****NEW BLOG**** Top tips on how to prepare healthy nutritious meals whilst keeping a lively toddler and newborn entertained!
****NEW BLOG**** Top tips on how to prepare healthy nutritious meals whilst keeping a lively toddler and newborn entertained!

*****NEW BLOG*****  Preparing healthy nutritious meals whilst keeping a lively toddler and new-born baby entertained is no easy task?  I am going to share with you some of my top tips on how I have found the transition from being a mother of one to becoming a mother of two…….

My top tips – I am going to share some of the realities of life behind the lense and how all of the perfect photographs/ vlogs and smiles are really achieved. A thousand selfies later, my hubby often wonders why it takes me so long to plate up the evening meal and I often have to reheat my food, it’s all about trying to create the perfect image to promote my business and the work I do.  It is often very hard to capture especially when you are trying to create this image in your kitchen which to be honest has “thee worst lighting EVER” and using an iPhone with no other fancy equipment and an arm which is simply not long enough to stretch to where you need it to be.  If only I had an entourage following my every move, record all of my vlogs and take snaps whilst I create the delicious, nutritious family meals I am so passionate about.  The reality is I have a hectic work/life where I work very hard, I have two beautiful children often squawking away as I prepare our evening meals, a hungry hubby in the back ground, not to mention my own hanger.   I get increasingly hungry with all of the breastfeeding and the gorgeous smells coming out of the kitchen, this doesn’t help with the hanger prangs.

squawking children, hungry hubby & mamma’s hunger prangs”

YES……. it can be chaotic at times, I say “at times” or if I am being completely honest, it happens to be chaotic all the FREAKING time!! Especially between 4 – 5.30pm, everything seems to be happening at this time of day.  Jack gets tired and hangry, Amelia often wakes and needs a feed immediately and my hubby Andrew arrives home from work.  In the beginning having the two children was a “REAL eye opener” the chaos seemed more manic than manageable.  I am so please to say that after nearly 3 months we are finally down with this chaos and it is a lot more manageable.   The jump from one to two children is quite a step, but I love every minute with Andrew and the kids.  Imagine what it would be like if you could eliminate some of the chaos??  So mealtimes need to be speedy and family meals need to be prepared in the time it takes my hubby to bath our toddler! This is what works best for us!!

“two children, a REAL eyeopener – chaos seemed more manic than manageable”

The recipes and dishes I create have to be prepared before our gorgeous newborn screams the place down and indeed needs yet another top up of milk and a little boobie comfort!  I have been known to breastfeed one handed whilst stirring my dishes just so that I can get our meals on the table, after all it’s the belly that keeps the backup, or so the saying goes!!!

Multi- tasking is something you have to become great at.  This is an important skill you need to adopt and master whilst in the kitchen and in fact through each and every day, it’s makes life so much easier and efficient if you get these skills down! I say this and I am sitting chuckling to myself as I am writing as its currently 4.20 in the morning, I am sitting half asleep whilst feeding Amelia and it suddenly came to me that I needed to share with you all of my top tips on how I manage to prepare nutritious meals whilst juggling the two kids (haha now that is a picture I obvs don’t actually mean juggle the two kids that wouldn’t be right but you know what I mean).

One handed, onepots are my jam – get good at being a one handed cook.  An interesting concept and you may laugh but this is now a reality.  Master and improve your ability to do things with one hand because you will find it soon becomes second nature after having children & that is not just in the kitchen!  Changing nappies, opening jars, opening wipes, eating, breastfeeding & helping our toddler put clothes on, mealtimes, the list goes on!

Omg whilst breastfeeding I have become a master at eating with one hand, I would also recommend you give up eating with a fork and knife as it has become impossible!  I opt to use a spoon to eat now unless that is it’s something I can eat like “finger food” like I would give my toddler or something Andrew can feed me.  But seriously all jokes aside one handed is often how you have to roll.  I choose recipes which are speedy & easy to make, if you are like me I have an allocated time slot which is dictated to by the patience levels of the children and their grumbling bellies who are desperately needing fed – often a limited time.

Juggling your time & trying to keep your toddler happy and assured that just because there is now a baby on the scene they will still get your attention at the times they have always had it – routine, keeping up the things you did with them (feeding evening meals, bath times, who gets them dried and pj’s on, bedtime story – all key elements) & trying to do this ALL whilst preparing an evening meal!

So to make this process that little bit less complicated and run like a well-oiled piece of machinery (or at least run that little bit smoother) here are my handy top tips.

