Being a mom of little children is utterly exhausting. Feeding my family is definitely one of the hardest things I’m asked to do each day.
Cooking and preparing meals doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t particularly love to cook, and both of my boys love to help in the kitchen. I’m a big advocate of allowing your kids in the kitchen with you and we like to prepare, eat and clean up meals together, but sometimes it all seems like too much.
My boys eat a lot of food. They are four and two years old and the minute we get up from the table they are already asking me for snacks. They complain most of the day of being just.so.hungry. And it doesn’t matter what I feed them or how much I feed them, two minutes later they want more!
By the time dinner rolls around, we’ve already cleared almost a dozen eggs, half a pack of kale, three avocados, a pound of bacon, half a loaf of bread, two pints of raspberries, two cups of almonds, eight fig bars, a quart of milk, a quart or more of water, four cups of yogurt, two apples, a handful of raisins, four tablespoons of almond butter, and a bag of baby carrots. Oh and the huge pot of popcorn covered in coconut oil.
Come to think of it, I didn’t even tell you what we had for lunch or about the protein smoothie I made full of everything but the kitchen sink. Once dinner time does arrive, I just don’t feel like cooking. I want to throw in the towel and order out or hit the drive through.
But I don’t.
Feeding my children real, whole foods is exhausting. I won’t lie a single bit to you. It’s far more work pulling together wholesome meals and snacks than it is to open a bag of potato chips, oreo cookies, or something else altogether too good for it’s own good! I grow weary of it all, and too often I’ve been tempted to just give up already!
But I don’t.
Why? Because I’ve learned the secret to stay out of that fast food line.
First, I know my WHY behind feeding my family healthy foods.
Second, I make a menu plan each week that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Third, I also have a running list of snack ideas nearby to job my brain and help me to keep good wholesome ingredients on hand.
When I make a plan for what we’ll eat each day, I stay out of the fast food line. Half the battle for me is knowing what to make.
When every single time my kid asks me for a snack, or another meal time rolls around, and I have to think about what we’re having, I’m exhausted before I start.
Dinner time is my weakest, most exhausted time of day, which brings me to the fourth thing I’ve learned …
Be tenacious and stubborn. Choose to just say no to taking the easy route.
I plan simple meals that usually only take 20-30 minutes to prepare. I don’t try to make elaborate meals in this season of life. If I know the meal I’ve chosen takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish, I know it’s way easier to push through than to find my kids’ shoes, find my purse, load and strap each child into their five point harnesses, call for my husband to stop working early so we can beat the traffic, and drive to a fast food place to grab something quick.
How quick was it really? By the time, we get there I could have made dinner and been halfway through clean up!
Not to mention, it completely defeats all the hard work I put in all.day.long. of feeding my kids healthy, wholesome meals and snacks.
It feels easier to hit the drive thru, but is it really?
Knowing my why behind what I do is what makes this real food home go round. Then it’s making a plan and being willing to just be down right stubborn about giving into the “comfort and ease.”
At the beginning of September, we decided to get really tenacious with our eating out habit. This is when I started sharing our weekly menu plan more faithfully right here on the blog. I have to say, I’ve been IMPRESSED by God’s total grace on our efforts. Yes, we’ve still gone out to eat from time to time, but it’s been far, far less.
With that, here is our menu plan for this week!
My husband and I are heading to Revive ’15 toward the end of this week, so the menu plan is quite short. I’m so ready for the break!
Monday – Leftovers
Tuesday – Apple, Quinoa, and Kale Salad
Wednesday – Leftovers
What about you? How do you stay out of the fast food line? What’s on your menu this week?
By the way, if you’re looking for meals that only take 20 minutes or less, check out my eBook, 20 Minutes Meals: Giving Weary Chefs Grace While Keeping Families Healthy.
I challenged myself to create an entire month’s worth of meals that contain only real, whole food ingredients and can be on my table in 20 minutes or less. I succeeded and now you can reap the benefits! Click here to learn more!