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Do you struggle with making dinner because there is never enough time in the evenings? Or maybe you are great in the kitchen but meals seem to take forever to make.
I am raising my hand because I have a hard time making healthy meals for my kids in 30 minutes or less. Today’s guest, Melissa Rifkin, is going to help us out with all of that. If you need ideas for nutritious meals that take no time to make or need help with making balanced meals for your family, you definitely want to tune into this episode.
In this episode we talk about:
- Melissa’s new mom experiences and her adjustment to being a new mom
- Dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety, delegating and managing time as a new mom
- Breaking her silence about postpartum depression and getting therapy
- The common struggles that moms have with preparing healthy meals
- How to create fast simple meals
- The importance of staying hydrated
- Some of the basics of creating balanced meals
- Ideas for meals that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less
- How to prepare desserts that you won’t feel guilty about
About Melissa Rifkin
Melissa Rifkin is a New York City dietitian who specializes in weight management and bariatrics.
She is the owner of Melissa Rifkin Nutrition and the Dietitian behind Confessionofadietitian on Instagram.
Melissa has over 10 years of experience in the nutrition field and loves to showcase unique and easy recipes on her Instagram and help clients around the world improve their nutrition to help them meet their health and wellness goals!
Connect with Melissa
- Blog/Website URL: https://melissarifkinnutrition.com/
- Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/confessionofadietitian
- Instagram URL: https://www.instagram.com/confessionofadietitian/
- Pinterest URL: https://www.pinterest.com/confessionofadietitian/
- Freebie: https://melissarifkinnutrition.com/resources-and-handouts/
Links mentioned in this episode
- Rise app
- Post on Instagram about postpartum depression
- Pur Advanced Faucet Filtration System
- The Pioneer Woman
- The Food Network
- What the Health – documentary
- Instagram – @confessionofadietitian
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Transcript of this episode
Real Happy Mom 0:00
Hey there, Mom, are you juggling all the things in motherhood for managing your time getting healthy meals on the table, to being a present wife, all while making yourself a priority without feeling guilty? I get it. It’s overwhelming. And guess what? The fact that you need support doesn’t make you a bad mom. And that’s why I created the Real Happy Mom podcast. I’m Tony in a wife and a mom of two little boys as well as a general dentist and reservists in the Navy. And I get it when it comes to being a busy working mom. On the Real Happy Mom podcast. I’ll interview real moms to chat about real life experiences. These guests and experts will help you to navigate the motherhood journey by providing answers to your questions and concerns surrounding raising children, self care time management and so much more. So if you’re ready to get rid of the overwhelm, and start being a Real Happy Mom, join me inside the rat Happy Mom podcast.
Real Happy Mom 0:52
Hey there, welcome back to another episode of the Real Happy Mom podcast you are tuning into episode number 105. This podcast episode is with Miss Melissa wrapkin. And if this name sounds familiar, you probably have seen her on Instagram. At Confessions of a dietitian she has a very big Instagram account where she shares a lot of really beautiful meals and healthy meals. That will definitely make your life so much easier. Now on this podcast episode, she is talking to us about her experiences as a new mom, how she is dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety, and delegating some things as a new mom. She is really awesome because she broke her silence about this and is also talking about how she’s able to cope with it. And she shares with us moms that it’s okay to not be okay. She also shares with some of the common struggles that moms have with preparing healthy meals. In that she teaches us some fast and easy ways to create some simple meals that are healthy and nourishing for us and our kids. She also talks about the importance of staying hydrated and some of the basics of creating balanced meals. And then we talk about a few ideas for meals that we can create in 30 minutes or less, as well as some tasty desserts that we won’t feel so guilty about. So this is something that is definitely interesting to you, you want to make sure you stay tuned and make sure that you sign up for the Real Happy Mom challenge that is happening on November 16. This is coming up very soon. If you’re listening to this in real time, this five day challenge is something that you don’t want to miss out on. Because there will be some real prizes in is definitely going to help you to make time for yourself and give you some time back that you have lost either to some time wasters or just being busy with being busy. Now make sure you go over to Happy Mom comm slash challenge to go ahead and sign up for that you will not be disappointed if you do that. Now, let’s go ahead and jump into this week’s episode with Melissa ripken. Welcome to the podcast. Melissa, I am happy to have you. Thanks
for having me. Excited to be here.
