It started with the overdose of Halloween candy. Then came the Thanksgiving feast. And then all the festivities between Christmas Eve and New Year. Despite all those New Year’s resolutions, are you on the verge of needing to buy bigger clothes or feel the need to go on a starvation diet? Since neither option is the optimal way to go, I’m here to share a few tips for embarking on a healthier lifestyle for you and your family in the New Year. Remember, achieving optimal health is not a sprint, but a marathon, so implementing small changes over a long period of time will result in long lasting impactful results. The last thing you want to do is take on too much at once and then by the end of the month, you are back where you started. So read the list below, and implement the one that you think is most achievable. Once that change becomes a habit (approximately 21 days), add another change until that one becomes a habit, and so on and so forth.
Without further ado, I’m happy to share my top 5 Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet tips for Getting your Family Healthier in the New Year!
- Drink more water! Our bodies are comprised of over 60% water and our bodies need to be hydrated for all processes to be efficient. If our bodies aren’t functioning as optimal as possible, our immune system is compromised and we become more susceptible to getting sick. Also, a lot of cravings are due to dehydration, so not drinking enough water can cause overeating and weight gain. How much water should you and your kids be drinking? A good busy mom’s cheat sheet metric to help you gauge is to drink ½ oz. to 1 oz. per pound of body weight. So if your child weighs 50 lbs., s/he should drink between 25-50 oz. water per day, with the range due to activity level. Did you know that all water isn’t created equal? So in addition to making sure that you are drinking enough water, you want to be drinking the ‘good’ water and not the ‘not so good’ water. Check out my video on this water experiment and prepare to be shocked!
- Eat at least 1 fruit and/or 1 vegetable per meal. Eight out of ten Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. In the New Year, try to make a conscious effort to eating the colors of the rainbow. That doesn’t mean foods like Sour Patch kids, rainbow Goldfish or Fruity Pebbles. Knowing how hard it is to keep track of how many servings of fruits and vegetables you and your family should eat in a day, try to incorporate at least 1 fruit and/or 1 vegetable with every meal and snack. Cut up your family’s favorite veggies on Sunday night, so that they are easily accessible in the refrigerator for snacking during the week. For dinner, try to fill half the plate with vegetables. Include greens like baby spinach and your family’s favorite fruits in a breakfast smoothie.
- Eat less processed foods. The most foolproof way to make sure you are eating healthier is by limiting processed foods as much as possible. Most processed foods contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients and are devoid of nutritional value. Since removing processed foods altogether is tough, when purchasing them look for health conscious brands with a simple short list of understandable ingredients. For example, potato chips should really only have 3 ingredients: Potatoes, Oil and Salt.
- Sweat more! The benefits of incorporating more physical activity into your life are profound. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, deepen your sleep, improve your mood, and boost your energy. It can relieve stress, ease depression and anxiety, and improve your memory. It can help control weight and help prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day as a general rule of thumb. It is easier to break a sweat when you are doing something you enjoy. So this year, try signing up for a new class and expose your kids to different sports and see what sticks! Another way to exercise with the family is through charitable walks and races which promotes physical activity, quality family time and teaches about charitable causes and giving. Now that’s a lot of bang for your buck!
- Get more Sleep!
Just like you need to put the right foods into your body to be healthy, you also need to give your body the rest it needs. Sleep is how our bodies recharge from the day and strengthen itself for the day ahead. Getting the proper amount of sleep curbs inflammation, which is linked to conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. Yet statistics show that we are not getting enough sleep these days. The number of hours of sleep our kids need, according to The National Sleep Foundation, is listed below:
How many hours of sleep per night are you and your kids getting?
|AGE||HOURS OF SLEEP|
|Young Adults||7-9 hours|
|Older Adults||7-8 hours|
I hope these tips inspire you and your family to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2017. Remember, start small and build from there. Wishing you and your family a happy healthy New Year!
These tips were inspired by my award-winning book, “Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet: Raising Happy Healthy Kids”, available on Amazon today.
Originally published at magazine.burstout.net.