Make it easy…ain’t nobody got time for that.

A question I get asked a lot (since I’m a dietitian, after all), is “you must eat really healthy at your house, don’t you?” My knee-jerk reaction is usually, “nope.” Until I sit back and think to myself, “well, my definition of what really health is probably not the same of what the person asking is."

You know – no processed food (ever), only organic, take two hours to cook each meal (because only healthy foods can be produced in two hours), no sugar, no desserts, no fried food, no neon food, no alcohol, make-you-live-until-you-are-102-years-old-and-put-everyone-else-to-shame-kinda-food. And then the rational side of me realizes that what they really mean is “you cook more days than not, eat real food on a daily basis, and avoid guzzling soda for breakfast.” Difficult. Hard. Perfectionism. That’s not what they meant.

So can we just stop it for a minute? The “meal prep day” social media pictures? Yes, the dietitian in me is proud of you, ok? But the mom in me is just trying to get dinner on the table before 8pm without killing a child. So allow me to give you permission to have some of these gems for dinner this week:

  1. hot dogs
  2. chicken nuggets
  3. macaroni and cheese (from a box)
  4. fish sticks
  5. whatever else you put yourself to shame for, but your entire family eats it…just fill in the blank

Add salad. Fresh fruit. Heat up some frozen french fries as appropriate. Call it dinner.  The end.

Phew. There I said it. These are staples in my house. Yes. Why? Because I’m TIRED. No these aren’t homemade and they aren’t healthy (aside from the salad and fresh fruit). But they keep me sane because my kids eat them and my mental health is just as important as my physical health. Okay…now for what we have on the nights I actually cook.

  1. Tacos made with lean ground meat. Lots of lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, black beans
  2. Slow cooker meals when it’s not over 85 degrees outside (I live in Florida, that’s not often.) This has recently been replaced, however, with the beloved Instant Pot. Cooks like a slower cooker but in a fraction of the time whether or not you started with frozen meat. Check it out, it’s a no brainer to use.
  3. Stir fry made with lots of veggies we get from our local growers (protein may include tofu, chicken, etc)
  4. Pasta (plain buttered for the picky children), add veggies and tomato sauce
  5. Homemade burgers with or without meat (think portabella mushrooms)
  6. Seafood: grilled or baked salmon, shrimp, mahi mahi
  7. Usually a pinterest inspired dish based on what was in our local farm bag for the week. This week, I made pork lettuce wraps. AMAZING.

You may be wondering about breakfast and lunch. More about my lunch saga here. For now, I’ll save breakfast for a future post.

P.S. If you’ve been looking for support, you’ve come to the right place, request to join my online support group for all things nutrition and weight loss support.

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Jillian McMullen, CSOWM, RDN, LDN