Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the smallest acts of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s day? While certainly there were times earlier in my life when others were gracious toward me, I don’t think I truly started appreciating it until my daughter, Eowyn, joined our family.

She’s nearly 19 months old now, but back when she was a newborn, my heart overflowed with gratitude towards the friends and family who supported us in the transition to parenthood. The baby shower gifts, the postpartum meals, and the advice from all the moms who had gone before me were invaluable.

Photo by Emily Fontes

I still remember one afternoon when my friend, Amy, came to visit. Her mere presence was a welcome blessing as I was still acclimating to being home all day with a newborn, so it was an added bonus that she looked for ways to put herself to work. My memory fails me as to whether I mentioned it to her that day, but I recall having a hard time eating much during that period. This wasn’t for lack of hunger; it seemed as soon as I sat down to eat, the baby would cry and I’d have lost the opportunity.

As it turned out, Amy had the perfect solution to my problem. I had some aging produce in the fridge (that, of course, I hadn’t had the chance to do anything with), and while we were chatting about the changes I was going through, she busied herself with peeling, cutting, and slicing. Before I knew it, a variety of vegetables had been cut into snack size pieces and stored in containers in my fridge for easy snacking.

Though it was a small gesture, it made a big impact in my daily life. Her efforts resulted in about a week’s supply of ready to eat veggies, but after I realized how helpful it was, I kept the practice going. Getting the nutrition my body needed was suddenly much easier, even if the bulk of my time was spent nursing and soothing the baby. Combined with packaged protein bars, it almost felt like I was getting a balanced diet.

Thankfully, the craziness of the newborn stage has passed, but I still try to have pre-cut produce in my fridge. It’s a simple way to ensure convenient, healthy options are available. And for me, that’s half the battle. I’ve found that if eating healthily is easy, I’ll do it; otherwise, you might spot me going through the Taco Bell drive through just because it’s cheap and quick.

Tips and Tidbits:

  • This system works best if the produce is prepped the day I bring it home from the grocery store. Otherwise, in my experience, the work never gets done.
  • Storing items such as carrots, celery, and radishes in water helps keep them from drying out and also helps remove some of the bitter flavor of these vegetables (thank you, Amy, for teaching me this!).
  • Historically, I’ve only kept prepped vegetables on hand, but it would be very easy to do this with fruit as well. Orange slices, melon cubes, and clusters of washed grapes would be excellent options.