Our family is healthy not skinny. Although, truth be told, we are probably skinny by today’s standards, I want our daughter to understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. I want her to understand that we don’t eat the way we do and work out the way we do in order to be skinny… we do it to be healthy. Our health is something we don’t take for granted. Not for one second. So why wouldn’t we want to be the best versions of ourselves that we could be? That means making healthy choices in the foods we eat and making working out a priority. Granted, I no longer go to the gym as often as I did pre-baby but I do find activities that burn calories and I can do with Harper. So how do we do this? Let me share a few things that have helped us.
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
1). Meal Planning is KEY. Seriously, this is one of my biggest pieces of advice and Ryan and I have done it ever since we got married. It’s one of our Sunday activities. We sit down together (usually during H’s afternoon nap) and make a list of what we’ll have for dinner each night. After that, we come up with a grocery list that will produce those meals, along with whatever else we need for breakfasts and lunches. This helps us from buying unnecessary items (and spend more money) as well as keeps us from just randomly snacking because we know what we’re going to eat and we can stick with it.
2). Create Go-To Breakfast and Lunch Meals and always have those items on hand. By that I mean that there are probably several things you gravitate to for breakfast and lunch. Make your list and always have it those items in the fridge so if you’re thinking, “I don’t know what I should eat,” you already have a list of what you can make. For our breakfasts, it’s smoothies, scrambled eggs with cheese and peppers, oatmeal with frozen or fresh berries and a little bit of maple syrup or brown sugar, breakfast sandwiches (English muffin, cheese, ham) with some fruit on the side, yogurt with granola and berries, or, if all else fails, a bowl of Cheerios and a banana. For lunch, we love wraps so a whole-wheat tortilla filled with fresh deli meat and cheese, spinach leaves, tomato, and a little smear of laughing cow cheese. I could eat this every day. Sides- veggies and hummus, apple with peanut butter, and some string cheese.
3). Sunday Snack Prep Day. That’s right, on Sundays I always prep our snacks for the week. It sounds tedious but really it’s not. I wash and chop up the veggies (bell peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower are a few favs) and then they’re ready to go for when we want to snack. They’re great dipped in hummus as well as a homemade ranch dip. I also make my homemade Lara bars, which are snack favorites here as well. Other snack items include- sharp cheddar with a few dates, almonds, laughing cow cheese and some wheat thins, fruit, greek yogurt with honey, and homemade trail mix (peanuts, almonds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips).
4). Make Working Out a Priority. This is probably my biggest struggle (because of the time factor) but it is so important. Healthy eating alone isn’t going to keep you toned. You have to work at it and the results will make you happy. The key is finding something you actually enjoy doing that doesn’t seem like a work out. During the summer, I took Harper walking in our neighborhood almost every morning. That’s 50 pounds I was pushing up and down hills for 45 minutes. That’ll get your booty and quads toned. What else? We like road biking at the peninsula, playing tennis, yoga, workout DVDs (Jackie Warner and Jillian Michaels), and now that it’s winter, cross country skiing! If I actually get to the gym I love doing classes- step, zumba, pilates, weights. The key is just to do something and stick with it. I always think “I can spend at least half an hour for my health” and that’s the truth.
5). Keep the Junk OUT OF THE HOUSE. This may seem like a simple statement but it truly makes a difference. If you don’t buy junk food, you won’t have it around to eat. If you’re going to snack, you’re forced to make healthy choices. I’m not saying that you never get to eat “junk food” but if you do, do it moderation. Case in point, today after church we went out for breakfast and what did I have? The chicken fried steak covered in gravy with 2 eggs, 2 slices and Italian toast, home fries, and a coffee. Just writing all of that makes me laugh. I’m not even 5’2’’ yet I still managed to eat every single bite (to be fair, I didn’t eat dinner, as I’m still full). But that’s not the norm; I can’t tell you the last time I ate a meal like that. Was it delicious? Yes. Will I eat again anytime soon? Definitely not.
So there are five basic strategies to stay healthy. They work for our family. What strategies work for you?