Feb 20, 2014

Healthy Eating for Busy Moms- Guest Post!

Healthy Eating for Busy Moms
Everyone wants to eat healthy, but most of the time this never really happens. Unhealthy foods have been widely commercialized, making it readily available and cheaper than natural food products. Most of us fall into this trap because of hectic schedules, which leave us minimal time to prepare healthy home cooked meals. Moms, in particular, are considered one of the busiest people on earth, especially if they also have a job outside of the home. They usually fall into routines where taking care of themselves goes way down on their to-do list. Here are several strategies that can help mom’s make a sensible, healthy diet, while juggling household chores, family activities and career.

Make a menu plan
Meal planning is one of the best ways to keep track of you and your family’s daily food intake. This can give you the time to research healthy recipes and list all the necessary ingredients for purchase at the store. It helps keep grocery shopping efficient, which cuts down on unplanned shopping trips. Additionally, having a meal plan can also help in avoiding unhealthy take out food and expensive dining out.

Do not skip breakfast
This is probably the most common rule everyone should follow. Skipping breakfast is a big no-no, especially for busy moms. Breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day for several reasons.  It allows you to maintain proper weight, it keeps you nourished early in the day, and it controls and improves your mental performance. Some people assume that skipping breakfast means less calorie intake, but this is not an effective strategy. Breakfast-skippers are more prone to eat more at lunch and throughout the day, and this will cause more unwanted calories. Most moms, especially working moms, tend to skip breakfast because of so little time and too many activities. One of the best strategies to avoid skipping breakfast is to cook extra meals during dinner and reheat them the next morning. Oatmeal with fruit is also one of the easiest breakfasts you can make, especially if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Make ahead healthy snacks
Most of the time, snacks are the culprit behind unhealthy eating because they are readily available and cheap; however, it also plays an important role in avoiding hunger pangs and overeating. Juggling housework and taking care of the kids can be strenuous, especially if hunger gets in your way; however, most snacks that are readily available and cheap are unhealthy. There are numerous snacks that are healthy and filling, but sometimes it takes too much time to prepare them. It’s best to prepare your snacks beforehand so you can use the extra time for other chores. Healthy snacks include trail mix, almonds, fruits, cereal, yogurt and oatmeal.

Stock healthy frozen foods
Most families depend on unhealthy take out food because of insufficient time to shop and prepare home cooked meals. One of the best ways to ensure your family is eating healthy is stocking your freezer with healthy foods that can last longer, without compromising quality. Some of the healthy food choices that you can freeze include fruits, soups, breads, sauces, vegetables and meat.

Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are an attractive substitute for sugar because of low or zero calorie content; however, these can trigger cravings and hunger that can result in overeating and unhealthy food choices. If you want to stick to healthy eating, try to incorporate natural sweeteners instead of artificial sugar substitutes. Natural sweeteners include honey, molasses, maple syrup, date sugar and agave nectar.

Exercise daily
Exercise is probably the most neglected routine for all busy moms because they think it requires too much time, which they don’t have. This is definitely one of the wrong notions about exercise. A 30-minute exercise daily can do wonders for your body as well as your mind. If you can’t do it in one go, you can divide your fitness sessions it into 3 sets of 10-minute workout throughout the day. There are other activities that can be considered as workouts, including running or playing with your child, pushing a stroller or washing the car. Exercise can also aid in relieving stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps in pumping up your endorphin count, resulting in a feel-good sensation that improves the overall mood for the whole day.

Sleep more
We all know that most moms are sleep-deprived because they have too many things to do with so little time. Getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night can be considered a luxury, but this is definitely not enough. Middle-of-the-night awakenings because of an infant or toddler can be difficult, but there are some ways to maximize the few hours of rest you can squeeze in. Some tend to catch up on work when the kids are sleeping, but taking a nap at the same time may benefit you more than slaving away at chores that can be done later. It’s a good idea to dim the lights when a nap is available, or a soothing bath can also help relax your mind and your body. Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bedtime, as this can also cause sleeping trouble at night.

David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/

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