5 Habits for Healthy Balanced Living
I recently gave a nutrition talk to Sarah Snider's online Mom & Baby Fitness Class where I shared my top 5 habits for living a healthy balanced lifestyle. When healthy choices and behaviours become part of your ritual, they no longer feel like effort, and become second nature. Before you know it, you can't imagine living any other way.
For example, when my youngest son Max turned 3 months old, and started sleeping through the night more consistently, I made the decision to set my alarm, and wake up before my kids. I would take that time to do a quick workout, shower and have some coffee. When my kids woke up, I had already accomplished something for myself, and would go into my day with more energy and positivity. At first it was so hard to peel myself out of bed, but 4 years later, this is my morning ritual. I couldn't imagine waking up any other way. It's become a healthy habit!
1. Meal Planning and Prep
If you don’t have healthy meals planned, or healthy food prepared, you’re more likely to grab fast food, or something packaged (ok in a pinch, 20% of the time).
Look ahead, and plan meals according to extracurricular activities - keep it simple on busy nights!
Choose a meal prep day to chop raw veggies, make a batch of healthy muffins or roast veggies and make a homemade dressing for lunch bowls for the week.
2. Lemon Water
Place two or three organic lemon slices in big glass of water (your water should be cloudy).
Drink right when you wake up on an empty stomach (I drink my lemon water while exercising in the morning).
Important for healthy digestion: acts as a detoxifier for your blood, can reduce bloating, and improve nutrient absorption.
Creates an alkaline vs. acid environment in your body, which is ideal and can help prevent illness.
3. Portion Size
Decreasing your quantity of food at each meal can improve digestive symptoms like bloating & gas, and can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Decreasing portion sizes at every meal can cut over 500 calories per day or could help you lose 1 lb. per week!
Aim for a healthy plate: half vegetables (raw, roasted or steamed) at lunch and dinner, ¼ plate or palm-size protein, ¼ plate or fist-size carbs (ie. whole grains, brown/black rice, squash, potatoes, etc.)
The best thing we can do as parents to raise healthy eaters, is to model healthy behaviour ourselves - always include lots of colour on your plate!
4. Put Cutlery Down Between Bites
Eat slowly vs. shovelling mode
This habit pairs well with eating smaller portions
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you're full
You may not think the smaller portion will be enough, but you may be surprised that you feel satisfied once 20 minutes is up
Eating slowly is also good for healthy digestion - our saliva contains digestive enzymes, which help break down food before you swallow
Eating slowly, helps us eat mindfully - you notice taste/texture/smell of food
Eating mindfully is a good strategy for making the change to smaller portions - you’re more likely to be satisfied, and when you’re having a treat food, like chocolate - more satisfied with a few squares vs. the entire bar
5. Stop Eating 1-2 hours Before Bed
When you eat too close to bedtime, your body spends energy digesting food while you’re sleeping
Leaves you feeling really tired when you wake up
We need to move after eating to digest properly and avoid weight gain
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I encourage you over the next 21 days to pick one or two (or all!) of my top 5 habits below, and try to incorporate them into your routine!