Mothers who work contributing to childhood obesity?
As if mothers who work don’t have enough guilt!
This article touts mothers who work as a contributing factor to childhood obesity. The article sites that children who have working moms may be more likely to eat high calorie restaurant meals or spend less time outside…all of which are true for any family in this day and age.
Roughly 70% of mothers work outside of the home, many are single mothers and the sole family providers. Women should not be made to feel guilty about something that just isn’t an option financially. Instead, we should be looking at ways to increase the number of family meals each week and increase knowledge about planning healthful meals and snacks.
Planning Family Meals
- If you take the time to plan, you spend less time shopping or wondering what is for dinner. I try to sit down once a week and make a list of meals. Our schedule varies as my husband takes call 2 or more nights per week and might not be home to eat or to help watch the kids while I prepare the food. I try to plan very easy or “no cook” meals a few nights per week. This might include planned leftovers if I know that I have time to prepare a big pan of lasagne or something that will stretch on another night.
- Inventory your pantry to see what ingredients you already have on hand. Pasta meals, beans and rice, or even frozen low fat family size entrees can be better options than restaurant fare. You may find that all you need to purchase are fresh vegetables or lean meats to round out the meal.
- Make a list of what you will need for each dish. I keep recipe websites such as All Recipes or My Recipes bookmarked on the computer and they often give you the option to adjust serving sizes for your family or planned leftovers. These sites also provide you with an option to print a grocery list of ingredients. I also enjoy the “recipe file” options that allow you to save favorites for frequent use.
A Sample Week’s Worth of Meals
- Monday: Black Beans and Coconut Lime Rice, green salad, fruit for dessert
- Tuesday: Beef Stew (prepared in crock pot) green salad, corn bread muffins made from mix
- Wednesday: Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli
- Thursday: Chicken pot pie (use leftover chopped grilled chicken) , salad
- Frozen Cheese pizza, salad (because who really wants to cook on Friday night? Frozen pizzas are cheaper and often faster than ordering out and you can add any topping you want to a cheese pizza to make it your own.)
All of the items above can be doubled to provide leftovers for lunches or an extra dinner. I often grill extra chicken and freeze it to use later for grilled chicken salads or sandwiches if I know that I will not be able to cook during the week. Simply take out the amount you need and allow it to defrost overnight in the fridge.
Planning Healthy Snacks
- Moms, on this one you are the food gate keeper. Whatever you buy is what they will eat. Depending on the age of your children, there are many healthful snack options.
- Toddlers: Yogurt (low fat and sugar free options for children older than two.) Fresh or canned fruit or fruit snack cups packed in natural juices. We like mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, natural applesauce. Whole grain crackers in small portions. Peanut butter, wheat bread for sandwiches. Sliced cheeses or cheese sticks, pretzels, lean deli meats
- Older children: yogurt, fresh or canned fruit or fruit snack cups, dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, pretzels, cheeses, lean deli meats, hummus, peanut butter, wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, low fat soups that are filled with beans and vegetables, whole wheat or corn tortillas, canned beans, salsa, pre cut veggies and dip
- You will have to lead by example for a while–showing the kids what is available and how to combine it to satisfy their after school hunger pangs. You might even offer small treats or rewards when children eat a set number of healthier snacks each week. After a while, it will become routine and there should not be a fuss!
- Less healthful options like snack cakes, ramen noodles, chips, and cookies can still be purchased in smaller portions and less often. Explain to your children that these are “treats” that will only be purchased once a month or every two weeks and that they won’t always be on hand. You can make them available on weekends or once a week in packed lunches, because no food should ever be off limits!