Being a healthy mom is so much more than just going to yoga and drinking aesthetic green smoothies! Making small lifestyle and food changes are key to beginning a journey of overall health for not only yourself, but your family as well. So how do you stay healthy and happy when you’re struggling to manage a million tasks at once? Below are some simple and realistic ways you can become healthier no matter how busy you may be:
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Being a mom can be exhausting and even dehydrating! As a mom, you always want to put your children first, so this sometimes puts you in a position to put yourself last! One of the easiest ways to take care of yourself and your health is to hydrate.
Drinking half your bodyweight in ounces a day is ideal. This may seem like a difficult task at first as many Americans' thirst responses have become imbalanced or desensitized. But one can reset the thirst response by making it a point to hydrate each day no matter what. In as quick as one week, your natural desire for hydration will return. If you are looking for additional ways to keep hydrated try getting some water content from foods! Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, celery, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes all contain a high water content that can help you sneak in some extra water.
When you are on the go and have kids to tend to, you may settle with getting a snack through a drive through. It can be hard to think of healthy options to eat that are quick and sustainable. So, how can you snack smarter?
First, it is best to plan. Having healthy options readily available in your pantry for on the go can be a convenient way to grab a quick snack. Secondly, look for a snack that has a balance in macronutrients. A snack ideally should have some fat and protein content in it. A lot of times when we want to snack, we will go and grab a carbohydrate-heavy snack such as chips, crackers, or granola bars.
These types of snacks will give us quick energy but will also put our blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride. Eating a carbohydrate-heavy snack will lead our blood sugar to spike and then eventually crash leaving us agitated, yawning and still hungry. Some ideas for a macronutrient balanced snack include anything from an apple with peanut butter, to grass-fed jerky, to avocado toast. If you are looking for even more ideas head over to nutrition chat in the Vessel app to get personalized recommendations!
Plan a Weekly Menu
Planning a menu for the week (even if it's just dinner) can take a lot of stress off of your plate especially when 4:30pm rolls around and your kids ask the question, “mom, what’s for dinner?”. In addition, planning a menu will help you avoid eating out or preparing quick convenience food that has little to no nutrition.
When you cook at home, this gives you control and choice over the ingredients you want to serve your family. Some easy ways to start planning a menu is to see what you already have in the pantry or fridge. Planning a menu from there, will not only help you to not waste food, but it will also help you save some money!
Making a list from there and sticking to it will also further help you save money and not waste food by helping you not buy useless ingredients or unneeded snacks and packaged convenience food. In addition, meal planning is associated with increased food variety and an increased food variety means an increased nutrient variety!
Limit Social Media
A new term that has recently gained popularity is “scrolling fatigue”. It can be defined as becoming frustrated, agitated, bored or tired with the content from social media in front of you. I think all of us (moms or not) have experienced this at one time or another. Studies show that people who spend an increased amount of time on social media experience increased anxiety and decreased self-esteem.
And as moms, increased anxiety and lower self-esteem does not help in regards to health! Increased anxiety not only messes with your emotions but it also messes with your hormones, metabolism, sleep, gut health and overall well being. Thus, spending less time on social media can not only benefit your mental health, but your physical health on many levels as well.
Set Aside Time to Spend with Your Partner
As a mom, it may seem like all of your time is spent around your kids. Their schedule becomes your schedule and you may have given up some of your social life or relationship because of this. But, taking time to have intimate time with your partner can benefit you physically and mentally!
If you feel that scheduling is so crazy and busy, and as unsexy as it may seem, putting sex on the calendar can be a game changer. Sometimes scheduling sex is the best way to make sure that you are having regular sex with your partner! And this can not only benefit your relationship but it also can benefit you physically and emotionally. Sex not only releases feel-good hormones and puts you in a better mood but researchers have also concluded that sex helps make your immune system stronger as well as lowers your blood pressure.
Take time to Move
As a mom, you may feel as though you are already constantly on the move. Honestly, just being a mom is a workout in itself! But taking time to move or exercise intentionally is not only excellent for your physical health but your mental health as well.
Your mind and body are intimately connected. And while your brain is the master control system for your body’s movement, the way you move can affect your emotions, memory and concentration.
Exercise gives a boost to health by releasing endorphins (feel good hormones), helping relieve stress and strengthening the connection you have with your body. For moms especially, allowing yourself to take a break from everyday challenges and responsibilities to help improve your health on a mental and physical level is one of the healthiest things you can do!
Avoid the Dirty Dozen
Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with a list of the dirtiest (most pesticide laden) produce on the market! This list ranks pesticide contamination on 47 popular fruits and vegetables. The guide is based on results of more than 35,200 samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. It is best to avoid buying the “dirty dozen” produce conventionally and to choose to buy this produce organic.
By doing this, you can reduce you and your families pesticide exposure by a ton! This can be one of the healthiest things to do for you and your family as several studies have linked pesticide exposure to negative health effects, such as respiratory problems, reproductive issues, hormone disruption, neurological damage and increased risk of certain cancers.
On the other hand, the EWG’s “clean fifteen” list lists which fruits and vegetables have little to no pesticide exposure. These are all okay to buy conventionally. In fact, almost 70 percent of the clean 15 fruit and vegetable samples had no pesticide residues! Click here to see which fruits and vegetables made the list!
The Bottom Line
Being a mom and staying on top of you and your children’s health can be a real challenge at times. In the age of convenience and technology sometimes it takes work choosing the “healthy” option. But, little health changes such as limiting social media or avoiding heavily pesticide laden produce can make a world of difference in terms of health. But, most importantly, don’t forget to put yourself first when it comes to health! Our kids and our families are important and we’ll do anything to take care of them and make sure they are living happy and healthy lives too, but ultimately, moms must take care of themselves!
Kaylee Noland See all the author’s articles