Making mindful decisions as a mother typically means I am trying to kid-proof my home by putting a gate at the top of the stairs or that I have chosen extended rear-facing for my children.
And many times I forget about myself.
I make excuses based on what I am doing for my children, but in reality, if I make daily mindful decisions about my own health, I am doing that for my kids. I am doing it so that I am my best for them today and that I am around for them tomorrow.
Discovering how to be a healthy mom is more than just what to do, but why we should make small changes for ourselves and our families. There are some simple ways I have found make this feat easier even as a busy mom and they’re not difficult to achieve each day, but are mindful choices. And the 5th tip is my favorite and has changed the way I look at unhealthy food!
Even simple, small habits have big payoff when it comes to being healthy. Living in Massachusetts and having access to one of the most walkable cities in the country, I have been trying to be more conscious of my decisions to use my feet and not my car. Even living about a mile away from the closest T stop, I have been working towards choosing to gear up with the girls because walking there means I am both happier and healthier in the long run!
I have come to learn I shouldn’t just try to be healthy when I am sick or have no energy.
How to be a healthy mom with simple habits
1. Wake up, get dressed, and drink a cup of water.
Mental health is just another aspect of being the best you can be as a mother. When you wake up each day, get dressed and drink of water first thing. It will not only motivate you, but kickstart your day! And if by some miracle the kids aren’t already awake, take a mental breather and enjoy some quiet time.
Just as important as eating well, endurance, and strength is flexibility in your body. It’s going to help you relax, align your body, and get your blood and oxygen flowing through your body. Stretching can help loosen tight muscles that you got from sleeping on the wrong side of the bed, looking down at your phone too much, or from all the running to keep up with your toddler and only takes a few minute. Even if you have little ones around, there are stretches that you can do at home with kids. I have done them as prenatal and just anytime full body stretches!
3. Walk when and where you can.
Even if you don’t live in the heart of Boston, making a mental note to walk a certain distance or number of steps each day is a great way to stay active and stay healthy. It’s way too easy to fall into the trap of sitting all day. So if we set base-line goals for ourself and involve our kids in those goals, we can ensure we’re getting our daily steps! Bonus points… wear your baby or toddler. I know when I had done that rather than just pushing the stroller, I have found it has built up my strength and endurance that just pushing a stroller doesn’t do.
4. Join in the fun!
One of the best ways to get a great mini workout is to encourage your kids to get outside and play… and then go play with them. It’s good for the heart, soul, AND body.
5. Create a “Price List” for every treat you know is a temptation.
Know what food you are tempted by the most and write up a price list based on exercises you have to do in order to indulge in that temptation. Our family lives by the 80/20 rule of healthy foods because we all want treats every now and then. But there are some things that are never a good idea, but we love them so much. Pair your highest temptation with your least favorite workout! It really does help and it’s my favorite tip. Go ahead, cut a business-size card, write it out, and put it in your wallet as a reminder.
6. Ditch convenience food, but not necessarily convenient food.
Grab a bite to eat, but make better choices. Spending even 10 minutes a day preparing small salads and sandwiches that are ready to go is just one way to teach yourself how to be a healthy mom. It’s those small efforts that make a big difference. And even if you legitimately don’t have the spare minutes before you leave, choose a pre-made salad, go to a restaurant with all fresh veggies, or stop by the local farmers’ market to get healthier options than a drive thru.
Part of ditching connivence food is also committing to the daily family dinner together. Even if you have to make a meal when the kids are asleep or on the weekends and freeze it, find ways to make homemade meals more convenient.
7. Commit to carrying a water bottle and your own snacks wherever you go.
Our bodies run on water. Make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you everywhere. And if you know you’re going to get hungry (or that the kids will get hungry), then make sure that you have pieces of fruit, nuts, seeds, and other heathy snacks on hand so you don’t have to resort to buying something not so healthy.
So it’s a great opportunity to wake up each day and make healthier decisions both for ourselves and for our kids!
How do you commit to staying healthy for your kids?
Read more about my journey of trying to get & stay healthy for my family:
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!