

5. Leftovers are your friends! Make a big batch of quinoa or brown rice – have it for lunch or as a hot breakfast cereal. Add leftover salmon to a salad or chicken in a sandwich. Crumble leftover turkey meatloaf over pasta.

6. Steamer Bags! The easiest way to cook vegetables. Yes, fresh is better or steamed in a pot, but this magazine is called Balanced Mom not Super Mom! Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. You can purchase frozen vegetables already in steamer bags, or purchase special bags to put fresh vegetables in.

7. Find grocery stores with salad bars. One of the easiest things to do for dinner is to stop in on your way home from work, make a salad and grab a roasted chicken or some cooked salmon to have as an entree.

8. Eat when your kids eat! For you moms who always skip breakfast: While you’re pouring cereal for the kids, spread some almond butter on a slice of toast, or microwave some of that oatmeal you prepared on Sunday (and froze in those individual baggies). At the very least, have a hard-boiled egg or some yogurt while you’re putting on your make-up.

9. Unpack that Crock pot your in-laws gave you as a wedding gift. Remember, “Set it and Forget it!”

10. If you must do fast food, pick places that have healthy options such as salads, turkey burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches. Even Wendy’s now serves sweet potatoes.

Jamie Leff

Health & Nutrition
Jamie is a registered dietician who hopes to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
Read more about Jamie here
.