Real Happy Mom 3:03
Yes, I am thrilled to have you. And I am so pumped to have you on and talk to you today. And before we get into our topic I just wanted to do to share a little bit about you and your business.
Okay, so I I’ve been a dietitian for about 14 years. I own and run Melissa Rifkin nutrition. And I also run the Instagram handle Confessions of a dietitian, which I’ve been doing since about 2012. And on there, I showcase brands and foods that I admire and like and support. And I’m delving into the baby products and possibly baby food. So that’s exciting. And I just tried to really show my life there and try to be as real as possible and be supportive to not only people who are trying to lose weight gain weight on or improve dietary habits, but now I’m becoming a supportive mom. So that’s exciting. I also am on maternity leave but I work in Bariatrics at Montefiore Medical Center and I also manage and work on a nutrition app called rise where clients are asked to upload pictures of the foods they eat and then I comment on portion size and plating and tried to provide feedback via pictures.
Real Happy Mom 4:40
awesome awesome and you brought up a couple of things when the baby products because you’re a new mommy. So I just wanted to check on you on that. How have you been doing and how’s it been going with this new experiences a new mom
you know i
i think been thinking about this a lot, um, my son is actually five months today. And it’s, it’s overwhelming to just be a new mom. And then to be a mom and a pandemic, is just on a different level, you know, you, as a mom, you’re like, a lion, making sure your cub is safe. And couple that with a pandemic, it’s like, you know, you’re always on guard, it’s, it’s, it’s a little intense, and anxiety provoking. But, um, you know, I try to keep us safe as possible, I tried to reach out and connect with other moms. And I go on walks with moms, you know, wearing masks and whatnot, but we make it happen. I zoom a lot with some moms to try to keep things normal.
Real Happy Mom 5:57
And just connect, because it feels a little lonely at times, and isolating, um, given the circumstances, absolutely, no, I totally get it because it’s already hard. And you kind of feel like an island already, when you’re home with a new baby. And then on top of that, like having to deal with quarantine and all that. It’s, it’s challenging. So I was just wondering, what has been the most challenging I know, the the pandemic has been, of course, an extra added layer of challenges. But what have you found it’s been like, the most challenging is a new mom.
Probably dealing with postpartum depression, post postpartum anxiety, just trying to take care of myself while taking care of another human being. And trying to be, you know, the best that I can be. So my son, you know, thrives. So that, I think would be, you know, the most important thing and also making sure that he’s fed well, and nourished and loved. And, you know, so a lot of things as a mom, we have to take care of it’s, you know, it’s no longer about you. Yes, for sure.
Real Happy Mom 7:13
And I always joke, like when I see like moms who are pregnant, I’m like, you better soak this all in, because once the baby gets here is not about you anymore. So yes. So it’s totally true.
And, you know, just making sure you’re trying to keep order as much as possible. I’m also a working mom from home. So I’m running my business. And finding the time and delegating to people too, is difficult. Sometimes, it’s just easier to do it yourself. But if you’re running a business, you need to step away. And so I’m, I’m working on being able to delegate more.
Real Happy Mom 7:52
Yes, definitely. And I think that’s like a big thing as moms in general, like, we just have to not feel like we have to do everything but let it go. So definitely in business, but I was just curious, you brought up um, postpartum depression. Is there anything that you’re doing right now that you’re using to kind of help with making this easier for you? Because I think that is one thing that as moms we don’t talk enough about, and we kind of deal with it alone in silence instead of getting help and talking about it. But I was just curious, like, what you are doing, just to see if it can help any other moms that are listening.
