While you were waiting for the baby to arrive you were probably eating like a pregnant lady, too. Now you have all that good-old sympathy weight. But here’s the thing: no one’s going to have sympathy for you when your pants don’t fit. It’s time to turn your dad bod into a rad bod.
Easier said than done, but pretty much every reputable weight loss expert will give you the same simple equation to make it happen: Eat less, eat healthier, and move more. You’re probably able to steal brisk 30-minute walk here and there, but the eating part is where it gets tricky.
A new baby demands convenience, so what you need are ways to eat right that are easier than driving to the nearest burger joint for a gut bomb. Here’s what you should be eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and that 2 AM feed snack.
The Morning Rush
You probably haven’t slept well. The baby may already be awake and fussing. You’ve somehow managed to shower and shave and do the other thing that starts with an s (not sex, obviously). But now the clock is ticking and you’re looking down the barrel of being late to work. Again.
The solution? Smoothies! If your blender is legit and you have fruit around, there are nearly limitless healthy smoothie options that take 5 minutes or less to make. Set out the ingredients the night before and you can cut the time down even further.
Consider this raspberry nut smoothie from Real Simple. It clocks in at 355 calories, about the same as a bagel and cream cheese and is better for you than any McGriddle. The protein, antioxidants, and minimal saturated fats make this (or one of the many other recipes) a prudent option. Chase this with coffee. So much coffee.
If you can’t be bothered to shop for (or even think about) ingredients, consider a subscription to Green Blender. They send you enough ingredients for 10 smoothies a week. All you have to do is dump and blend. You can even share them with your partner. That’s more of a statement than a suggestion.
This is where all your good intentions fall down. First off, you probably just want to get the hell out of work for a little while. That usually means a run to a fast food place or quick serve lunch trough (ooh, salad, sandwiches, and steam trays). None of them have a ton of healthy options. It’s not like that diner around the corner is serving chicken fried kale.
If you do stay in, you run the risk of being the victim of a sad desk lunch. But there is hope! The key to conquering lunch calories is prepping ahead so you can grab and go out of the fridge. And while those mason jar soups and salads may seem a bit twee, they are super convenient and easy to carry. For instance, you could make this miso noodle soup from Cooking Light quickly the night before and have something you actually look forward to at lunch.
Here are a few other tips to help make lunch hour healthier:
- Carve out an hour on Sunday to prep lunches for the week. Line em up like an assembly line.
- If you’re making sandwiches ahead of time, lay off the condiments. Instead, grab a few extra mayo and mustard packets the next time you see them and pack them so your sando doesn’t get soggy.
- Invest in mason jars. You don’t have to get fancy with the salads and soups you pack in them, but they do make early prep and transport a breeze.
- Avoid the sad desk lunch by heading to the park. You can eat and walk if the weather’s good. You can eat in the car if the weather stinks. Just get the hell away from your desk, bro.
- If you need the lunch camaraderie, save one day a week for lunch with your crew. A high-calorie lunch once a week isn’t going to kill you. And you won’t feel so deprived.
Another truly problematic time of the day. Dinner is the time you want to throw your hands up and order in. After all, who wants to cook when you have a kid catch up with and exhaustion to fight?
If you were paying attention before the kid arrived, you probably already know one solution: freezer meals. Making massive batches of healthy food and freezing for later is still an excellent option if you can spare an hour or 2 on the weekend.
Another option is looking to recipes from health-minded chefs. Jamie Oliver has built an empire on healthy, edible food and he has 37 recipes for meals under 350 calories that you’ll want to eat. Dude also has recipes that you can make faster than it takes a delivery guy to get you Kung Pao’d. Don’t believe it? Sausage gnocchi with warm kale and bean salad; pork tacos with spicy black beans and avocado green salad. Here are tons more.
And if you’re in a real pinch, you can always hit one of the many online meal box services. Here are some that will treat you right:
HelloFresh: A variety of home-delivered meal plans that you can make veg, fish, or meat centric. You still have to cook, but they’ve taken care of the shopping and recipe. Easily serves 2 and starts around 9 bucks a meal.
Freshly: If you literally only have 2-minutes to spare, choose a slate of meals from this service. They arrive cooked and frozen. All you have to do is heat them up. A 4-meal plan is around $50 a week. They currently deliver to 22 states.
Veestro: Another service that offers pre-made meals, Veestro is all about that plantlife. That makes their meals particularly good for your middle. They even have a weight loss plan to put a fine point on it. A $230 subscription will get you 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners and some juices as meal replacements. It totals 1200 calories a day, which is about the damage you do at Buffalo Wild Wings in one sitting.
The point is that you have no excuse to not be dropping weight. You have to be a good role model for that kid — you know, instead of being a roll model.