We all know that we should park the car farther away to get more steps in and choose the stairs instead of the elevator. But what are other ways that you can fit fitness into your life … especially your busy life with kiddos? What are the little things you can do here and there to make yourself — and your family — healthier? Well, I’ve found some new creative ways to do just that. They work for me, and I’m betting they might work for you, too. So, behold my best and most creative real mom health hacks!
1. Only put stuff on your child’s plate that you can eat later as a snack.
It’s amazing what kids will leave on their plates. One meal they’ll eat everything in sight and the next they’ll hardly touch their food. Even if it’s their favorite food ever. And I don’t know about you but I hate to throw away perfectly good food or see it sit in the fridge as a leftover that still never gets eaten. As a working mom, sometimes it’s also hard to find time to eat. I remember moms saying this to me before I had kids, and I was like, really? Now that I have Gwen, I can say really. And this is much of the reason why I started doing this real mom health hack. I only put foods on Gwen’s plate that I would eat — and anything that she doesn’t eat, I save for myself to have as a snack whenever I’m hungry. As a bonus, she generally eats healthier, too, because I don’t want to eat Cheddar Bunnies all the time.
2. Collagen in your coffee.
Obviously you’re drinking coffee. And one way to make your coffee even more awesome is by adding a scoop of collagen powder to it. I wrote a whole post on Fit Bottomed Eats about why it’s awesome, but we’re talking added protein without changing the consistency or flavor of your cup of Joe. Boomsauce.
3. Do a pre-shower workout.
For days when you can’t even get out for a walk or run, let alone a full trip to the gym, this pre-shower workout is perfect. Not only is the bathroom one of the only places moms can get some quiet, but also you can work up as much of a sweat as you want because you’re about to get clean!
4. Plan your day and workout the day before.
In an ideal world, you’d have all of your healthy meals prepped and your workouts scheduled on the weekly. But mom life is not always ideal and sometimes it’s hard as heck to plan for. Which is why at the end of every day, I take a few minutes to plan out what the next day will look like — and how I can prioritize my healthy living goals. Will I go to the gym or go for a run? When will I do that (factoring in the weather for an outdoor run)? What do I need to defrost to cook dinner? Or do I need to get to something in the slow cooker early in the morning? Should I get up early to meditate because stress has been high lately? You can’t plan for everything, but making a point to prioritize your wellness can certainly help to make the next day a little healthier.
5. Make an active after-dinner ritual.
After dinner each night, my daughter and husband and I either dance to a couple of fun songs (she’s a big Justin Timberlake fan) or play our version of Follow the Leader, where we take turns running around the house with the other person following in our footsteps. Simple. Easy. Fun. And a great way to get everyone moving more.
6. Pair pizza with a veggie.
We order pizza about once a week. It’s just so nice to not have to cook (or clean pans) for one night. But, it’s not like pizza is the healthiest meal. So, our house rule is that anytime we order pizza, we must accompany it with a veggie. That can be something more involved like roasted Brussels sprouts or something totally easy like baby carrots or sugar snap peas straight out of the package.
7. Have veggies as snacks.
And while we’re talking about veggies, how about this real mom health hack to always have a veggie as a part of your snack? Instead of always reaching for crackers or a protein bar, make a point to include a good veggie with it. Oh, and this hack goes for kids too because real mom health hack numero uno.
8. Carry hair ties on your water bottle.
We all know we should drink lots of water. But an easy way to track how much water you’re drinking is to put hair ties around the top of your water bottle, and then every time you fill it back up, move a hair tie down. Set a goal as to how many refills you want to do a day, put that number of hair ties on your bottle, and see if you can move all of those hair ties down by the evening. Bonus? You always have an extra hair tie to pull your hair back with if you need it. (And you’re probably going to need it.)
9. Challenge yourself!
This isn’t as much of a “hack” as it is just good life advice. If you’re stuck in unhealthy patterns or can’t seem to get your body to change, especially as you get older (I totally get that!), find new ways to challenge yourself any way you can. It can be trying a new workout class, signing up for a 5K or even just walking a new route. You’re a mom and, dude, moms can do ANYTHING they put their minds to! So see what you can do … you just might surprise yourself. And, if you need a little help with this one, be sure to check out our upcoming 10 in 4 Challenge! (It’s seriously life-changing.)
What real mom health hack will you try? And what would you add to the list? We can always do a part two! —Jenn