182. Nourishing yourself as a mom (11 strategies to help you feed yourself well + often)

If you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, consider how you meet your basic needs – especially how you feed yourself well and often. In this episode, I share my journey to ensure I am nourishing myself, as a busy mom. Including 11 different strategies that I find help to make sure I am meeting this basic need. 



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In this episode

  • The culture we grow up in shapes how we feed ourselves
  • The modern cultural expectations for moms and food 
  • Hyperfixation on health
  • Going gluten and dairy free, the whole30, heartburn
  • How staying nourished helps us maintain our window of tolerance 
  • 11 strategies that have helped me ensure I feed myself well and often 


All the fun links you might enjoy 

The baby who always cried (our story with esophagitis)

Mindful eating for moms (Interview with Jessica Penner)

Teaching our kids a healthy relationship with food (+ our own food guilt and body shame) with Andrea Heyman

Understanding how the window of tolerance impacts your stress in motherhood

What I ate during the whole30

11 things I learned from doing the whole30 diet challenge

A simple hack to make meal planning easy

Four simple habits that make my momlife easier (vegetables for breakfast)

Paying attention to how you feel (body and emotional awareness) – (the mind-body connection)

The almond mom (GMA article)


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 Welcome to another episode of The Simple on purpose Podcast. I’m so happy you’re here. At simple on purpose, my aim is to help you simplify your home, your heart and your life so that you can show up for your life on purpose.

And today we’re going to be talking about a topic in the meeting your needs series, we’re actually going to talk about the topic that started the whole series. Because what happened was, I shared a story on Instagram about eating lunch, and how much we need to make sure that we as moms are eating real food, too. And there was a conversation on Instagram that came from that, and it made me realize there’s so much more I want to say.

So I laugh at myself, because I was going to do one simple episode on lunch. One simple podcast episode on lunch, and it turned into this series about meeting your needs, which really, it just might be a factor of the overwhelm, I feel when I come to do the podcast because I take it too far. I can’t do that, you know, seven minute quick episode, I feel like there’s just way too much to consider. I just want to talk about all the things.

So we’ve talked about in this series, meeting our needs, what we’ve learned to believe around meeting our needs. Working through the process of becoming aware, validating, and handling our approach to meeting our needs. We’ve talked about self care and self love, and looking at what our moms have taught us and what mums of other generations have experienced. And I let you know that as we were moving forward, I will be sharing my own stories with some of the basic needs that I have learned to meet in myself. So I’m going to be sharing one of those stories today. And it’s not to tell you how you should do it. This isn’t about telling you how and what to eat. But this can just be a story where there’s framework around how we can meet our needs and different approaches, and some ideas on how you might want to do that if this is a need, that you are focusing on in your own life.

So today we’re talking about feeding ourselves, or as I like to call it nourishing ourselves. And for me, food was a big crash course in realizing that I had physical needs I had to pay attention to there’s been a process as I’ve gone through the decades of motherhood, where I just realized how detached I have been from my body. And so realizing my physical needs was actually a challenge for me. And I think this is a really important subject to talk about as well, because for me, at least, it took me way too long to realize how much food impacted how I feel. And therefore how I acted. And you know, some days, I still need that reminder, like, Hey, girl, you’re hungry.

And as with any topic around meeting our needs, I think it helps to consider the culture that we grew up in, and the culture that we currently live in. And when I think about what I saw around food growing up, it was not a healthy version of feeding oneself. And part of that is just really the era that I grew up in it was the 80s and 80s baby. And convenience was really becoming this new novel thing. And as long as that label said low fat, or local people thought they were making healthy decisions.

So we had foods that came from cans and boxes and powders. They were frozen, they were fortified with fiber and nutrients they were made to make our lives easier. So our moms who are now going out into the workforce, they could have confidence that they’re feeding their families quickly and healthily.

One of the side effects of moms heading back to work in this era, which I’m not disparaging by any means is that the kids were home alone, feeding themselves and not downplaying that either. That’s a life skill. But I know for me as a kid, as a young teen in this era, I was opening up the cupboards for these convenient foods, and I was feeling up on packaged brownies, frozen pizzas. And sometimes I would get really culinary and I would heat up a tortilla with some salsa and melt cheese on top. And I felt like you know, little resident chef when I did that.

Of course, as a teenager. I didn’t realize it then. But how did I feel physically in those years of my life, I felt pretty crappy. As kids our parents are our models of living.

