Tag: wellness

quick and easy health tips for busy moms

 

For the next article in my series on Eating Well in Less Time, I’m sharing a guest post with you from Scott Reid at Focus Performance. Scott is helping out today with a list of health hacks (related to both nutrition and fitness) for busy moms. Enjoy!

 

Busy moms are often running around after children, working, running the household and trying to do 15 things at once – which can mean the person they need to look after the most is often the last one to get any attention – the mom herself.

Moms are notorious for putting themselves last, but if a mom is not in tip top condition herself she won’t be able to look after everyone and everything else which she has on her to do list. That’s why we have compiled a list of health hacks which busy moms can do as part of their daily routine to stay healthy.

You can also check out these motivation tips related to fitness from Focus Performance.

 



Adapt your routine

 

If you used to work out every morning before heading out to work, but are now tied up getting children up and dressed and heading out for school before your workday starts, then don’t just give up on your work-outs.

Try moving your routine around to adapt to your new situation. Make time to work-out in the evenings instead, or if you have help at home then assign 2-3 mornings where you don’t have the child responsibility and can work-out instead.

 

Try new exercise programs

 

If you used to go out running for hours every evening to keep fit but can’t do this post-baby, try some different types of exercise programs instead. Perhaps join a gym which has a day care so you can take your children with you, or invest in a jogging stroller and take your baby out while you jog.

It might be that you can go to a mom and baby yoga class or even try exercise DVDs at home instead of what you used to do. It’s all about adapting to fit your work-outs in with your new lifestyle rather than just giving up and not bothering at all.

 



 

Walk more whenever you can

 

Walking every day can really make a difference to your waistline, without costing a penny. If you have a young baby, walk out with the stroller, or walk them over to day care instead of driving. If you are at work, try walking out at lunch time and you really will see the difference.

 

Join local mom fitness groups

 

Check out local fitness groups aimed at or run by moms where there will be day care facilities or stroller options available. It’s a great way to improve your health while also adding to you and your child’s social life and fun as well.

 

Batch cook healthy meals for the freezer

 

Try planning your time so that you have space on the weekend to batch cook healthy meals which can then be frozen, ready for the week ahead. Perhaps on a Sunday evening while the children are asleep, try batch cooking things like chilis, curries, sauces and burger mixes which can be frozen and then microwaved in the week.

 



 

Make your health a priority

 

Don’t make excuses not to do the healthy food cooking or to skip your exercise routine. Make your health a priority and never feel guilty for putting yourself first when you need to. A healthy mom, leading by example, leads to healthy happy children and families.

 

Do family fun days for exercise

 

Family fun days like going out cycling, swimming or even a day in the park playing baseball, is great fun and gets everyone exercising together. If everyone joins in it can become a real family effort and make being healthy and exercising just part of what the family does for fun, rather than being seen as a chore.

 

Get your shopping delivered

 

Save time by getting your shopping delivered rather than having the stress of dragging your young children screaming around the shops. It also gives you control over your cart with no temptation for impulse purchases or bargains – you can select only health options to add into your basket and keep the food shopping under control.

 



 

Be kind to yourself

 

Take it easy and be kind to yourself – when you have a lot to juggle and deal with as a new mom it can be quite daunting to be careful, listen to your body and just ease yourself into the new health routine. Don’t rush and don’t try to do too much too soon.

 

Don’t be too goal-focused

 

Trying to stay healthy as a mom is a challenge in itself, so don’t set yourself weight loss or inch loss goals for this type of program. Just aim to complete your exercise regimen and keep up the healthy eating so you are looking after yourself and being a good example.

Being a busy mom and keeping healthy can go hand in hand as long as you are willing to adapt your routine to fit your new circumstances. Be kind to yourself and don’t try to take on a hugely ambitious fitness challenge – but with these hacks you will be on your way to staying healthy.

