As a busy mum of two girls, I know that parents don’t just need food. They need rocket fuel.
Not just for all the chasing, carting and carrying that has to be done, particularly when kids are little, but also because if you’re starving hungry and your blood sugar’s dropping, it’s much harder to stay patient when the children are playing up or when things don't go to plan.
There’s a good reason adults are told to put on their oxygen masks first, before they help their children if there’s an emergency on an airplane. That’s because you are in much a better position to look after your kids if you look after yourself.
With a few ingenious short-cuts, there really are ways to eat nutritiously, even when you are starved of time.
Here’s five tips to get the energy you need – fast.
Start the day with an egg
Eggs for breakfast will keep both you, and the kids, fuller for longer because they are packed with protein. So you have always have a portable snack ready-to-eat, boil half a dozen eggs on Sunday nights and keep them in the fridge to eat for whenever you feel your stomach rumbling in the week ahead.
Always have a bag of nuts or seeds in your bag
If you feel an attack of ‘hanger’ coming on (anger caused by hunger), the fastest and healthiest way to fix it is to grab a handful of nuts which are packed with vitamins, protein and good fats making them nature’s ultimate convenience food.
Superpower your snacks
When you are short of time, make the most of your meals by supercharging them. For example, sprinkle sunflower seeds on top of your yoghurt. Make an apple more filling by slicing and spreading it with peanut butter.
Swap crisps and crackers for oatcakes
Simple white carbs, like crisps and crackers can send your blood sugar soaring and then crashing back down again, leaving you feeling hungrier and sometimes grumpier than ever. Instead keep a packet of oat cakes in your bag, which are a good source of harder-to-digest, slow-release fibre and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Make super quick smoothies
It’s never been easier to make fast, nutritious smoothies thanks to the increased popularity of blenders. Originally designed as a way for gym bunnies to whip up smoothies en route to the gym, you can mix the ingredients in a lightweight plastic jug which comes with a lid so you can take it with you. Speed up the process by using frozen fruit straight from the freezer so there’s no need to add ice. Make them more filling too by adding a handful of oats.