Motherhood is great. Sure, I can get all sappy and say it’s a gift, which it absolutely is, but it’s a demanding gift that comes with its own unique challenges. With a little planning (I mean who’s better at planning than moms?) we can put those difficulties to bed. Try these 10 tips to make it your healthiest Mother’s Day yet.
1. Have a “Pick-Free” Week
Many of my “mom” clients say they don’t eat chicken fingers or candy or mac and cheese. And truth be told, they don’t really eat a full portion of them. However, the few French fries and cookie bites that you “pick” at from your kids’ meals can add up. For one full week, skip the kid picks. It will be both eye-opening and slimming.
2. Try Turmeric
Are you familiar with turmeric? It’s a spice that gives curry powder its yellow hue, and you may very well have in your spice cabinet. Take it out and sprinkle it on eggs, veggies or grains. It’s a very powerful mood-booster, has strong anti-cancer properties and is anti-inflammatory, too.
3. Start the Week Skinny
Take an hour or two on Sunday to plan a weekly menu, create a grocery list and hit the supermarket. I recommend trying at least one new recipe or ingredient per week, and planning at least one fish or shellfish dinner for the family. Winging it and weight loss often don’t go together.
4. Go for Glass
Many moms are aware of BPAs, those chemicals lurking in many plastic bottles and sippy cups. But if you think BPA-free is the way to go, I’m not convinced. What’s replacing BPA might not be much safer. The best bet for you and the kids are glass water bottles and food containers. Still on the fence? The class of chemicals found in many plastics is called “obeseogens.” Yup, as in “use me and up your risk of obesity.”
Think of your children as mini personal trainers. When my kids shoot hoops, I do too. A client just came and told me, “Instead of watching my kids play soccer, I joined in. They loved that I was playing and I got some added exercise in.” Win, win!
6. Carry Afternoon Ammunition
Moms are known to pack snacks for kids and nothing for themselves. And then if you’re lucky, there will be a few extra Cheddar Bunnies to spare. You can do better than bunnies. In every purse, stash a snack. I like nutrition bars by Zing and Health Warrior. You can also wash out an Altoid tin—we call this a “nutcase” at Foodtrainers. Fill it with pecans or sunflower seeds, both filling and belly-slimming snacks.
7. Snack on Cooking Crudités
Dinnertime can be a doozy. Many of my clients say they taste and graze so much while they’re cooking that they aren’t even hungry for dinner, but they still eat. The solution? Set out some cooking crudités – raw carrots, cucumbers or bell peppers sliced. It’s perfect for when you want to munch on something but want to stay conscious about those “cooking calories.”
8. Be an Early Bird
Speaking of cooking and dinner, “when to eat” is a dilemma for many moms. Do you eat early with the children or wait for your partner to come home in a couple of hours? Have an early-bird dinner, a much better than a double dinner.
9. Watch Where You Work
I wouldn’t pay bills or return emails in the kitchen with the fridge staring right at you — it’s just too tempting. One stressful email or big bill can send you over the snacking edge.
10. Make Tea, the Skinny Nightcap
It’s so easy to crave a treat once the kids are asleep. One treat turns into two and, well, you know the story. Instead, try nighttime tea. I love one made by Pukka with lavender, a natural relaxant. It’ll save you calories and help you unwind before bed.
Lauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared on Allure, In Style, Cooking Light and more.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.