5 Oct 2021

A Survival Guide for Busy Mothers

From planning ahead to prioritising self-care, here are five simple ways to instil calm and make you feel more at peace with food.

Get in touch with the way you feel

The first step to improving health – and understanding the degree to which it’s under pressure – is by acknowledging how you feel right now. In other words, paying attention to your emotions and physical being. Think about how often you feel stressed, anxious or depressed. Do you have digestive problems or are you noticing weight gain? Once you become aware of the external pressures and physiological triggers, it’s much easier to consciously choose not to accept niggling symptoms as the norm and properly commit to making changes that will improve your sense of wellbeing.

Kick the carb cycle

If you don’t eat well, you don’t feel well – it’s as simple as that. Reaching for a sugary snack or simple carbs can cause blood sugar to spike then crash, which wreaks havoc not just on your appetite but your energy levels, mood and stress levels too. Cravings (hands up: who finds themselves reaching for the biscuit tin at 4pm?) often come from blood sugar dysregulation: essentially, the more you eat foods containing sugar or refined carbohydrates (such as fizzy drinks, cakes, bread, rice or pasta), the more you’ll want of it. One way to avoid being tempted is to keep junk foods that can trigger you to overeat out of reach, out of sight or even out of the house completely (that includes buying treats for the kids and then eating them yourself). If you know you’ll be ravenous by teatime, plan a healthy snack around this time for both you and the children instead.

Practice mindfulness

When juggling many different elements – work, looking after children, managing the family diary – it’s all too easy to forget to eat a proper lunch, to stay up too late and react to situations without thinking. Lacking self-awareness and living on autopilot can lead to poor decisions and poor health. A trick to increasing self-awareness, as well as improving both physical and mental health, is by practising mindfulness and listening to your inner self. Whatever form of mindfulness you prefer (slow, gentle breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi or even mindful walks), it’s a way of anchoring yourself in the present and offers the space to reflect on your emotions and how they are reflected in your body.

One way to avoid being tempted is to keep junk foods that can trigger you to overeat out of reach, out of sight or even out of the house completely.

Plan mealtimes

One of the easiest areas to make an impactful change is in what you eat. Planning ahead is vitally important in order to avoid overeating or grazing because there’s nothing useful in the fridge. That begins with setting aside a regular time each week to plan a menu so that you are in control and reduce your mealtime stress when stepping into the kitchen to prepare lunch or dinner. Follow the basic rules – include protein into every meal and snack, add in as many vegetables as you can, and be careful with starchy carbs such as potatoes, rice and pasta that often affect energy levels and your weight. Stick to speedy yet nutritious dishes that everyone (even fussy eaters) will happily tuck into: mild curries, soups or traybakes, say. Make extra portions so there are leftovers for lunch (which means one less meal to worry about). It’s also good to plan ahead in other areas too, such as when you will exercise and take time out for yourself.

Don’t scrimp on self-care

Every waking moment may be jam-packed with household chores, ferrying children from after-school clubs to parties (and overseeing homework), followed by answering work e-mails in the evenings and it’s crucial to carve out some time for yourself. And there is nothing selfish about self-care. Whether it’s setting aside half an hour to read a book or disappearing off for a soak in a hot bath at the end of the day, it’s essential to dedicate a portion of the day just for you. Taking regular time out means you’ll feel better able to cope with the stresses and busyness of life – and, let’s face it, that benefits everyone else in the family too.


Often the knowledge of what to do doesn’t always help you to take action where there is no accountability. If you’d like to make changes in a way that fits with your unique personal challenges, click below to book a COMPLIMENTARY 30-MINUTE CALL with me.