 

Scott is a sports and fitness writer and writes full time for Focus Performance. When not in front of his computer or spending time in the gym you can see him hanging out in his favorite coffee shop devouring the latest Stephen King novel. 

 

Related Posts

 

How to Meal Plan to Save Time and Money (with FREE printable meal planning template)

Streamline Your Healthy Life in Just 20 Minutes per Week

One Tip and One Product to Make Living Well Quicker and Easier

 

 



Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

 

Have you ever watched a cooking show where they try to pass a delicious healthy recipe off as a “20-minute meal”? You get all excited, ready to take notes and make this healthy kitchen masterpiece a reality, until you notice that as they are cooking, somehow all of their vegetables are already magically diced, their meats trimmed and cut, and their herbs and spices pre-measured? And then – big surprise! – the whole dish is done in 20 minutes or less! All they had to do was dump this, brown that, stir this in, and the whole creation was complete.

If you’ve had this experience and you’re anything like me you feel lied to. This was not a 20-minute meal. This was a 20-minute meal preceded by 10-15 minutes of peeling, chopping, dicing, and measuring which, again, if you’re anything like me, is the least enjoyable part of cooking.

Many of my clients struggle with this – they buy fresh veggies with perfect intentions of using them. But after a long day the thought of all that prep before they even get to cooking sends them, defeated, to that bag of freezer ravioli (or the corner fast food joint) and their produce one day closer to the garbage.

 



 

So how can we bridge this gap? We want our food to be healthy, and we need it to be quick and easy. Can we have both?

My answer is pretty much, yes. I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s not going to take any time and I certainly can’t hire a magic kitchen for you like the Food Network hosts have, but I can share the trick that has helped make healthful cooking SO MUCH FASTER for me.

That “trick” is food prep. Food prep is different than meal prep, where you actually cook and portion out individual meals in ready-to-go containers. If you have sufficient time and don’t mind eating the same meal for a few meals, meal prep is a great option! If you like a little more variety or can’t spare an hour or more for meal prep each week, give food prep a try!

 



 

Basically, you are your own magic kitchen. When you bring your groceries home, set all your produce (and your meats, if you really want to go for the gold!) on the counter. Put everything else away.

Now you get out your cutting board and knives (once!), and some containers. Chop, slice, and dice your little heart out. It usually takes 10-20 minutes, depending on how many veggies are in the recipes you’re using that week. Put them in containers based on the recipe they’re for. If we are having burgers, I slice tomatoes and onions, lay out lettuce, and put a handful of sliced mushrooms on a plate. If we’re having stew, I cube potatoes, chop onions, and slice carrots and seal them in a container. Then you clean up your cutting boards and knives (once!) and you’re done chopping for the week.

Note: Make sure that if you trim and cut raw meats, you prep them after you’re done with all your produce and that you store them in separate containers if they are uncooked!

Aren’t they pretty?

Now, when it’s time to cook, you can pull your container out of the fridge, dump this, brown that, stir this in, and your healthful meal is ready to go – just like the cooking pros!

For a demonstration of food prep and a recommendation for one of my favorite food prep kitchen tools, click here!

Have you ever tried food prep? Do you like it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!

 



 

Related Posts

 

How to Meal Plan to Save Time and Money (with FREE printable meal planning template)

One Tip and One Product to Make Living Well Quicker and Easier

Ready to Get Healthy? 5 Simple Steps to Set Yourself up for Success

 



Eating Well in Less Time Wellness Tips

It’s time to start another feature, and this time I’m adding a new category of features: healthy lifestyles!

 

 

This category includes tips and advice on living well within different lifestyle factors: kids, tight budgets, tight schedules, picky eaters, you name it! So now is the time to vote. Which factor should I feature to help make your healthy life easier?

 



Eating Well on a Budget

We’ll talk about every trick in the book for making a healthful lifestyle as cheap as possible. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive and often it’s actually cheaper than buying “cheap” junk food! I’ve been playing around with cutting our food budget while keeping it healthy for years, and I can tell you it’s possible to eat well on a tight budget (and I can show you how)!