So when we consider how our own parents approached food, we might see the model that was handed down to us. I look at my dad and he has in still eats a diet that is mainly either fried foods or things coated in sugar. It’s just really a phenomenon. It’s a phenomenon, that he’s still upright and functioning. And and then I’ve looked at my mom and I’m pretty sure she lived off tea and toast. And I know I’ve shared some of her story in the past episodes about what our moms would say about self care and self love. And I look back at a woman who was just spread so thin with so many things that eating or at least eating what we now know are healthy foods. It wasn’t a priority, I think she really thought she was eating healthy. If there was yogurt that said lo cal and she was eating the whole wheat toast, she thought she was good. I think that was really a matter of doing the best with what you had in that in that time,

I look into how I handled food as a teen and early adult years on, I know, I didn’t eat enough again, like my mom not out of intention, for more of a lack of intention. I was eating what was easy, what was there what I liked, which wasn’t much, I also decided to be the world’s worst vegetarian. So I was also anemic, that to get iron shots, I really look back. And I see that I felt slow and tired, I was getting headaches all the time. I did not feel great, did not feel great.

I wouldn’t have ever reflected on what I learned about food growing up until I had kids on my own until I had a family to feed. And now I was face to face with everything I’d learned and adopted and was doing on autopilot into the modern culture that we live in now, where there’s a lot of judgment and rules around food and how moms should be feeding their kids.

And so as I brought my own beliefs and structures and foundations into this current culture, I was kind of angry. To contrast these two, I was kind of angry at what I had learned versus what every the science is telling us and we need to be doing. I was a little bit upset that no one all those years was making me these three healthy colorful meals a day or teaching me how to make foods or teaching me how food impacted my body. I was upset that I had lived years not eating well and was sad that it had impacted my body. And it impacted my whole approach to how I was eating now. And all of this anger, it wasn’t placed on my parents. It wasn’t really placed on anyone, I don’t think my parents were negligent. And we just really didn’t have the information we have now. But I think that that’s just a normal processing emotion to go through when you realize, oh, there is another way. And maybe the old way doesn’t actually work anymore. Maybe there’s a new way.

As I was reflecting on what I had learned, I also realized that I had developed some emotional eating. In my early years of motherhood. I found myself overwhelmed with motherhood stressed out. And when those kids went down for a nap time, it was like me my time. And I would just like to be energetically drawn to the pantry open up the door wasn’t even thinking, rummaging through it for whatever was probably chocolate. And that was just something I looked forward to it was a reward. It was something I could control. I was definitely doing it for how I would feel. And eventually it hit me oh,

this is emotional eating. I had never understood it before because food was just something you had to do. If you want to hear more about that. Listen to the episode I did with Jessica Penner on mindful eating. I’ll link that in the show notes.

So I was holding up in my motherhood, all that I had learned about food growing up and what I had now. And what do you notice in the culture of food? Now what do you notice is the messaging that you get around food, in your own culture, whether it’s locally within your own peer groups, your own town, your own country, what do you notice? Because I think there can be a lot of shame and pressure really heaped onto moms to feed our families in a certain way. And food is something that comes up for many women that I work with, whether they want to start meal planning feel like they should start it, that it has to look a certain way, whether they want to eat healthy, or make sure their kids eat healthier, whether they want to lose weight, but they shouldn’t say they want to lose weight. And you know, none of these are inherently bad things. But they are a lot of rules that our culture has put on us that we feel pressured to adhere to.

Let’s also consider the culture that many of us grew up in as young women in in the 90s and early 2000s. The diet culture, our bodies are tied to our value as a person. So if we can control our food, we control our bodies. So in some weird way, food almost determines our value. Food is more than food to women of a certain age. And it can all just feel like a big swirl of confusion when we bring in everything we’ve learned the diet culture and this modern culture. And we’re wrestling with how to be healthy and relaxed with food with our kids without handing down all the rules and the shame and the bad habits even that we worked really hard in our own lives to avoid.

