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How a Working Mom Gets Healthy Plant-Based Meals on the Table (In 10 Minutes)

Written by Ali Donahue
How a Working Mom Gets Healthy Plant-Based Meals on the Table (In 10 Minutes)

Quick Take

As the first employee at MamaSezz, I've always believed in our products. I mean, what's not to love about healthy comfort foods?! (Not to mention a whole food plant-based diet reversed my grandmother's heart disease and inspired my own plant-based journey). But it wasn't until I became a mother last year that I discovered just how time and sanity–saving our ready-made meals truly are.

Finding time to meal prep while working from home and caring for my (very busy) 15-month-old daughter just isn't always feasible or desirable. So busy parents, if you're reading this and dreading the dinnertime frenzy that awaits after your workday, I want to share my real life experience of how MamaSezz makes eating healthy plant-based meals stress-free for my family. And here's the real kicker: my toddler loves the food!

Before We Begin: Fill Your Fridge with Kid-Friendly Plant-Based Staples

Make mealtime easy with ready-made plant-based meals your kids will love! No cooking necessary – all dishes arrive to your door fresh and ready to heat and eat! Order the MamaSezz MOM Bundle now

Practicing What I Preach: A Tapped Out Mom's Story

Before my husband and I had our daughter, I cooked us dinner most nights of the week...and I loved it! I would try all kinds of plant-based recipes and make up my own when I was feeling adventurous. But after Winnie was born, mealtime got a little more hectic, especially once she started eating solid foods. I tried to make healthy meals from scratch after my workday ended but what my family wound up with was a so-so dinner and a frazzled not-so-fun mom. And as my aunt Meg (MamaSezz co-founder) often says, "if mama's not happy, nobody's happy."

My husband is awesome but cooking is not his forte and I wanted to feed my family meals we could all feel good about, rather than resort to store-bought convenient foods he might pick up when in charge of dinner.

Then a lightbulb went off.

Here I am working for MamaSezz, a food company that makes and delivers healthy and fresh delicious plant-based meals for busy people who don't have the time or energy to cook. Why am I – a busy person who doesn't have the time or energy to cook – not taking advantage?! Sure, I'd gotten plenty of MamaSezz deliveries over my four year tenure at this company, but it was a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have. Suddenly, it felt very needed.

So in March of 2020, right around the time my daughter started having solid foods on a more frequent basis, and I was tired of being a cranky mama at dinnertime, we began getting weekly MamaSezz deliveries. Our whole mealtime dynamic changed for the better.

Winnie box

With MamaSezz, there is no post-work meal prep frenzy. In fact, it gave me some of the joy of mealtime back again. Instead, when I emerge from my home office I can play with Winnie while our MamaSezz heats up, or I can focus on making a big beautiful salad (instead of a whole meal) to serve alongside our MamaSezz. 

And because each MamaSezz dish has at least three servings, it's perfect for our family of three. Not to mention they're all low or no-salt and contain zero refined sugar making them ideal for beginner eaters.

7 Days of Feeding My Family Healthy Plant-Based Meals from MamaSezz 

Note: These are real pictures (hence the less than ideal lighting in my kitchen) of real plant-based meals (they're not always perfectly balanced), from a real mom (whose toddler's hair is often unbrushed). Thank you for understanding :)

Night 1 Menu: Creamy Broccoli Soup, Garlic Bread, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Broccoli Soup

Winnie's favorite plant-based meal from MamaSezz would probably be a tie between the Creamy Broccoli Soup and the Millie's Chili. The first night, I served Creamy Broccoli Soup with some easy air fryer garlic bread (not WFPB — my husband was craving it and we're all about progress, not perfection in my house!) and a side of leftover mashed sweet potatoes that I heated up. 

Night 2 Menu: MamaSezz Classic Cornbread, Cubed Sweet Potatoes, Cucumber Slices and Hummus

 cornbread

We bought a huge bag of sweet potatoes this week so you'll notice we're eating a lot of them throughout this menu. Told you — real mom stuff isn't always Instagram-worthy. We kept it very basic and toasted some MamaSezz Classic Cornbread then served with cubed air fryer roasted sweet potato and cucumber slices with hummus.

Also, to the parents of toddlers and new eaters: this crinkle knife makes veggies perfectly grabb-able for those sweet little hands. 

(By the way, another thing I didn't truly understand the importance of until I had Winnie: an air fryer! Highly recommend to all the busy folks out there and if you're following a WFPB diet you do not need to add oil. I roasted cubed sweet potato by tossing in garlic powder and spices of choice then adding to air fryer basket and "air frying" for 16 minutes or until slightly crispy on the outside.)

Night 3 Menu: MamaSezz Jerk Lentils with Spinach, Cubed Sweet Potatoes, Dehydrated Strawberries

Lentils

The Jerk Lentils are one of my favorite new items at MamaSezz because they're so versatile. You can add them to brown rice, toss them in a sandwich, top a salad — endless possibilities, as we say. But Winnie usually likes 'em straight up which is nice for me because that means pretty much no prep. I added a handful of finely chopped spinach as I was heating up the lentils on the stovetop then served with leftover cubed sweet potatoes and a handful of freeze-dried strawberries I got from Target (which didn't make it to the picture because she scarfed them all down first!). 

Night 4 Menu: MamaSezz Millie’s Chili, MamaSezz Classic Cornbread, and Mandarin Slices

Millie's Chili eating

It's getting cold up here in Maine so we've been on a MamaSezz Millie's Chili kick lately and the week I took these pictures I ordered two bags so you'll see we ate chili a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Here, I served chili alongside MamaSezz Classic Cornbread, chopped up this time to give the illusion of something new and different. And a few slices of mandarin on the side to satiate that budding sweet tooth. Winnie loves to scoop with her little toddler spoons these days and Mille's Chili provides some excellent practice. 

Night 5 Menu: MamaSezz Millie’s Chili, MamaSezz Classic Cornbread, and Air Fryer Roasted Carrots

 chili

I told you we ate chili a lot this week and since Winnie was loving it so much we just had it three nights in a row! This time, I served with MamaSezz Classic Cornbread again, then tossed some carrot coins in the air fryer for 10 minutes at 400 degrees and called it a day. 

Night 6 Menu: MamaSezz Millie’s Chili, MamaSezz Classic Cornbread, and Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli

winnie broccoli and chili

Yep, almost exactly the same meal again, but swapping broccoli for carrots. Why mess with a good thing? For air fryer broccoli, I just buy organic frozen broccoli florets (no chopping necessary!) and toss them in garlic powder then place in the air fryer with a little water in the bottom at 400 degrees for 6 minutes – no longer than that or they might burn!

Night 7 Menu: MamaSezz Lazy Lasagna with Kale, Leftover Air Fryer Roasted Carrots, and Blueberries

winnie lazy lasagna

Another one of Winnie girl's favorites (and mine, too!), we enjoyed MamaSezz Lazy Lasagna on the final night. I chopped up some kale to try and sneak some leafy greens into her diet (which was a success by the way – smothered in that creamy cashew sauce she didn't seem to notice!).

And not pictured because already consumed: leftover air fryer roasted carrots and blueberries!

More Family Time!

family time!

me and w

While yes, we all love the food itself, not to mention the health benefits of eating WFPB...but if I'm being honest, the best part of our MamaSezz deliveries has been the return of family time after I get off work. When I was trying to make everything from scratch, my workdays ended just in time for dinnertime chores which almost always resulted with some kind of toddler meltdown and a stressed out mom. But with MamaSezz, I've gained back two more precious hours with my girl — first the hour I would've spent prepping and cooking dinner, and then the hour after dinner before we start bedtime routine. Less cooking and fewer dishes means more play, more walks, more snuggles!

 

By Ali Brown

Ali is a mom, wife, and nutrition and lifestyle writer and editor. She has her Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

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