This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Heart Association. All opinions are 100% mine.
Looking for simple changes for a healthier lifestyle? A healthy mom makes for a healthy family, and these easy 5 changes can make a big impact in your life.
It’s hard, I know.
We don’t have the time to cook, much less every night. I can barely squeeze in one workout every week, much less the recommended three or more. And packaged snacks are so convenient, especially when I’m tossing a school lunch together on a hectic morning. For us busy moms, it can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Here’s the thing though: Our health—and our family’s—is one of those things where our current bad habits just won’t cut it. It’s not one of those things we can ignore and, by luck, somehow end up alright. Our bodies have a way of letting us know when enough is enough.
I try my best to be a healthy mom. The biggest reason? My family.
- I’m realizing not only how crazy short our lives are, but how it’s the only one we’ll ever have. We can’t switch places or move to another body, so we have to take care of it.
- I want to live a long and healthy life to see my kids and maybe even grandkids well into the future.
- I want a good quality of life. Not one tied to prescriptions or pain.
- I want to model a healthy lifestyle for my kids. I’d love for my three boys to avoid chronic illness, disease or an unhealthy lifestyle as much as possible.
Regardless of where you are with your health, you probably have similar goals. Think about the memories you’ve created with your family. How much more precious they are when your heart and mind are in a healthy place. Families are often the motivation for being a healthy mom.
The best part? As a mom, you have so much potential to make real change, not just for yourself, but also for your family. In changing your own lifestyle, you’re also encouraging your family to follow suit.
Here are a few simple changes you can make that make a lasting impact.
5 simple changes for a healthy mom (and a healthy family):
#1: Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Simple changes like eating fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference. When picking recipes, make it a goal to have at least one (or more!) vegetable in the ingredient list.
A few easy-to-eat snacks for kids include carrots, bananas, oranges, and baked sweet potatoes. Offer a fruit or vegetable with every meal. And talk about them like they’re treats instead of a drag they have to eat.
#2: Lessen salt.
It’s crazy how much salt is in our food if we’re not careful. Watch your salt portions when you cook. Aim for less than what’s called for (you can always add more). Buy less pre-packaged food and snacks, since those tend to be higher in sodium. And cook as much as you can from scratch using herbs to season food, instead of salty seasoning sauces.
#3: Lessen sweetened drinks.
One of the biggest culprits with weight gain in children is the amount of juice they drink. Limit sweetened drinks including juice, soda, punch and lemonade. These aren’t drinks you or your kids should drink everyday. Instead, they’re once-in-a-while treats.
Rely more on water to stay hydrated. Water is a much better alternative to the sweetened drinks we often have. Consider adding cut strawberries, cucumbers and limes to your water for flavor.
#4: Exercise more.
Exercising 30 minutes a few times a week can be a challenge. I’ve found that it’s possible to sneak this in throughout the day with a brisk walk during lunch, or a game of chase at the park with the kids.
Our pediatrician told us that children shouldn’t be sedentary for more than an hour. For instance, hours parked in front of the television isn’t good for kids. Instead, break up activities so they’re not sitting in the same place for longer than an hour.
#5: Check your blood pressure.
Checking your blood pressure lets you know how your health and heart are doing. You can go to most pharmacies to get a free reading. Better yet, schedule annual check ups with your doctor.
A healthy mom knows that every little bit helps. No excuse is large enough to put your health aside. Even with the little time we moms have, we can still try to have a healthy lifestyle. Make time for exercise by playing chase with the kids. Replace juice with water. Throw together a quick meal that’s one step closer to homemade.
Think about your ‘why’ and how you imagine your family in the future. Neglecting your health can leave a negative impact and teach your kids unhealthy habits.
I know it’s hard work—trust me, I’m no fitness guru. But change is often hard. Successful results don’t usually happen with little to no work. Goals don’t always come easily.
But the little actions you do now will give you—and your kids—a higher quality of life. Pick one small action from the list above and build it into a habit. Keep doing it for several weeks until you no longer have to think about it. Then pick the next small action.
The best part? The American Heart Association’s Life Is Why campaign provides many resources to help you reach your goals. AHA wants you to be a healthy mom with a healthy heart and mind. Their resources include healthy recipes and tips for better heart and brain health.
The American Heart Association also has advocacy initiatives to improve the health in communities. And they fund research and science to help people live healthier, longer lives.
I’d love for you to check out these resources in particular:
- Life Is Why website where you’ll find links to the resources I mention above such as recipes and tips.
- Moms Unite Facebook Group where you can join and meet fellow moms for encouragement and support.
- Pinterest for more ideas, recipes and inspiration.
Check out the above resources and take that first step towards a healthier lifestyle. Think about your ‘why’ and the reasons you have for being a healthy mom.
Tell me in the comments: What is your ‘why’ for living a healthy life? What changes do you need to make in your life to improve your health and your family’s?
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