So we are wrestling this modern food culture around us. And we can see it in the Pinterest boards in the stock pictures of women smiling into their salads in the bento boxes on Instagram. None of these are inherently bad things, but I think we start to formulate the messages from all of this that moms should batch cook their lunch should be colorful salads and Mason jars like that’s what a mom should eat. Mom should eat paleo or keto or gluten free or vegan. Moms should skip breakfast and have a green juice. Moms should make sure they’re packing their kids colorful lunches, feeding their kids a variety of foods that they should brought in their kids palates. Mums should meal plans and price match and buy organic moms should make sure that the family is always having meals up fresh produce and healthy protein organic foods. And make sure to model all these healthy eating habits for your kid. So it isn’t necessarily the diet culture like we had in the 90s. But it can be this hyper focus on health, that can feel both necessary. I mean, science tells us a lot about how important food is. But it can also feel suffocating and overwhelming and confusing.

And there’s just so many different ways to make sure we’re doing the right thing. At its most extreme, I came across a term for it at its most extreme, there’s a term called almond mom, which is a term for a mom who hands down unhealthy beliefs around food or disordered eating onto their child, you know, the mom who says to eat less to just drink water, and they’re not really hungry, who’s actually not teaching their kid to listen to their body, and what their body wants, but almost to deny it and only feed it certain things at certain times in certain ways.

And it’s just so hard, right? We’re just learning how to balance everything coming at us. And then we have to think about how we’re doing it for ourselves. And we’re just so busy, that it’s really hard to give this much attention. And this is how I felt. Anyways, it was just really hard for my attention to be drawn inward to how I was feeding myself as a mom, I’m going to share a few experiences I had that really started to grow my awareness around food, because it is something that genuinely happened over years and years. I think the first intro into it was having my first baby and starting to research how to feed him. And I really wanted to do it the right way, of course. So I was reading a lot about natural homemade foods I was spending astronomical amounts on avocado was like just blowing the budget on avocados. I was from that I was researching how to actually make dinners of real foods so that we could eat together all these healthy foods.

And that gave me another realization that oh, there’s so many skills and approaches to eating and cooking for people that I never had learned about. Around that same time, I was part of a really early multilevel marketing program that actually had a good teaching around low glycemic foods that was a real core foundation of their approach was to eat low glycemic. So I started to use that approach. And that was actually a helpful framework that brought some freedom to me in how I was approaching food.

And then our second baby came along and she had reflux. So one of the solutions we tried was to go gluten and dairy free. And that was a big eye opener for me. I suddenly was struck with how we were eating so much on autopilot so much by default, and how much energy and planning and intention It was now taking me to make sure we were eating all the things that she needed to eat without the gluten and dairy being an option for us. A few years later, I would do the whole 30 Do you remember the whole 30 No one really talks about it anymore. But that was eating for 30 days, eating pretty much just vegetables, meat, fruit, oil and nuts. So eliminating gluten, dairy, I think beans were eliminated sugars sois eliminating a lot of stuff. And in that process that was a hard month, I’ll share a link about that in the show notes of them the experience I had.

But from that I was able to actually wean myself off off of my daily waffles, which had become something I was eating like two times a day, I was making all these waffles all the time. And just living off waffles Oh my gosh. And I also was able to really pay attention to the mindless snacking that I had started doing. And I was also trying new foods, which was a really interesting experience because I had realized I really narrow down my palate. And so trying new foods really pushed me out of my comfort zone. And to make those part of my routine and make them easy. That was a really helpful lesson.

And then moving on from that I had an experience where I was having chronic heartburn debilitating heartburn, I could barely eat anything. For for almost a year I was having this heartburn and what I had learned going through different doctors and trying different medications with set I had given myself an ulcer, from having so much Advil. I was taking Advil every day for headaches. And the interesting thing is once I cut out gluten from my diet up just along the process for whatever reason I don’t even remember it was probably because I read that it would help with my thyroid autoimmune condition. My headaches had stopped, but the damage was done. So now I had to suffer with healing this ulcer and bringing back foods into my life. But I also had this really big fear about everything I was eating and if it was gonna give me heartburn and how it was going to make me feel and that was a really hard time for me to be eating, I

just was skeptical of every food. And I talk more about that, in an episode I have done on the mind body connection, I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. It’s a pretty old one. So it’s in the archives, you might not have come across it.

Ultimately, I think I was really learning the importance of feeding myself through the awareness of how food was making me feel. There were a lot of years where I was living off protein bars and coffee for a lot of the days and motherhood. I can remember one evening, and I was at the side of the tub and the kids were in the tub. And I was just so cranky, so stressed out.

