January Meal Planning Mama Challenge!

I took a little informal survey last month about what moms were struggling with, and so many of them listed meal prep and chores as a painful obstacle to happiness and fulfillment.

Healthy dinner prep. A familiar sight, or a relic of the past?

Add to that the resentment of time spent shopping, cooking, and cleaning up afterward, plus the guilt after relying on not-so-healthy meals because you're out of time and brain cells, and eating isn't exactly enjoyable.

That leads straight to the snack ledge at Trader Joe's where food intentions go to get fat and die. Cue guilt spiral.

Sound familiar?

I've totally been there, and I'm a freaking health coach here. My husband worked a zillion hours a week (Ok, fine, 75 plus commute) and I was a giant sleep-deprived ball of stress and carb cravings.

Then his schedule changed to be less intense and more regular (clouds part, angels sing), and we did something drastic: we started meal planning. This is particularly ironic since I create customized meal plans for clients that take hours of research. But I was winging it for us.

FAIL.

Now as soon as the kiddo goes to bed on Sunday night, we take a whopping 10 minutes to sit down and make a meal plan for the week. Then we do a quick kitchen inventory to add to the grocery list as needed. I slot each meal on our shared Google calendar, and we're set. So easy it's almost embarrassing that it took this long.

Want to give it a try? You should!

Starting Monday, January 4th, I'll post on Instagram using the hashtag #mealplanningmama with our plan for the week. Comment with your own, or post using the hashtag so we can find it. We all get accountability, plus more ideas for our own plans. Win-win!

No one is going to put you in meal planning jail if you make mistakes, mess up, or fall off the wagon.

I'll post my tips and resources along with my plans, too, so share what works for you and your family. We're in this together.

CLICK HERE to download a meal planning outline with grocery list that I've used for many clients to get you started.

Here's to a happy healthy 2016!

Want to stay in the loop?

Let's be honest - you'll forget to check back. Because mom brain is real.

Can I Eat That If I’m Pregnant?

Ok, let's talk happy hour.

By now the newness of pregnancy may be wearing off.

How much reading have you done so far? The self-declared "bible" is What to Expect When You're Expecting. The subtitle should be "Horror Stories to Keep You Up at Night Between Bathroom Trips for the Next Nine Months."

Instead they just call it "America's #1 pregnancy book." Weird choice, but whatever!

I dutifully checked a copy out from the library and started reading, but I didn't even make it through the first trimester. This from someone who sat through the entirety of Battlefield: Earth in the theater.

The conflicting information out there about what you can and can't eat during pregnancy is enough to drive someone to drink - except that's off limits, too!

...Isn't it?

DISCLAIMER! I'm not a medical professional and I'm not saying you SHOULD do anything I say, I'm just telling you what *I* did. Please do what feels comfortable for you based on your research and professional advice, and don't sue me. I'm going to have to feed a teenage boy in a decade or so and need to invest that ish. Thanks!

The most common questions I hear are about alcohol, sushi, and soft cheese.

BOOZE, yay or nay?

blanc de blanc at gloria ferrer
Women in Europe are advised to have only a few drinks a week. Our litigious society in the Land of Malpractice isn't willing to say you can drink, but there's a difference between having a glass of wine and tossing back a 40 of Mickey's in the parking lot.

My husband likes to point out that if drinking any alcohol during pregnancy was harmful, we wouldn't have the French, Italians, Irish, Austrians, Germans, Russians... You get the idea. He also took his duty of "drinking for two" very seriously during my pregnancy.

That said, alcohol smelled and tasted awful to me for most of my gestational tenure. While I wasn't opposed to drinking in principle, it didn't appeal to me in practice anyway. I'm not saying you should take it up, either, but a glass of wine your third trimester can actually help you relax according to some midwives I know.

SAY CHEESE!

boucherondin cheese
Back away from the cheese plate of CERTAIN DEATH. Right?

Listeria bacteria are actually quite common, but pregnancy's immune suppressing qualities make moms-to-be 20 times more susceptible than average to falling ill from exposure. The concern is unpasteurized varieties of cheese, usually soft and blue ones. The irony is that the U.S. outlawed most unpasteurized cheeses that aren't aged for 60 days (figuring that soaking in salt for 2 months will kill off the bacteria) in 1949.

Heat kills the bacteria which is why cold cuts are also at risk, as are coleslaw, hot dogs, and chicken. Cold cuts aren't really doing you any nutritional favors, and listeria would just be the disgusting icing on the salty meat cake. Ewww.

The cheese probably won't hurt you, but there are a lot of alternatives since most cheese isn't a risk.

SUSHI

my favorite homemade sushi roll
Mmm, sushi. First off, "sushi" actually means "vinegar rice," so there are plenty of fish-free options no matter what you decide. The recommendation to avoid uncooked fish apparently stems from concern for a particular parasite found in fish. Specifically found in freshwater fish which aren't used for sushi. This parasite is killed by flash freezing, which is required for all fish (including sushi-grade) that's served in the U.S.

So don't eat sketchy back alley sushi, whether you're pregnant or not. My bigger concern would be avoiding fish with high mercury levels like tuna.

If you're afraid of food poisoning, it's anecdotal, but I know more people who have gotten food poisoning from fast food than from sushi, and no one is saying all pregnant women should avoid Wendy's. Well, that's not true, because I am. Consider yourself warned!

CLICK HERE for my favorite resource of "Things Pregnant Women Supposedly Shouldn't Do" over at Pregnant Chicken.

Wow, that was long.

You should go take a nap.