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Nutrition Essentials for Mum Life

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Nutrition Essentials for Mum Life

There are never enough hours in the day, you never get to the bottom of the to do list. The thought of making anytime for you exhausts you and before you blink the weeks start all over again! Lets not heap more guilt, food rules and shame to the list. Lets look at the energy you’re already expending and make the most of that. I don’t need you to put yourself before all the kids or your partner but I need you to get a seat at the priority table and your health in 3 months, 12 months, 5 years will be grateful you have!

Cooking more when you’re already cooking. 
This seems like a simple one, but the amount of mums I speak with that will prepare food for the kids' lunches or play dates and not prepare anything for themselves is surprising. You are already there; you are already cooking or preparing so just make one more. In terms of dinners a practical way to go about this is set an extra plate at the table or use your containers as the first served. Pop them in the fridge before you and the family even eat. Lunch tomorrow is sorted! 
Some ideas:
Here is our veggie bake recipe, simple and easy and keeps in the fridge well. 
Here is a quinoa recipe, handy to have this one on hand for some high quality carbohydrates for meals. 

Quality carbohydrates versus no carbohydrates and a guilty hungry binge.
Your body’s best fuel for energy is carbohydrates. Unfortunately carbohydrates is a very large category of macronutrient and encompasses more simple, inferior quality, highly processed foods and high quality, fibre filled and energy abundant foods. For a lot of our society, there is a stigma attached to carbohydrates and there is a judgement of them doing harm to us. However, in the reactive and sometimes emotional state this judgement does nothing but serve us with a whack of guilt when we eat them. What I suggest is being proactive in your use of carbohydrates rather than try to justify that chocolate or biscuit because you’re so desperate for energy by 3:30pm your brain is in survival mode. When I say proactive, I mean make them a part of breakfast and lunch. Allow yourself to eat good quality carbohydrates and you find that the carbs in the cheap seats at 3:30pm will be a thing of the past. As simple as it sounds, a multigrain sandwich may be the only switch you need to make or adding a small wrap to your salad. Check out the hunger scale for more specifics but if we can use your body and hunger levels as a guide and proactively nourish with quality carbohydrates we will hopefully ease some of that reactive late afternoon eating and a lot of guilt along with it. The other thing that happens with carbs is once the flood gates open there is no stopping us, the tendency to overeat carbs is a lot higher particularly when heightened by the use of simple sugars, salt and or fat in processing. If this inability to stop may be something you encounter then this article may add value: Food Addiction.

Some ideas:
Porridge or overnight oats for breakfast 
Multigrain bread/ toast with avocado or some salad filling. 
Quinoa in salads or as an accompaniment to meals 
Whole grain wraps the size of a small dinner plate in place or large white pizza style wraps.
Sweet potato and Potato used as the carbohydrate portion of the meal, grilled on the BBQ or baked on the oven or even boiled in the skin. Just not fried in oil!

The amount of difference water can make to your life will blow you away. I want you to go out and buy yourself a ridiculously expensive water bottle, spend more than $20 on it and do it just for you! That way, you won’t leave it somewhere, you’ll prioritise having it next to you. It would surprise you how often we go to food for thirst instead of hunger. Because our food supply is so good in Australia and water is the largest component of food, we will often eat when in reality we’re thirsty. The old calculation in the undergrad days was 35ml per kg of body weight. While calculations are nice, I prefer to recommend going off what your body is telling you these days, what is the colour of your urine? A pale straw colour is our aim. Are you finding it hard to concentrate? Do you have headaches? Does your skin feel dry? It’s the simplest, most effective change you can make. Even if it’s only 500ml per day more, that’s an amazing 180+ litres of water you will drink over the next year when compared to last. 
More practical ideas:
Add a slice of lemon, lime, orange to your water bottle (only use it once, they get a bit yucky on round 2).
Tea can be a good inclusion for fluid but not a like for like replacement, make sure you include both and go herbal if you’re in doubt. 
Milk and or dairy alternatives such as soy, oat or almond milks contain very high percentages of water so their inclusion in your fluid intake is important, particularly as we want to be vigilant of your calcium intake.

A few questions to ponder throughout your next busy day in mum life:
Have you prepared for yourself the way you would prepare for your partner or kids? (remember near enough is close enough for this one, I just need you to be somewhere on the priority list not the only one).
Are there some good quality carbs in the fridge or pantry or am I going without until the Tim Tams call?
Have I got my water bottle with me? 
How much water have I drunk today? 
Am I thirsty or hungry?

Yours in Health
Sean Cornish

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