10 food & weight loss tips for busy mums

From planning ahead to making friends with the freezer, these 10 tips will help on your weight loss journey.
Published 30 August, 2017

With a newborn or little ones to look after, it can be tough to keep on top healthy habits, like eating well and finding time to exercise. With nappies to change, play dates to organise and endless loads of laundry, it's easy for healthy behaviours to take a backseat.

The good news is, healthy eating doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. The WW programme is designed to fit into your busy life, and the app makes everything quick and easy.

Here are 10 top tips to get you started:

1. Track your meals

Use your phone to its full capacity by downloading the WW app. Research shows that people who keep a food diary are more likely to achieve a healthy weight than those who don’t write down what they eat. Track your food, activity and weight quickly and easily in the 4.8* rated WW app - it takes seconds but could be a major player in your weight loss journey.

2. Improve your eating habits

Once you’ve mastered tracking, turn your attention to your eating habits. Do you grab whatever’s handy as you rush out the door? Do you find yourself finishing what’s left on your child’s plate? You need a plan. Start by devising a weekly menu plan using WW recipes and meal ideas. Once you’ve built up three or four weeks’ worth of meal plans, combine them into a monthly menu calendar to make your planning going forward even easier.

3. Make a shopping list

Once you've got a plan in place, make a shopping list for your weekly food shop - and stick to it! This can help avoid the temptation of treats as you walk past the bakery or when you're queuing for the till. And if you need to check the Points® values of foods, the barcode scanner in the app makes it really easy - and your kids can have fun with it too!

4. Start your day the right way

Make sure you have breakfast. In the morning rush when you’re getting the kids ready for school and prepping for your day ahead, it may be that you’re not having breakfast until much later, if at all! It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason, and having a good breakfast can impact your food choices for the rest of the day. Check out some of our favourite breakfast recipes. Reach for something rich in protein, like a Greek yogurt, which will keep you fuller for longer and less likely to indulge in a large lunch.

5. Keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand

Being a mum is tiring! Early starts and sleep interruptions can make it difficult to maintain your energy levels. If keeping regular mealtimes is proving too hard, try to keep a supply of healthy snacks in the fridge and pantry which you can grab when you’re hungry. Chopped fresh fruit, a small tin of canned tuna, or plain fat-free yoghurt can help tide you over until you have some time and energy to make a proper meal for yourself.

Remember, while breastfeeding, your body needs extra nutrients and energy, so it's normal to feel hungrier and you will need to eat more than usual. Find out how many Points to add to your daily Budget when nursing

6. Avoid sugary snacks

Try not to reach for refined carbohydrate snacks that are loaded with added sugar like sweet, high-calorie biscuits and chocolate. Even though they might deliver a quick sugar hit, your energy will soon drop again and you’ll find yourself lagging. Regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, try to choose foods that are nutrient dense like leafy green veggies, some dairy foods and wholegrains like brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wholegrain cereals and multigrain breads. This will help meet your daily vitamin and mineral requirements and top up your energy levels during this new phase of your life.

7. The freezer is your friend

Batch cooking can be a great time saver. Think of them as your personal ready meals – they’re cheap, healthy and can serve the whole family! Get started with these 6 brilliant batch cooking recipes, from casserole to lasagne.

8. Eat as a family

If your children are picky eaters it can be tempting to simply eat what they’re having for ease, rather than cook up two separate meals. However, there are always ways to combine the healthy choices you’re making for yourself whilst feeding the family as well. For example, a homemade tomato sauce will have a fraction of the sugar found in pre-made and it gives you the option to add extra veg. Swap the beef for a lighter turkey mince and chances are the kids won’t even notice the change in their bolognese!

9. Stay hydrated

Make sure you’re getting enough water. Staying hydrated has multiple benefits, ranging from keeping your skin plump and blemish free to helping ensure you don’t overeat at meals. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and track how much you’re drinking. If you struggle with plain water, consider putting a few pieces of lemon or mint in for a refreshing flavour.

If you're breastfeeding, it's important to maintain your fluid intake. Breast milk is largely fluid which means you will need to consume more fluid to keep up with demand. Some new mums find it helpful to have a glass of water during each breastfeed to help meet any increased needs.

10. Eat mindfully

When you’re wrangling with the demands of a newborn baby or your kids’ multiple pick-ups and drop-offs after school, dinner can be hard to sort in a timely manner. Sometimes it's just easier to get a takeaway! The key is to make smart choices. Consider the cuisine: Mediterranean meals tend to be full of fresh vegetables and favour seafood and lighter grilled meats, while Chinese cuisine can have lots of hidden sugars in the sauce.