10 years ago I started exploring the food world and digging deeper into what I ate and why. Five years ago I got married. Five months ago my wife and I had an amazing little girl named Olive. Two months ago I joined Simple Mills, and within two months from now, Olive will begin eating solid foods! Somehow, the pace of life seems to be constantly accelerating, so one thing my wife and I are exploring is how to marry our practice of "simple eating" with our new-found desire to practice “simple parenting”.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of “simple parenting”, it’s really rather simple. (I couldn’t resist). The whole idea is a back-to-basics approach...minimal screen time, outdoor time whenever possible, and plenty of books, but not a house overrun with toys. It’s about spending time together, learning together, and enjoying the simple things in life. Not being constantly lit-up by electronics that literally change the way the brain functions.
“Simple eating”, as any regular reader of this blog knows, is really the same concept, just applied to food instead of little ones. Simple eating means filling your kitchen with ingredients you can actually pronounce that are easy to cook with, and that leave you feeling full and healthy so you can get out and enjoy your day.
Five months into this parenting adventure, my wife and I have discovered a slew of great tips and tricks for marrying our love of olives with our love of Olive. Whether you have kids of your own, or a schedule that makes parenting sound like the worst idea on earth, here are our Top 10 ideas to can keep your diet simple, your body healthy, and your mind on what matters most.
- Stock up on simple snacks - you never know when a meal will get interrupted
- Focus on getting your fruits and vegetables throughout the day - not every meal can be balanced, so every weekend we spend time chopping fruits and vegetables into fridge containers to top off breakfast bowls or satiate that after-work snacking binge
- Eat together from the start - Baby Bjorn chairs make it easy for even a 2-month old to have a seat at the table, even before they can sit up on their own
- Optional hack: hang toys from the chandelier. It’s difficult to chew and smile at your baby at the same time, and it’s amazing how long a kid can stare at a dangling toy
- Feed yourself, not just your baby - you can’t be your best self OR parent if you’re not fueled with good, simple food! Whenever I sit down to feed Olive, I grab something for her, and something for me. We both need fuel for fun!
- Stock your diaper bag with baby food AND parent food - Ziplocs are great for keeping bottle parts clean or a cellphone dry, but they’re also great for holding a handful of almonds, or a spent apple core when you’re out and about
- When it comes to entertaining, don’t be ashamed to ask for help or start with a base - ask friends to bring a nice salad, and make a dessert “from scratch” using one of our delicious mixes customized with your favorite add-ins!
- Invest in a good baby food multi-cooker - so both you and your little one can eat off the same grocery list, and your baby can learn to savor the simple joys of seasonal fruits and vegetables
- We plan to use this one, and honestly, I’m excited to eat this food myself! http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/beaba-babycook-baby-food-maker/
- You have to make bottles ahead, so make your own meals ahead as well! Then you can "grab and go", and still get a good bite in before life throws you another curveball
- Make grocery visits a formal part of your routine - Kids get up early, and the grocery store is gloriously quiet at 7am, so take advantage of that time! Scheduling your grocery visit will ensure you’re never out of stock, and less healthy meals out tend to occur when you’ve let the grocery habit slip a bit
- Find a great task-sharing app for your smartphone - shared grocery and reminder lists are invaluable when life gets crazy and you and your partner are like ships passing in the night. iPhone “Reminders” can be shared via iCloud (this is what we do), or you can use Microsoft’s OneNote or an independent app like AnyList
What’s most important is just sticking with it and experimenting until you find what works best for you. It’s always fun to see what other “life hacks” people come up with to work simple eating into the day - let us know what works best for you!