 

Eating Well in Less Time

We are all busy! A tight schedule can leave little margin in our day (not to mention our energy) for keeping up healthy habits. Let me help you find healthy habits to streamline your life and make healthy work for your mind as well as your body.

 

 

Eating Well and Reducing Waste

For most American households, the vast majority of our trash bins are full of food waste and plastic food containers. A few easy swaps can significantly reduce the amount of food-related garbage in our landfills and be healthy for the planet as well as for you.

 

Vote in the poll below to let me know which feature is most helpful for you!

 

 

Related Articles

Streamline Your Healthy Life in Just 20 Minutes Per Week

Healthy Cooking Substitutions for a More Nutritious Meal

One Tip and One Product to Make Living Well Quicker and Easier

 



 

Healthy Lifestyles

Salmon and red potato hash with dijon aioli

 

This delicious dish is a copycat of a breakfast from a favorite restaurant of ours – the Ironwork Grill at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. The original is made with a dill sauce but I always swap it for this dijon aioli, and I’ve never been disappointed!

The salmon, veggies, and potatoes make this a complete, protein- and potassium-laden anti-inflammatory power meal. Plus, it is so, so tasty and very easy to make!

 



Salmon and Red Potato Hash with Dijon Aioli

This dish is a complete dinner - it's loaded with omega-3, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory power punches. It's also very easy to make!

Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Salmon and Vegetables

  • 4 fillets salmon
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 10 spears asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper

Dijon Aioli

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Place fillets skin-side down in a greased 9 x 13" baking pan. Surround with vegetables.

  3. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until thickest part of salmon measures 145 degrees.

  5. While salmon is baking, whisk together mayonnaise and dijon mustard.

  6. Serve salmon with aioli spread on top.

Recipe Notes

Each portion contains 499 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 3 g saturated fat, and 458 mg sodium.



Anti-inflammatory Diet Carb Counting Heart Healthy MyPlate Guidelines Recipes

 

So you’ve read about the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, and you’ve decided you’re a good candidate for using Trim Healthy Mama as your structure for moderation. Your next step is to get started! Over the course of my time following the plan, I gathered a list of a few tips to help you make the most out of your THM journey.

 

1. There’s a learning curve

Don’t feel bad if you unintentionally eat something that’s “not on plan.” It’s bound to happen (it happened to me!). Also, figuring out what you’re allowed to eat may feel super overwhelming at first. There is a lot to learn in the beginning! Take it in steps. Read one chapter of the book at a time (or as much as you can without feeling overwhelmed) and sit with the information for a day or more. It will get easier.

 

2. Having certain products on hand makes a world of difference

There were several products that made the THM plan so much simpler for me. Which products help you will vary based on your schedule and preferences. Here were some of my faves:

  • Pressed peanut flour – Basically ground-up peanuts with a good portion of the natural peanut oil removed, pressed peanut flour is great for E meals because it is a low-fat protein source that goes great with sweet flavors. It works well in smoothies or you can reconstitute it with water to use it as you would normal PB. Click here to purchase the one I used.
  • Almond milk (or other milk alternative) – Technically, dairy milk is not “on plan” with THM if you’re aiming for weight loss because, as the authors state, it is a “natural crossover” containing both carbohydrates and fat. That’s true unless your milk is fat free – but if you want to follow the plan to the letter, an alternative like unsweetened almond milk is useful. This one might not be as “essential” for others as for me since my family is comprised of hard-core dairy lovers, but it came in very handy for both S and E meals and as a milk alternative in recipes.
  • Low-carb wraps – These are so convenient for S meals. Sometimes you just want to put all that fatty goodness into some kind of bread-like thing. They were awesome topped with pizza toppings and/or Caesar salad. Click here for the wraps I used (also recommended by the THM authors).
  • Sprouted whole grain or sprouted sourdough bread – