Keeping your head on straight in this day and age is often easier said than done.
Throw kids into the mix and chances are your definition of “balance” is carrying a car seat, a laptop and a small child without spilling your morning coffee.
Integrative physician and lifestyle blogger Alejandra Carrasco is a busy professional with two young kids, and she’s figured out a thing or two (or eight) about how to preserve her sanity!
Rule #1: Everyone Eats the Same Thing
Don’t spend extra time prepping special meals for picky eaters or those family members with restricted diets.
Dr. Carrasco recommends establishing a rule where the whole family eats the same meal, by following eating habits that are compliant with the MOST restricted eater in the household. In the case of a family member with a food sensitivity or health concerns, this rule can offer tremendous support.
Rule #2: Store Your Favorite Recipes in One Location
Sometimes a small amount initial effort can save you time in the long run. When you find a recipe that you like, format it to an index card and keep a recipe box in your kitchen, or make a note in your iPad (or other tech-y device).
By keeping all of your recipes in one place, you won’t have to hunt down bookmarked pages or emails. Dr. Carrasco also points out that by keeping your recipe box stocked, you won’t have to rack your brain for dinner ideas.
Rule #3: Plan Meals One Week or More in Advance
Once you have your recipes in hand, Dr. Carrasco suggests using them to create a system to pre-plan meals.
Whether you use a paper planner or a computerized spreadsheet, finding a system that works for you will help the week run smoothly, and take a load off your mind.
Rule #4: Invest in a Deep Freezer and Cook a LOT at Once
After you have your system and recipes down, think about investing in a deep freezer to cut down on kitchen time even further.
A deep freezer allows you to batch your meal prep and get more done in less time.
Prepare two to three times the amount you normally would and freeze the rest for later. When things get crazy, just pull out a pre-frozen meal for some stress relief.
Rule #5: Eat the Rainbow
Getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies can be a battle of epic proportions.
Dr. Carrasco recommends having your kids focus on eating their colors. Get them excited by rewarding their efforts in fun and creative ways. Speak to your kids about oranges, greens, reds and yellows, and not carrots, spinach, beets and chard.
Rule #6: Share Gratitude Every Single Day
Slowing down and remembering to express gratitude can be a quick and easy addition to your routine. Make it a habit and watch how it affects you and your family!
Rule #7: Exercise as a Family
If you’ve spent much time around kids, you know firsthand how physically demanding it can be. Use their rambunctious energy to kill two birds with one stone!
Dr. Carrasco recommends finding creative ways to involve your kids in your movement routine. Going on family walks, running around outside, or even gardening can be easy ways to get your blood pumping.
Chances are you and your kids will find this approach much more enjoyable than slaving away at the gym.
Rule #8: Early Bedtime
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve been told how important sleep is.
It might seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but don’t skimp on sleep to try to compensate!
Dr. Carrasco recommends planning for interruptions and setting your alarm to allow for nine hours.
Pick 1-2 of these suggestions and take note of how they reduce stress or add value to your family’s routine! Sometimes even the smallest changes can make life with little ones a whole lot easier.