Raising three young girls, teaching a busy grade 6 class and leading a fitness group means Erin Kane is one busy mama! Starting a new year and new decade is a great time to take your motivation and make some lifestyle tweaks. She knows the importance of setting goals and involving her family to make sure they become habits that stick.
NEW YEAR, NEW YOU? There is something to be said when the ball drops to kick off a new year. NEW goals, NEW ambitions, NEW statements, all fueled by a healthy mindset for a fresh start to the new year. Truth be told, healthy eating and fitness goals are always the key (and most popular) things people set out to change. Here are my top 3 tips to getting your diet on track and create a healthy lifestyle that you can make stick this year:
#1. Full Fridge & Cupboard Cleanse – Toss all the processed snacks and sweets and replace them with easy to grab and go quick meals and snacks. Mason jar salads loaded with Pure Flavor® veggies are a staple in our house, regardless of the time of the year. Layering in multiple types of vegetables is a great way to increase the flavor as well as bump up the vitamin & nutrient content of your salad. Two of my favorites are the Sangria Medley Tomatoes and Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers. When you love tomatoes, adding in red, orange, yellow and green varieties means each bite is full of juicy sweetness that is different and unique. If you haven’t tried mini sweet peppers yet, you’re in for a real treat! They are the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy, with more vitamin C than most citrus fruit.
Snacking sized veggies are a great option to keep snacks healthy and energizing. My girls love the flavor and crunch of Mini Cucumbers. It’s nice to know they are getting a snack they enjoy that is also doing so much for their growing bodies! Cucumbers are an excellent source of hydration and essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium. Trying to instill healthy habits into my family’s diet is rewarding for this proud mama. Getting rid of the holiday treats isn’t so bad when you can find delicious and healthy alternatives.
#2 Watch What You Eat – I know this is something you probably hear often however, prepping small meals & snacks ahead of time does in fact save you both time and empty calories. Fast foods are addicting and the more you eat, the more your body craves them. I am not saying to never eat it again (in moderation), I am saying take it out of your diet for a few weeks and replace it with fresh, whole foods and see how your body not only looks but feels. You just might be surprised at how the little things can have a significant impact!
#3. Plan & Prep – I can’t stress this enough! In our house, we grocery shop on Sundays and cook meals that day and then again on Wednesdays. Lunches, snacks, and dinners are all planned before we even shop. I love this because then I don’t buy things I don’t need (TIP: don’t shop when you are hungry!).
The prepping is what is hard for most people, they feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Keep your meals simple and don’t over think it. I always aim to make meals I can cook in bulk in the oven or even my Instant Pot®. My two oldest daughters are at a great age where they are learning to help with our weekly meal prep and provide input on what meals & snacks they’d like for the week. Not only is this a huge help but it’s also teaching them how to make good food choices and it’s another way we can squeeze in more family time together. As a mom who is constantly on the go (aren’t we all!!), there is nothing better than opening your fridge and seeing all the portion prepped meal containers in your fridge ready to grab and go. This saves so much time for me and ensures my family gets the healthy meals they need daily.
Fitness Routines –
This is the second topic that happens every January, the infamous statements: “I am going back to the gym”, “I am getting a gym membership” or even “I am signing up for a workout I can do from home”. We would all like to make fitness a part of our routine and finding the right approach for your lifestyle is the key to sticking with it long term. It’s a struggle to find the time is often what you hear from busy moms. I totally feel all the Mamas on this. My biggest piece of advice is to make time, wake up 30 mins earlier or go to bed 30 mins later. It doesn’t have to be anything super intense or X hours long. If you are new to working out, find a class at the local gym that appeals to you or try an online workout series to follow from home, that way you are being instructed and don’t have to worry about if you are doing something incorrectly. Setting a goal of working out even 2-3 times a week to start is perfectly acceptable, the last thing you want to do is over kill and burn yourself out. However, aim to do enough where it can become part of your daily routine, once a week may not be enough to really start enjoying it. If you don’t like the fitness activities you’ve selected the chances are you won’t stick with it.
There are even simple 20-30-minute home workouts you can do with your kiddos if it’s a matter of not being able to leave the house. My girls love our little workout sessions, even our toddler gets in on the fun and shows us her best squats and push ups! This is especially important in the winter months when it can be challenging to get outside due to the weather, so we put on some music and get moving. Seeing their excitement to learn new exercises and how they encourage each other makes my day – and before I know it, a half hour has gone by and we’ve finished up a fun workout.
There is always a way to get things done and fit things into your busy schedule if it’s something that you consider to be a top priority. No matter if you are a Mom or not, self-care is always important and staying active is part of living a healthy lifestyle permanently. This time next year you will be the person saying, “I already eat healthy and stay active”.
Stay Organized –
As a Mom of 3 active and very busy little girls, staying organized is the only way my husband and I survive. Color coded calendars with sports activities, appointments, birthdays, hot lunches at school and important events are what we find keeps us on track. Are we perfect? Absolutely not, are there times where things are forgotten even when they are on the calendar?? YES! We are human. I will say this though, more times than not our schedules flow and there is a plan in place for each day. On top of having kids with busy schedules we ourselves as parents are also busy with our careers and extra-curricular commitments. Therefore, we write down everything and plan ahead, especially if help is required from our family members such as a school pick up or drop off.
I love having the visual layout of what is happening each day, the calendar is in my pantry where I look at it each morning as I make my coffee. I also use a planner I keep in my bag that I have for reference when I am not home. If you feel like me and still have “mom brain” trust me, you are going to want to invest in a calendar and some dry erase markers. As an avid post-it note girl, I look at my calendar multiple times a day to ensure we are all going where we need to go!
One last thing to all the Mamas who are feeling overwhelmed on where to start and what to do:
- Make a list; get it down on paper!
- Set a goal(s); 30 days, 6 months’ – work towards them!
- Make a decision and go!
Remember this: we are fierce, we are capable and let’s be honest our multi-tasking skills are off the charts. If you want something, go get it! Figure out what action steps you need to take to get your goal and do them. Once you get started there will be no stopping you. Your health & mental health is banking on it.
Let this be the year of “doing whatever it takes”. I have faith in you, and I am rooting for you!