And it hit me kind of like someone put a sign up in front of my space that said, You are hungry. And I was like, Oh, I’m hungry. And it hit me that I’m cranky, because I’m hungry. And I’m hungry. Because I haven’t eaten anything that really nourishes me, I had probably gone through dinner and just eaten like some random noodles and whatever, like scraps were on the kid’s plates or whatever, or didn’t even sit down to eat fully. And this is why I talk about how meeting our needs really helps us have more capacity, because this aha moment for me was pointing something out. It’s not that my kids were horrible, or that I was a bad mom who couldn’t handle bath times. There is stress in my body, but it wasn’t necessarily from them. Or for me it was from well, it is from me, I’m hungry. My body felt under resourced and was trying to get my attention. That was a big wake up call for me.

So you know, along with the other work I was doing, because what is a mom, if not a chronic self help journey in cute boots, reading all the self help books. And I’m going to add one more thing into my life. I started a practice. And this practice was checking in with myself. So I was now checking in with myself more often throughout the day.

And asking myself this question, what do I need right now. Because somewhere along the line, I stopped listening, I stopped listening to what I needed. I just ate more protein bars, had another coffee and carried on and it was not working. I was not feeling well.

I thought I could live off coffee because that’s what I see other moms on Instagram doing. They’re talking about, oh, today’s just coffee and doughnuts. Well, if it works for them, it could work for me, but I am not other moms on Instagram. And my body cannot handle that amount of caffeine, at least not without a rebellion of anxiety and stomach pain.

I thought I could just eat how I liked how I always have without thought. But then again, my body, it was asking for new ways. And I wasn’t paying attention to all the signs it was giving me along the way. And all of this impacted who I was as a mom, it impacted my capacity to feel like I could handle things. on a physical level, I felt under resourced, and like I was being given the wrong fuel for the job.

So feeling stressed out was really easy because I did not feel the capacity to deal with things. I started to think a lot about the word nourishment. And I was getting really deep in my thoughts about how for us as moms, we really have this role of nourishment of nourishing the growth of another human being in metaphorical and physical ways. But that we also have to Mother ourselves in ways that our own mothers couldn’t. This is the journey of being a woman is learning how to Mother yourself. And part of that is nourishing ourselves.

When I look over the years, I think I have really gone from one end of the spectrum to the other like eating on autopilot all the carbs, all the easy things to being hyper fixated on the healthiest options, the right options, trying to heal my body or change my thyroid autoimmune condition to the latest fad, like what’s going to solve my problem. I feel like now I’m at a point where I can land in the middle. And then you know, I probably lean more towards the hyper healthy side. Because I do believe that it is important understand that food can be a foundation, it can be a medicine, but also food can also just be fun. And sometimes it can just be convenient.

I want to wrap up with 10 shifts that have helped me make sure I nourish myself. So these are 10 ideas for you if you’re looking for ways to nourish yourself and some of them might be for you. And you know some of them you might want to try. The first one is eating vegetables for breakfast. So I grew up on the carbs, sugary breakfast kind of mentality and that’s what I craved every morning. That’s what I thought I needed this what I thought my body needed. As I went through the whole 30 though I couldn’t eat those things. So I learned how to eat vegetables for breakfast. And this is now one of those habits that I’m so grateful I have established I’m going to link a post in the show notes about I think it’s like four habits that have changed my life or four simple things, whatever but go check that out in the show notes if you want to hear more about vegetables for breakfast.

The next one is meal planning which I just started early out of convenience out of logistics. You may have heard me share that I had my two kids 16 months apart so the idea of taking them both to the grocery store. It kind of paralyzed me. I did not want to go grocery shopping all the time with the is too small kids. So if I could do it like once a week and get it done meal planning was how I was going to do that. Actually, today, me and my bestie, we were out in town. And we started joking how back in the day when the kids were that small, we used to park beside each other at the grocery store. If we like had to get something during the week, we’d meet at the grocery store parked by the parking lot, one of us would run in the other one would stand between the cars and just watch the babies. And then we’d come out and swap like the ultimate village right there. Like get yourself a mom friend who will stand at your car in the grocery store parking lot.

