Like many of us, Jacqueline Jossa is juggling raising children, working and keeping the home running. But the ex-EastEnders star – who is mum to Ella, eight, and Mia, four, with TOWIE husband Dan Osborne – says finding little ways to make life easier is key.
“Things like planning the week so the girls have everything they need, making sure we have the dinners for the week prepped – those kind of things really help,” she explains.
“But I think it can be easy to forget yourself when you’re a parent, so finding time for you is important too.” Here, Jacqueline shares her advice for a healthy work/life balance and her self-care tips…
Make a meal plan at the beginning of the week
“I love to plan out the week and choose what we’re going to eat. That way, I know I have all of the ingredients I need and can make sure everyone is fed and happy! We do have to be flexible sometimes during the week, though, if something crops up last-minute.”
Jacqueline – who has partnered with Jacob’s to create a range of recipes with chef Martyn Odell to combat food waste – also says planning the food shop helps avoid throwing out groceries in their home.
“I’ve got into the habit of checking the cupboards before doing a food shop because half the time the dry ingredients are already at the back of the shelf. Be resourceful! We also make sure we’re using up what’s in the fridge. It’s actually quite easy to look at what is in the fridge or the cupboards and use those ingredients to make quick and delicious snacks from food that otherwise might go to waste.”
Get a big water bottle - and make it pretty
Most of us struggle to drink enough water, especially when we are busy, but Jacqueline says buying a refillable bottle helps her hit her two-litre a day target.
“I’m not a huge fizzy drinks girl so water is often my go-to,” she explains.
“I find carrying a water bottle around with me really helps. You can get some really pretty bottles these days too and I feel like I’m doing my bit for the planet by refilling!”
Find a form of movement you love
“Running around after kids can be enough exercise as it is!” Jacqueline laughs. But when it comes to staying active, she says finding a form of movement you enjoy is key.
“I love going on walks with the dogs. Now the weather is a little warmer, I look forward to swimming again. My top tip would be to find something you love, because if you want to do it, you’ll make time for it. I’ve recently got into Zumba and love it, so at the moment that is a staple in my diary. I try to plan ahead and book the classes a week in advance so I know I’m committed to it.”
Eat as a family to encourage kids to try new things
Sitting down for a meal as a family is key in the Osborne household, and Jacqueline says it’s also helped her children to be more adventurous with food.
“I’m really lucky the girls are not fussy,” she says. “I love to encourage them both to try new flavours and cuisines, and eating as a family is great for that. They always want to try whatever it is I’m eating!”
Look after yourself too
It sometimes feels impossible when your to-do list is as long as your arm, but Jacqueline says it is important to find time for yourself among the chaos.
“I think this is something that every parent struggles with as we want to dedicate our free time to our children. For me, I like to build in time during the day when the kids are at school or at the weekends if they’re at a party or with family friends to indulge in a bit of ‘me time’. I think it’s important to find ways to make time for yourself when you’re busy. Fairly often I’m away with work and, although I miss the family, sometimes a night in a hotel room with a bubble bath all to yourself feels like a right treat!”
Jacob’s has launched the Less Waste, More Taste Snackademy alongside Jacqueline and chef Martyn Odell, creating recipes to show families how to be more resourceful with their leftovers – follow @jacobsofficialuk on Instagram.