So I even posted the other day on that it’s okay to break your silence. I think as a mom, we feel like we have to be the super woman and super Mama. And once I kind of opened up and said hey, listen, like I’m dealing with postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression. A lot of other people stepped forward and said, I am too and I’m and I’m hesitant to get help. So I was not hesitant to get help. And I have a therapist, and that’s been helpful, but I did end up needing to go on medication. Just to get me over the hump. So I’m not you know, I think for mothers, it’s okay to not be okay. Um, but you know, you’re a mom. So it’s important that you take care of your own headspace so you can be, you know, everything to your child. Yeah, and your family, you know, so your husband too. I think we often forget about our husbands sometimes when we’re so like, baby business, you know, it’s like, I’m still a wife. So trying to juggle at all is really difficult.
Real Happy Mom 9:52
Yes. Well, thank you so much for being open and honest about that. Because like I said, that’s one thing that we don’t talk a lot about. And I remember talking to One of my friends and it kind of scared me because I think I dealt with it, but I didn’t know what I was dealing with. So I don’t really remember like anything in particular. But when I hear mom’s talking, I’m like, Oh, yeah, maybe I was going through a little bit of that. And I remember talking to one of my friends, and she was telling me like, Oh, I think I’m going through postpartum depression. I was like, No, no, like, what’s going on? Because she’s like, the most happy go lucky person I ever have met. And so it was just, you know, strange, because I was like, wait a minute, like, aren’t you? But it is a lot more common, then? I think. And, and I wish that we would talk about it more, just because like I said, I hate to see mom suffering in silence. So kudos to you for getting help. And I’m so glad that she said that. Yeah. I wasn’t afraid to go out and get it. Because, yes, we definitely can’t
do this by ourselves. No, no, and especially given these, you know, uncertain times. So yeah, I to any woman who’s going through or having a newborn and going through some struggles, like, please, you can either reach out to me or, you know, reach out to a professional. It’s important to not hide. Yes, totally with winter coming.
Real Happy Mom 11:13
Oh, yes, yes, definitely. During that time. Now, Melissa, I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about some food because you are the expert when it comes to that. And as a dietitian, I’m sure you have helped many, many people when it comes to meal planning, and you know, just doing better about their eating habits. So I was wondering, what are some of the common struggles that you see people have when it comes to preparing healthy meals?
Time is probably time and, and exposure or inexperience in the kitchen. So what helps is doing simple meals that are fast. And one of my biggest recommendations is like a sheet pan dinner, where you essentially just throw veggies, throw your protein on a sheet pan and cook. That’s easy. And today, you know, I we live in a good good world, because today thing you know, we have technology and things that help. So the instant pot, you know, we made chicken the other night, it was cooked in like five to seven minutes, which is just unbelievably fast. And it’s just having these little tools around, or the airfryer, things like that, that change up your meals on, but give different textures and flavoring. And really do simplify your life.
Real Happy Mom 12:49
Yes, definitely. Because I got an airfryer Actually, it’s funny, I bought the airfryer from my mom for Christmas. And then I was like, hey, well, I got to the best Christmas present. And she’s like, what is it and I was like airfryer she was like, I’ve had one of those for months. And I was so disappointed because I knew I was gonna have like the best daughter, you know, award because I gave her the airfryer first, but she already had it. So thank goodness she did because I kept it. And I didn’t have one. And oh, I love that thing I think is amazing. It is really, really awesome.
Yeah, no, I
Real Happy Mom 13:22
agree. And I know you mentioned the instapot. And that’s the next tool that I want to add is the instapot because I have seen some recipes that are absolutely amazing. They’re like, yeah, it took me like 10 minutes. I’m like, wait a minute, why am I sleeping in the kitchen, when I could be using that. And I seen how easy it is with an airfryer. And I feel like instapot is like the next level. When it comes to preparing foods.
