School is in session! With a return of the kids to school, I hear parents lamenting that they just don't have the time to eat healthy and exercise. I am not a parent, but I get it, I really do! I know how much harder parents have it - especially when your kids get to the age where they are joining every sport and activity there is. I don't envy how difficult it is to fit everything in!
But as the old saying goes you can have RESULTS or EXCUSES – you can’t have both!!
So first let's talk about food choices. When you live a busy life, it might not be realistic to sit down every night to a nice home baked full meal. But that is no excuse to shove Big Macs or pizza down your or your child's throat. It's just going to take some planning but you can eat healthy on the go!
Some companies have even made it easier by having 100 calorie snack packs filled with almonds, dried fruit and other healthy choices. You can stock up on these OR an even better choice is to take some time to buy nuts in bulk, weigh them out and package them - you can easily pack several weeks worth in one fell swoop.
How about investing in a food dehydrator? It sounds like a lot of work, but it's not. Slice up fruits like bananas, strawberries and pineapple, slice up some lean beef, throw it on the dehydrator and walk away. Several hours later you can grab the dehydrated fruit and meat off the dehydrator and package it up for uber healthy snacks.
If you know you're going to have a busy week, take some time to cook up several chicken breasts. Slice them into small pieces and put them in a container in the fridge. Have fresh veggies on hand. Before you run out the door, take out a whole wheat pita pocket, stuff it with chicken and veggies and you and your kids have a healthy dinner on hand.
You can also find DOZENS of easy slow cooker recipes online. Take a weekend morning and package a bunch of veggies, spices, meats from these recipes and put one meal each in several freezer bags and throw them in the freezer. The next time you know you're going to get home late, throw a bag full in the slow cooker, hit low and when you arrive at home you have a healthy meal ready and waiting.
You should also have on hand soups from Healthy Choice or Progresso. While they often have quite a bit of sodium, there are low sodium options and they are easily heated up in the microwave. Even though they may not be the BEST choice, they are WAY healthier than fast food choices! Do what you can!
Now how about exercise? Finding the time can feel impossible. Ideally, getting up early and getting it done is the way to go. If you can do that, great! But if you're like me, morning exercise ain't gonna happen. Do you have a lunch hour? What are you doing on that hour? Can you go for a walk? Need to run to the store? Can you walk there with a backpack and then walk back?
Are your kids involved in sports? Do you sit in a chair on the sidelines? How about getting up and running up and down the side of the field with the players following the ball? Is your child older and doesn't need you there watching? If you're at a school, does it have a track you can walk or run while your child practices?
When you get home you might want to just collapse. But even a short walk on the tready or riding an exercise bike while you watch TV will end up actually giving you MORE energy in the long run and will allow you to sleep better.
One more note – I know parents can feel that they are on their own with their meals. If you are trying to eat healthy, why would you feed your kids CRAP? They should also be eating healthy, helping you prepare meals, going for walks with you! Make this a FAMILY thing!
I know that it can be challenging but it is also possible. Any readers have suggestions on how they make time to eat right and exercise in the midst of chaos?