Keeping fit and healthy can seem like an overwhelming commitment as a mom, especially when all you really want to do with your spare time is drink a warm cup of coffee and sit peacefully for five minutes.
However, there are a few simple steps we can all take to simplify our time, get fit and stay healthy – and all with your kids!
#1. Don’t forget to eat
This is one of the most common mistakes moms make. Why? Because being a mom is busy business. Before you know it, it’s 4pm and your blood sugar has plummeted.
It is very important to remember to eat throughout the day to keep your metabolism active and healthy and prevent cravings for sugary and refined carb-riddled rubbish when the late-afternoon slump hits.
#2. Meal prep! Meal prep! Meal prep!
This is another important consideration that follows on from point #1: Preparing batches of healthy meals that are readily available will ensure that you always have something healthful to eat. Batch cooking and freezing can also be your best friend when it comes to using your available time wisely and to ensure you always have a healthy meal on hand.
#3. Make food a family affair
Cooking meals that are both healthful and are enjoyed by the whole family will prevent the need to cook different meals for you and your little ones. This will reduce meal times and ensures everyone follows a healthy eating plan.
#4. Plan your weekly meals and shop for them on the weekend
This will prepare you and the family for a nourishing and balanced week ahead without the mid-week “oops, I forgot to shop and there is nothing in the fridge” scenario, which normally ends in a call to your nearest take-out joint.
#5. Don’t finish your children’s leftovers
This is a common mistake that many moms make. Either you are eating your children’s food on top of what you just ate, or you end up only eating their leftover scraps to avoid making yourself something (balanced) to eat. Neither situation is ideal.
Instead of finishing what’s on your child’s plate or in their lunchbox, salvage what you can, repackage it and keep it in the fridge for them to eat at a later stage.
This could also serve as an opportunity to educate them about not wasting food and finishing what has been prepared for them, which creates healthy eating habits and a positive attitude toward future food consumption.
#6. Always make a little extra at dinner time
This will ensure that you have a ready-made and healthful meal waiting for you in the fridge for the following day, whether you pack it for work or grab it between house chores. After all, the last thing any mom feels like doing is dirtying more kitchen goods to prepare another meal for herself. This also guarantees that you won’t skip meals or won’t grab an ‘okay-ish’ snack from the grocery aisle.
#7. Involve your children in your exercise
As a mom, there are going to be those days when you won’t have an hour or so to dedicate to yourself or to your training.
Use these days to involve your children in a bit of exercise, be it taking the dog for a walk, kicking a soccer ball around, using their jungle gym as a boot camp, or even using them to add some resistance to a full-body workout. This keeps you fit and tires them out, which is a winning formula in any mom’s book!
#8. Schedule exercise into your daily “to-do” list
Don’t view exercise as an added bonus to your day. Schedule in time for it on your to-do list or in your diary, even if it’s just for 3–5 days per week.
#9. Plan your exercise routine ahead of time
Once you’ve penciled in your workout, don’t forget to think about what you’ll actually do once you get to the gym. This way you’ll get the most value from the limited and precious time that you get as a busy mom. Plus, having a plan always makes you feel better prepared.
#10. Download a good playlist
There is nothing like music to get you moving. Once you have planned your workout, make sure you have the right beats to push you through your workout and to leave you with an extra spring in your step as you head back home.
By Giorgina Slotar, Clinical Nutritionist (Intl. Grad. Dip. Clinical Nutrition, Australia), pre- and post-natal exercise specialist (American Fitness Professionals Association), Weight Management Specialist (AFPA), and qualified personal trainer (HFPA)
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.