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For any mother trying to lose weight, balancing a healthy diet while catering to the diverse tastes of her family is no small feat. The tug of war between personal weight-loss goals and ensuring everyone’s plate is to their liking is something that most of us are familiar with.
To help you reach your weight-loss goals while still delighting your family with flavoursome, nutritious dishes, we’ve prepared a list of useful tips that will make planning and preparing healthy meals a breeze!
Sticking to a healthy diet when you’re trying to lose weight is difficult enough on its own, but when you also need to feed your family, consider the household grocery budget, and keep food waste in mind… It really is a daunting task.
For busy mothers, the convenience of quick takeaways or ready-made meals is hard to resist. On top of that, you might be inclined to let your children’s preferences become the decision-makers at mealtime, especially if they’re picky eaters.
You’ve probably been there: your kid is going through a phase where they don’t want to eat anything but chicken nuggets, and it’s much easier to join in instead of making a whole separate meal for yourself.
Parenthood brings so much joy, but we all know that finding time for yourself can be an uphill battle. In those rare moments of calm, reaching for a quick but not-so-healthy snack or indulging in a late-night feast after you’ve put the kids to bed can become the norm.
It’s totally understandable that these habits, born out of your superhero-like multitasking, can play a role in your weight. And unfortunately, there’s more to the story!
Busy schedules and lack of time are connected to two big hurdles you might face when trying to lose weight. The first is stress: when you’re stressed, as parents often are, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that not only boosts appetite but is also responsible for fat storage around the belly. Studies also show that increased stress can inhibit calorie burning!
Another problem most mothers are familiar with is the lack of sleep. Not giving your body enough rest at night can wreak havoc on the hormones that tell your body when you’re hungry and when you’re full. Not having a handle on your appetite can be a big struggle when you’re trying to slim down.
Calories from unhealthy meals quickly add up, and when you combine them with these other factors, weight loss can become incredibly difficult. Meal planning can help take worrying about what your family’s next meal is going to be off your plate, so you can focus on other things! Plus, you’ll rest easy, knowing you’re doing something beneficial for yourself as well.
Here are nine practical tips that will help you get your family on board with a healthy diet and stay consistent despite your busy schedule!
1. The power of meal prepping
Having meals or ingredients prepped in advance will make it easier to avoid unhealthy, quick fixes when you’re in a rush. Try drafting a weekly meal plan featuring balanced meals and healthy snacks. This will help you stick to your grocery list, so you can avoid going to the store too often. This method is also cost-effective and, as a bonus, decreases waste.
2. Building a balanced plate
When you’re meal planning, think about creating a colourful plate rich in veggies, fruits, proteins, grains, and dairy, ensuring that your family is getting all the necessary nutrients. If you struggle with getting your kids to eat veggies, choose the veggies you already know they like or pair them with a dip they enjoy. When all else fails, you can “hide” the veggies in other dishes they already love – mixing them up and adding them to mac and cheese or creamy soups is a trusted method.
3. Smart swaps
Simple substitutions can have a big impact and can help you cut down on carbs, sugar, salt, and fat. Make sweet potato mash instead of using regular potatoes, use avocado oil instead of regular vegetable oils, switch to wholegrain bread and pasta, and go for low-fat options when it comes to dairy products. You’ll still be able to make your family’s favourite dishes, just healthier versions. Often, they might not even notice!
4. Embrace batch cooking
Batch cooking can be a lifesaver during particularly busy weeks and can help alleviate some of the stress of having to come up with and prepare healthy meals for every day of the week. A lot of food tastes better when you make big batches (like ragus or stews), and most food can be safely stored in the fridge for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months!
5. Flavour is king
Healthy food is often unfairly deemed to be boring. But you can always elevate meals with homemade condiments like yoghurt dips or add fresh herbs and spices like mint, basil, oregano, cinnamon... This not only enhances the taste but often brings additional nutritional benefits to a meal. For example, did you know that cumin isn’t just the perfect way of adding flavour to stews or chilis? It’s also a very rich source of iron and supports healthy digestion! And rosemary, which goes perfectly with roast potatoes, is full of antioxidants and helps protect your immune system!
6. Healthy snacking
A conveniently placed fruit bowl in the kitchen or a pantry stocked with nutritious snacks can make all the difference. Prepare fruit plates for your kids as snacks in between meals, with easy-to-grab cut-up fruit - and while you’re at it, have some yourself! Limit the amount of sugary beverages and treats you keep on hand and replace them with healthier options. You don’t need to eliminate sugar completely from your household, but it shouldn’t be the default option.
7. Teamwork makes the dream work
Collaborate with your partner or children, especially if they’re a bit older. Delegate tasks, from cooking to other chores, to take off some of the pressure off yourself. You might think you do things faster on your own in the kitchen, but in the long run, you’re not doing yourself and your family any favours. Engaging kids in the culinary process can be both educational and fun – and if they’re involved, they’re likely to be more motivated to eat the food you’ve prepared together.
8. Balance above all
You’ll have a hard time convincing your family to stick to a healthy diet without an occasional indulgence. So, don’t cancel family pizza night just yet! Diets that are too restrictive are much harder to stick to, and taking a break occasionally will support your progress in the long run. Plus, life – and food – are meant to be enjoyed, and it’s important to teach your kids that.
Minimise the impact of guilty pleasures with a supplement
While good dietary habits and exercise are crucial steps for reaching your weight-loss goals, there is something else that can help you stay on track when you treat yourself to your favourite carb-loaded meal – or when family pizza night rolls around: CarbBlock XXL!
Life is too short to feel guilty for letting lose once in a while and indulging your taste buds! CarbBlock XXL is here to help you minimise the impact your favourite cheat meals have on your weight-loss progress.
It features two scientifically-backed carb-blocking ingredients: brown seaweed and grape seed extract. Together, they block half the carb and fat calories from your meals, letting you enjoy the same portions with significantly fewer calories. You’ll be able to shape your waist, hips, and thighs and keep your energy levels high despite cutting calories.
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