It really it’s so easy. And you know, you can prepare your foods in advance like chop vegetables and cut up proteins and even marinate them ahead of time. But another thing that really is important is staying hydrated. I know a lot of moms, and I’ll speak on behalf of moms and myself frankly, because in the beginning when my son was born, there’s so much going on, I forgot to drink water. So I wanted to just you know, tap into that where, you know, if you are breastfeeding, it’s difficult to make adequate milk if you’re not well hydrated. So I what I have is the pure advanced faucet filtration system. And it’s a convenient and easy solution for filtering your water. Which is important because we don’t really think about water per se. But just even making a cup of coffee. It’s important because it can take out contaminants when you’re eating and drinking. You have to also consider your child because If you are breastfeeding, they’re ingesting everything you’re eating, essentially. Um, so that’s important. Even, you know, when you’re having coffee, tea soups, or even with the holidays coming up, it’s, you know, you want to get rid of the chemicals, the chlorine that can be found, or the taste change that can be found from water.
Real Happy Mom 15:23
Yes, and I’m glad that you brought that up. Because that’s one thing that’s often overlooked, is water in. I know, for me, I’m really trying to stay away from like bottled water and stick with like different filtration systems. So I’m so glad that you brought that up too, just so that we can reduce some of the waste without the bottle water. Because it, like, if you really look at like how many bottles he go through in a day, it’s a lot and then times that by all the people in the world, it can get pretty crazy with a lot of plastics. So I love that you brought up that filtration system.
Yeah, and, you know, we often like, don’t realize what could be in our water like lead and chlorine and right microbial cysts and mercury. So it is something to consider. And we’re home more often than ever, right? So it is, you know, something I loved having and I would recommend it
Real Happy Mom 16:16
to anyone who’s at home. And it needs clean. Beautiful water. Yes, yes. Now, when we were talking about some of the challenges when it comes to making healthy meals, he brought up time and experience in the kitchen. So I’m just wondering, what are some of the basics we should know when we are trying to prepare these balanced meals?
Well, I like less ingredients. Less is more. And I’m really into using herbs and and other seasonings that aren’t, you know, sodium, heavy and chemically Laden. Um, so for us, it’s just a lean protein veggies, and then maybe a side of rice or pasta. We’re really into chickpea pasta. And just having a balanced meal is really important to us on but you don’t need experience to make a meal. If you can follow a recipe, then you’re golden. For me, I don’t like to read lengthy recipes, either or instructions. Just like let’s get to the point.
Which is why I like less ingredients.
So just really simplifying with garlic and onion and herbs. I think you can make a tasty meal.
Real Happy Mom 17:50
Yeah, I I’m sitting here like yes, yes, yes. Cuz I joke a lot that like I don’t follow directions very, like always my recipes, Melissa, like all the time. And so I’m just like, if it’s a recipe that literally like has like four steps and like, yeah, no more than 10 ingredients. I’m good. anything more than that. Tony is gonna mess it up. So I love that you brought that up, because it is really difficult when you are trying to do those big elaborate recipes, and it can get kind of intimidating, honestly. So I love the Pioneer Woman and I love watching her cook. But when I go to pull up her recipes, those recipes are redonkulous like I can’t do. No,
I also I love the Pioneer Woman too. I love the Food Network. But, um, agreed it’s more like a fantasy when I watch those shows. And then when I actually get in the kitchen, I’m like, Oh my gosh, there’s and I also like don’t want to make a mess. You know? So it’s like super easy. You ingredients. And it tastes good. I feel like I scored.
Real Happy Mom 18:56
Yes, yes, I am totally with you on that one. Now, for our busy moms that don’t have a lot of time for meal prep, and they know that we need like something that’s simple. And not a lot of ingredients. What are some things that we can pay to prepare in like 30 minutes or less when we’re trying to set up for a balanced meal during the week?
