Wednesday 26th July 2023
Hello to all my fellow exhausted parents,
If you search meal ideas for babies and toddlers online, you often come across all these beautifully organic meals with 75 steps to them and an average time of 4 hours to make, right? Cue the guilty feelings that consume me as what I serve doesn’t look like this and cue the sadness that engulfs me that I’m not like those other mums.
However, instagrammable food is not sustainable in the long term for anyone to do, let alone someone with a chronic illness. As parents and fibro warriors, we need easy and no pressure ideas for meal times. We need food that we can eat too so that we are not creating extra work for ourselves. We need ease and simplicity yet tasty and healthy food.
Even as I sit here writing this particular post, I wonder what people are going to think. Will they think I’m a bad mum serving food like this? Will they look down on me? Will they judge me?
For us chronic illness warriors though, we do what we have to do to conserve energy and pace ourselves. As a stay at home mum too I have to prepare 3 meals a day plus snacks plus activities plus breastfeeding and the list goes on. I need to remember that this is a support blog for parents battling a chronic illness and so I’ve decided to compile a list of healthy, easy, no pressure meal ideas for you to serve, even when you are in a flare.
My boy loves Rice Krispies, Cornflakes, Coco Pops and Shreddies for his breakfast with whole milk (not all at the same time, obviously!) He’s gaining calcium from the milk and often cereal are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Rice Krispies for example include Vitamin D, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Iron. It’s easy to prepare, doesn’t require too much effort and the pressure is off as you know they are getting a healthy breakfast. I am unfortunately Gluten Free to help with my IBS and my fibromyalgia so I have to have different cereal but it is still something I can prepare easily and at the same time.
Again, toast is so easy to prepare and can be personalised with butter, jam, peanut butter or cheese. Bread is an essential carbohydrate which will keep them full until snack time and is easy to get ready even if you are in a flare. I have a perching stool in the kitchen that I use whilst I wait for the toast to be done.
3. Oat pancakes
This one requires a little bit more effort but is still super easy. I discovered this recipe recently and it is so tasty. Basically, in a bowl add oats, raisins and egg and combine. Then fry like you would a pancake. You can add extra to it like nuts or bananas or just serve it as it is for an energy boosting breakfast. Charlie saw me with this and grabbed some off me one breakfast time and I was shocked that he ate it! So a definite hit for all.
Soup is such a satisfying lunch and can be made your way. Again, some effort required but basically all it is is a stock cube, water, tinned or frozen vegetables and voila! you have some healthy soup for you and your child. Serve with bread and butter for an extra treat. If you cannot manage to make your own due to pain and fatigue, tinned soup is really okay. Never be embarrassed to use a tin or a jar from time to time. Your child is fed, happy and healthy and you can conserve energy for other things like play and activities.
2. Cheese on toast
Who doesn’t love a bit of cheese on toast? Again, rich in carbohydrates and calcium, it’s sure to be a guaranteed hit with your child and for you. Easy to prepare and no pressure at all.
3. Fish fingers
Again, never be embarrassed to use frozen food either. Fish fingers provide lots of important nutrients like protein and eaten in moderation are absolutely fine to serve up for yourself and your little ones. You could make a fish finger sandwich, fish and rice or serve with anything you like. When we have a chronic illness, the oven is our friend!
1. Pasta bake
In this house, we love a good pasta bake! It does require a little effort but don’t be afraid to spread that effort out throughout the day. You could chop some vegetables up in the morning. Grate some cheese in the afternoon and cook the pasta in the evening. You can make your own sauce with passata or chopped tomatoes or have a look at some of the pasta bake jars. After cooking the pasta, pop it in the oven and off you go! Tasty carbs, veg and dairy in one meal.
2. Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese is a perfect meal for someone with a chronic illness to make. Spaghetti just needs to be cooked, mince defrosted and cooked, sauce added and a few vegetables and yum scrum for your family. I appreciate again some effort is required to drain the spaghetti and grate the cheese and this is often a job I will delegate to my husband to do, so please do ask for help if you need it.
A mild curry is super simple to make for us chronic illness warriors and will leave all the family filled up. Defrost some chicken, cook the chicken, add the sauce and a few vegetables and serve with rice. Packet microwavable rice is simple to cook and doesn’t require draining, for days when our hands are too sore to carry a colander. Also, don’t forget you can buy pre-chopped vegetables, frozen or tinned vegetables that still have the same nutritional value.
(I do appreciate the irony in the fact that I’ve used some Instagrammable stock pictures but I like to make my blog look pretty!)
Mummy the Fibro Warrior Top Tip:
1. Make meal times easy to avoid added pressure and stress to an already exhausted parent. Find foods that you all enjoy and that you can manage to prepare, even on a flare day.
If there is one takeaway I’d like you all to remember today is that meal times don’t need to be stressful. Meal times don’t need to be complicated. Meal times don’t need to be Instagrammable. I need you to know you are doing the best you can, your child/children love you just as you are and you are Mummy the Fibro Warrior.
Until next time,
P.s. what easy, no pressure meals do you prepare for your family, even when in a flare? I’d love to know in the comments below.