Sling up – I often have baby Amelia in the sling, this makes life a little easier and allows you to have two-FREE hands, that’s right it gives you your hands back for a short time at least.

A bouncer – a great way to distract with fav toys, however sometimes too low, not for intuitive babies who enjoy seeing and knowing everything which is happening around them.

The pram, nothing like a good “shoggle in the pram” – a great Scottish phrase for you, the movement of the pram helps sooth the little one and it is also higher up so if your little one is nosey like my two and they want to see what’s going on, it’s a great way to keep them entertained!  They also seem to be fascinated with lighting which can keep them calm for a good 5 mins at least before you need to “shoggle” the pram again or try a new distraction with them.

“Shoggle in the pram”

High chair & fav toys – iPad, screen time to a minimum obvs but if it gives you at least 5-10mins to BREATH and time to prepare your healthy nutritious meal for the family then an episode of Peppa, Ben & Holly, Postman Pat or whatever their fav is it’s well worth, especially so you can prepare a nourishing meal which you are you able to prepare with a little help from your techno friend.   After all we are surrounded in a world where everything is digital, increased technology so why not use it?? I get it “screen time” is not the best and you should be encouraging your child to move more etc, I get that.  But we live in the real world, but I also fully understand the stresses of having a hectic work/life and I am NOT superwoman.  I am sure many parents/ambitious women understand where I am coming from here, especially whilst trying to uphold your career, raise your family and keep house.

If you have a spare time through the day when baby is napping & toddler is content & isn’t throwing a tantrum or seeking your attention try to prepare some of the foods in advance (take my latest recipe king prawn spinach & butternut squash recipe as an example) have a quick glance at recipe & method! Butternut squash needs par boiled or steamed! I opt for steamed every time as it not only locks in the nutrients and vitamins it is also super speedy and I can put squash in a steam bowl in micro and walk away!  No need to stand over a boiling pot or hob when you can spend the extra time saved with the kiddies.

Vegetables – prep in advance, peel, chop, slice, cube, grate, spiralise, however your recipe requires the vegetables to be is how you should get on and prepare them.

Lazy garlic, ginger chilli – I used to use fresh all the time but since having the children I can’t be precious about using fresh all of the time especially when I am working to a very short timeframe lol – gone are the days I could spend hours in the kitchen perfecting multiple dishes.

Freezer – can be such a handy piece of equipment – for example I use King prawns – I used frozen vegetables a lot as it helps me to eliminate food waste and cuts out on the prep time as the veg often comes ready to throw in.  I use frozen seafood like king prawns and make sure I take these out to defrost the night before!

“What if I forget I hear you ask”well there are a couple of ways to remind yourself, I am breastfeeding on demand and my energy levels and level of sleep deprivation often make remembering things quite interesting and somewhat a chore at times so I have come up with a plan of how to get past this:

  • set an alarm on your phone to flash up in the morning/evening whenever it is that you aren’t going to be too stressed or hectic – to allow you to take them out of the freezer for the next day.
  • Make a plan – Plan the evening meals you are going to have through the week, I not only use this to plan my food shop I use this and have this stuck on my fridge so I can visually see what it is we are “meant” to be having for tea that evening! Lol I say meant because that quite often changes with circumstance, how we feel and sometimes we like to switch it up a little but the point is if you have a plan for the week, you have the foods available to make the dish it keeps you on track for healthy nutritious meals and even if you change your mind it’s no big deal you have the ingredients required to make the dish the next day or whenever the hell you like! Also a great reminder for taking food out of freezer night before

This is where all of my years cooking and being creative in the kitchen have certainly helped!  If you have a soup or leftovers needing used make the best use of them, eliminate food waste and enable yourself to be that creative you by inventing or creating your own unique dishes! That’s how I roll anyway lol!

  • If you know I have an eventful week, get a food shop delivered, cuts out the stress of taking the kids to the supermarket – one screaming for boob and the other asking for a new toy or asking for chocolate with the cleverly placed confectionary wall to wall as you make your way through to the checkout or at the end of each aisle as to not only catch your eye but catch the eye of your toddler who doesn’t miss a trick! Very crafty of the food industry, it doesn’t half make a mother/parents life stressful when taking a simple trip to the shop!

To continue to follow my journey with not one tot but two look out for all of my NEW blogs.  You can also follow me on Instagram@sarahellismartin_rnutr , facebook SM Nutrition and Health CIC or check in with me on twitter@S16_Martin.  SM Nutrition & Health CIC, making nutritious, family meals quick, simple and easy to make.