Well, I’m I’m a really big fan of taco night. So you could take any protein, it could be fish or chicken or even beef. And all you do is you can marinate your protein however you would like maybe Yeah, no. Usually we do like a Worcestershire sauce and maybe a little ketchup or our garlic onions and then on cut up tomatoes, you could you know cook onions on the side and basically make a taco take a you know a whole whole grain or corn taco would put some avocado in there. On You can Use instead of using sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt if you’d like. Or you can use sour cream, whichever you prefer. But that’s fun and easy to assemble. I’m also really big into Turkey chili, or you can use beef too, of course, I would just get the leaner cuts of the beef and soups are going to become more popular right now, right because of the season. Those two are probably my goat my favorites, as well as I also like, you know, a big salad with some protein on top and just make sure it’s colorful, but just you know, make sure when you have your vegetables, you’re cleaning them appropriately. And that’s why the pure advanced faucet filtration system works so well because you can ensure that everything is cleaned with quality water. Um, and I’m also you know, I know we’re talking about food right now, but I’m also really into desserts. If you look at my feed, I really like sweets, I thought it was just like a thing during my pregnancy, but it’s not. It’s still happening. So and I also like the you know, the simple ingredients for sweets, so that’s important too.
Real Happy Mom 21:25
Yes, we are definitely important. We need that. First. I am with you on that one. Now, I just have a couple questions for you. So I know you gave us some tacos, Turkey, chili, soup, salad, and of course some desserts that we can put together pretty quickly. But I’m just wondering if there is someone who is vegetarian? Who doesn’t do the meats? What are some good substitutes for those proteins that you mentioned? Beans, of course,
tofu. You could do tempeh a tofu, I think it’s really are beans I would use. Um, if they were vegan, vegetarian, they could use a cheese or some type of dairy. And, you know, butternut squash soup with you know, maybe make it with Greek yogurt would be a great, you know, side dish or meal for any vegans or vegetarians. If you’re you can even make a taco with tofu. I don’t know if that’s. We do eggs a lot too.
Real Happy Mom 22:30
That is awesome. Yes. Because I was just thinking because I’ll be honest with you most was I watched this documentary. It changed my life. But now I watch what the health
Yeah, I gave up meat for like a year after watching that.
Real Happy Mom 22:47
Oh my gosh. Yeah. I mean, it’s only been a few months here to me. I honestly like it. I thought I was gonna miss it. But it was only one time that I was really mad because I was like, I really want some chick fil a right now. Like, yeah, I’ll be alright if I don’t have it. But I was just trying to get some other substitutes, because I know there are some other listeners that do the vegetarian or vegan meal. So I’m glad that you brought up those options too, as well. Now, really? Oh, and nut butters? Yeah, I need I
yeah, I can’t believe I left that out. Um, I literally have peanut butter and like every, every single recipe of mine. So
Real Happy Mom 23:27
I’m obsessed. Yes. And you mentioned the desserts too. And on your Instagram feed, which we’ll talk about, there are some really delicious looking things on there. So I’m glad that she mentioned that because I feel a lot of times when we’re thinking about healthy meals, we think that we can’t do the sweets, because it’s not healthy. But I know that you probably have a different thought on that. So you can definitely share that with us and how we can eat desserts in that feel bad about it.
Yeah, I mean, I hate to ever feel you know, feeling guilty after you eat something is it’s not a good feeling. Um, and food should be enjoyed its food to nourish us, right? So it’s almost like, you eat something and then you feel like you should be punished. Like with that guilt. But it I hate, you know, I think we should remove that feeling and know that anything we eat as long as it’s in moderation is not going to have a big impact on our overall health. With that being said, I tried to find desserts that have less ingredients of course, in quality and in in quality ingredients. So I’ve been making lately these little peanut butter cups, and I keep changing the the formula. So it’s like peanut butter, a little bit of chocolate and frozen berries. That’s the latest and it’s so good. Easy, it takes 10 minutes to put together and then you freeze them, keep them in the freezer and I really enjoy them on, you know, after dinner or even a treat because I’m going to get protein, I get a little fruit. And then I’ve got that chocolate for that sweet kick with the berries, of course. Um, so that’s a favorite of mine. When we get off the phone, I’m taking a stab at flour, less peanut butter chocolate chip blondies. So this actually might be really helpful for your listeners. Um, I’ve been asked to avoid soy and dairy from my pediatrician. And I think a lot of breastfeeding moms deal with this, too. Now reading labels is like my, I was always reading labels, but now I’m really reading. And I’m trying to play with different recipes. So I can cater to helping other moms who are also dealing with us.