The other thing that kind of goes with meal planning is for me, I make myself a snack plan. So knowing what I have on hand and just can’t even mentally listing some ideas for me. Like I said, I’m gluten free. So just knowing what is there on hand, and preparing for it having these snacks that I like to go to Ready. So I can just reach for like waffles or pretzels or, you know, a bagel I would like to. I mean, I know there’s gluten free options, but they’re super expensive and not always that great for you. So having snacks on hand, whatever restrictions you need to meet.

limiting my coffee was really important for me, unfortunately, man, it’s so sad. I just love coffee so much. But I know I have to limit it or drink like half caffeinated.

Another strategy that’s helped is less nighttime snacking. So your girl really loves an old fashioned and a bowl of ketchup chips at the end of the night. Let’s let that just be said that there’s reasons why I don’t do that anymore. It was not going to be a good long term plan for my life. So less nighttime snacking, and I’m going to talk about going to bed earlier too as well. in later episodes, I’m going to talk about sleep. That’s one thing that can really help curb nighttime snacking, just go to bed, then you won’t eat.

Another thing that helped. And I felt like I had to get to a point where I didn’t have a lot of mental drama in my mind about will this food give me heartburn. But I really started to pay attention to how things make me feel when I eat or drink this. I feel this and just starting to pay attention to understand not how I expect it will make me feel but how it actually makes me feel. And then I can make the decision on how I want to adjust that because there is a cost benefit, right? Like I need to know how things are going to make me feel if ice cream makes me feel this way. Do I want to pay that cost?

Is this worth it to me.

Another strategy is I try not to shortchange myself, if I eat something fast or insufficient in the day, I really tried to address that sooner than later. Rather than somehow telling myself it’s a good replacement, or it will actually work.

I also make lunch a priority, I try to have leftovers on hand. And in that situation where I don’t have leftovers. I know there’s some go twos that I can usually make with what I have in the house, just kind of the staples we naturally have. Usually it’s tacos in a salad, I usually have things for tacos in the south, melting cheese on things. I’m still doing it all these years later. But with salad,

I’ve really learned that approaching food from enjoyment rather than frustration can be a lot more freeing. Like I said, I part of me felt upset about the culture of food that I learned in my upbringing. And you know what, there’s always going to be a part of me that feels like, if my mom knew then what we know now about food, she might not have gotten dementia, or at least not so early in life. So for a long time, there was a bit of a rebellious side to me where I was approaching food from frustration and fear of not wanting her health legacy, which is a lot of pressure to put on food to put on yourself every day in every meal, to be making that decision out of fear and frustration. So learning to really let that go and enjoy what food has to offer me.

Finally, something that’s really helped is I sit and eat meals, and my kids are older now. So this is genuinely easier. I make it a point to sit in eat, what do they say rest and digest? It does make a difference. And they know it can be really easy when you have younger kids for moms to not really question this we get up we start running around, we’re getting people more of this or more of that we’re cleaning up the mess they just made. There are some very hands on seasons when we’re feeding kids and trying to feed ourselves as well. So I just encourage you to keep in the back of my mind that you can start taking in the back of your mind, it’s in the back of my mind that you can start taking small steps to setting the boundaries within your family, on what others can expect from you when you are eating so that you can make sure you eat too.

All of this has been a journey to nourishing myself. And I was even going back in my Instagram over the years to to just look at the pictures, food because I was sharing a lot of pictures over the years of what I was eating and what I was thinking about. And when I was learning and having these different diet restrictions. It really hit me how many years this has been in progress. So I would say take your time with food. There’s a lot to unravel. There’s a lot to bring awareness As to there’s a lot to do. And it doesn’t have to look how everyone tells you it should look, you get to pay attention to your body to how different foods make you feel. And you get to take ownership of that and decide the decisions you want to make from that information.

And also, if you want to share a picture of you nourishing yourself, share that on Instagram, tag me in it, I would love to see, in future episodes, I’m going to be talking about sleep movement, and something that just hit me that was a big factor in me starting to take care of myself. And it doesn’t seem like it should matter. But it actually did and that is getting dressed. If you have a topic related to meeting your needs, who would like to hear I would love to hear share that with me.

And actually anything if anything that I’m saying is resonating with you if you have anything to say as part of this conversation, I would really love to hear from you on that. It helps me so much to hear back from you because really, it can feel one sided sometimes to share these episodes out into the internet and wonder where they landed. It’s like dropping a pebble and not hearing the plunk. So really, really touch base with me. message me on Instagram leave a comment on the blog, leave a show rating email me through simple Saturday’s email. Reach out to me I would love to continue the conversation. All right friends, have a great day.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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