As we sat around on the porch feeding our collection of toddler girls pretzel-style Goldfish Crackers, one of my friends, also the mom to a three-month-old sighed. "You know, it's true what they say about it being harder to lose weight with your second child. I see it because it's hard to eat healthily when you always have junk food around to feed your toddler."
And I gulped. But I don't want to have a hard time losing weight with this kid! It was so easy with Nora.
I went home and told Paul. He smiled. "Then find a way to not feed our toddler junk food."
That's the secret! How do I be prepared so that when I'm swamped trying to learn how to take care of a boy I can still be feeding my oldest healthy foods instead of not-so-healthy foods that I'll be tempted to eat?
Modern medicine has blessed us with an ability to generally have a rough idea of when a child will pop out. So as long as I have a date range to work with, I can get started.
Use That Freezer
While it's recommended to stock your freezer with straight-to-the-oven foods so you have easy access to meals after you have a child, it's rare that people recommend also stocking that space with fast snacks that can be pulled out and defrosted while running to a doctor's appointment or that can be microwaved for a quick snack. Here are some ideas of freezer-friendly snacks:
- Homemade popsicle makers are smaller than store-bought popsicles. Freeze orange juice or another juice in the popsicle molds.
- Whole grain waffles or pancakes are really easy to defrost, toast, or microwave. I make my own pancakes because I can make them the perfect size for little hands. And don't think they have to be served with syrup. Add fruit during the cooking process for extra flavor and nutrition.
- Sliced bread is a cinch. I slice my homemade bread before I put it in the freezer. It toasts in minutes. We are now able to feed Nora honey. So a slight drizzle of that makes a great snack!
Stock the Fridge and Pantry with Easy Fruit
We are a big dried-fruit family. We often have a variety of raisins, cranberries, cherries, and apricots. But there's also individual containers of fresh fruit like mandarin oranges. These are especially a hit with the toddlers in our neighborhood. Think you'll eat more than that? Get a can and immediately divide it into smaller bowls when you open it. There's always other quick fruits. Blueberries don't need to be peeled or washed. Bananas are rarely a problem with picky eaters. And now you can even find pre-sliced apples in individual packages.
Veggies Can Be Easy, Too
Baby carrots may soon become a staple in our house. I still like to buy the big ones and cut them into long, thin, strips. They are fun even for adults to eat. But when my life becomes more hectic, I'll just be grateful for baby carrots for a while. You can now find pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower, too. Have a bottle of dip or dressing handy in case you don't have time to make it from scratch.
Choose Your "Crunchies" Wisely
While you might not feel comfortable feeding your kid nuts, there are individual packages of nuts available that you can open and start eating on yourself before you open your child's less healthy snack and are tempted to eat it. In addition, I've also been known to open a package of trail mix, eat the nuts out, and feed the fruit part to Nora. This eliminates all temptation of snacking on something less healthy. Cereal is still a great option for toddlers. Cherrios and Chex rank high in our household for breakfast and any other time of the day. It may solve the craving us second-time-around-moms need, too.