Real Happy Mom 26:02
Yes, I am looking forward to those blondies that sounds amazing. Yeah. Because I love me some Blondie, so Okay, I like that. And I like the idea of the peanut butter chocolate in the berries. That definitely sounds like something that not just I can enjoy, but the family can enjoy too. And I don’t feel bad that it has like all the sugar because my kids are low sugar beans, man, they love sugar. They love chocolate. And I’m trying to like slow that down. So I like that alternative.
Yeah, and getting kids involved in the kitchen too. It’s such a simple recipe is fun. So they can learn how to assemble ingredients and recipes. And it’s nice to start from a young age, because we all learn from somewhere right? How to Cook. So it’s a great thing. It’s a nice bonding experience.
Real Happy Mom 26:52
Yes, for sure. Now, Melissa, before we sign off, I just wanted you to give us some words of encouragement or a motivational quote, first real happy moms.
So I, I thought it was appropriate. To quote, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s on having it all, because I think as a mom, you know, we’re ingrained to think we have to have it all. And so she said, You can’t have it all, all at once, who man or woman has it all, all at once, over my life span, I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time, things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you hope the other person when that person needs it. And, you know, I I this really resonated with me because as a working mom, it’s hard to juggle it all and have it all but there are you know, different times in your life when you’re gonna have one aspect is going to be really on and the other is going to be really off but with the support of whether it be a partner family or you know, friend, you know, you can get through it.
Real Happy Mom 28:08
Yes, I love it. Love, love. Love that one. That was good. I’m gonna add that one to my collection. Now, Melissa, if we want to connect with you online, especially on Instagram, tell us where we can find you. Sure, yeah.
So find me on Instagram at Confessions of a dietitian, our you can find me at Melissa Rifkin nutrition calm. please reach out. Especially if you’re looking for nutrition advice, or I’m just wasting improve health overall and any mom advice?
Real Happy Mom 28:46
Yes, definitely. And I’ll be sure to include all of those links in the show notes. So, Melissa, thank you. Thank you for sharing. This was awesome. And I truly enjoyed having you today.
I loved being here. Thank you so much.
Real Happy Mom 29:00
Now that does it for this episode of the Happy Mom podcast to find the links in the show notes. Make sure you head over to Real Happy Mom comm slash 105. There, you’ll find all the links that were mentioned, as well as links to Melissa’s Instagram account that you definitely want to check out and a blog post as well as a transcript of this episode. Now, if you would like to leave me a message about this episode, whether it’s something that you would like to hear on the podcast or you just want to tell me how much you love this episode, scroll down and you will see a little box that says that you can leave me a message there. Go ahead send me that message over. And we can either feature it here on the podcast or like so you can just show me some love If you’ve enjoyed this episode. Also, if you really have enjoyed this episode and you enjoy listen to Real Happy Mom podcast, do me a favor and rate and subscribe, or you can take a screenshot of you listening to this episode and put it on your Insta stories. This helps me out more than you know and gets the message out to other moms that this is a great podcast to listen to. Now, make sure you tune into next week for another full episode, where I’ll be talking to Sloane in she is someone who I love, love, love, and I’m sure that you’re going to love her too because she is giving us some really good encouragement as well as that kick in the pants that we need to go ahead and pursue our dreams and our goals. So make sure you tune into next week for another episode. Take care and lots of love.