You know what it’s like to be busy. Between managing your own activities, work and social life and serving as a cheerleader, chauffeur and operations director for your children, their extracurricular activities and time with friends, you probably feel like downtime is something that exists only in fairy tales.
Having said that, you also know and understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It’s something you believe in and something you want desperately for your family. It’s something that everything else, all of life’s other activities, should revolve around.
However, it can be hard or even seem downright impossible to put that belief into action. Eating healthy can seem like an insurmountable task when it’s a challenge to even squeeze in a fast food dinner or pizza to go with your family. But, it is doable. It can even be enjoyable. Take the next few tips into account and start your family’s healthy eating makeover right away.
1. Cleanse Your Life
If eating healthy doesn’t become a top priority, or if you try to do it in small steps, it won’t happen. Instead, a cleanse is the best way to start.
Search online and take the time to read healthy eating tips. Learn about what additives should be avoided and look into the background information about why certain foods should be avoided and why others should be eaten frequently. When you surround yourself with knowledge, making healthier decisions will be easier.
Also, take the time to go through your pantry. Get rid of the foods that will drive you away from your goals – donate them to a food bank or charity to tie some goodwill into your action. Then, make a list and head to the grocery store. Pack your kitchen with healthy foods and your on-the-go decisions will be easier and healthier than ever.
2. Make it Easy: Prepare in Advance
While free time may seem like a non-existent luxury, we all have some – whether we like to admit it or not. Think of your evenings, when you are home, what do you spend your time doing. Kids homework? Working on your computer? Watching television? All of these could be time spent preparing healthy snacks in advance.
By taking the time to prepare snacks and putting them in sandwich bags, you can have a week’s worth of food ready in a matter of minutes. You’ll also make it easier to grab healthier foods that you’ve prepared when you don’t have time to make a whole meal. Preparation is critical to healthy eating habits.
3. Think on the Go
When preparing your snacks and meals in advance, think about your busy schedule. Chances are many snacks will be eaten in the car and you won’t have much time to prepare lunches. Instead, concentrate on stocking up on healthy foods that don’t require refrigeration – maybe even foods that could last a few hours in the car. Key foods: dried fruits and veggies, seeds, nuts, and even an organic bag of chips or pretzels now and then.
4. Keep it Fun
Chances are you still have time for social networking on sites like Facebook and Pinterest, even on the go. These sites are not mindless ways to pass time, they’re also great resources for eating healthy. They’re a great way to connect with others making the same lifestyle change and to find healthy, easy recipes that are delicious. Look for various smoothies, dinners that you can hide vegetables in, lean meat dishes and healthy – yes, healthy – dessert options. Save them to your account and pull them up when you’re in a jam.
5. Make it a Family Effort
One thing is for certain: eating healthy is much harder when done alone. Instead, share the recipes you find with your kids. Create a cook book that they can choose a meal from, and help prepare, each week. Look for ways to incorporate their favorites.
Make extra on the nights when you have the time to prepare, these can become lunches for your children and your husband. By getting your whole family involved, your children will learn the importance of healthy eating – even on the go – and will be more likely to make healthy decisions on their own in the future.
6. Know Before you Go
Sometimes it has to happen: a dinner out or bringing fast food in. That’s okay. It doesn’t have to ruin your new lifestyle.
Today, most restaurants post their nutritional information online. Sometimes it’s hidden – hint: look on the very bottom of the site at the small print – but it’s usually available. Plan out what you’ll eat in advance and healthy eating doesn’t have to become a chore. Look for options low in calories, saturated fat and sodium. Avoid foods with trans fats completely. Make the most of a night out, but be smart at the same time. As tempting as it is for an online restaurant order, refrain! Or if you do, make sure you order the healthier stuff that if offered.
By making a healthy lifestyle a priority from the start, it will become a habit in the long run. A busy schedule doesn’t have to be a deterrent, instead, find ways to use it to your advantage and make the most of the time you do have.
Courtney Gordner is a blogger with a passion for all things health, spirit and life related! Read more from her on her own blog, www.talkviral.com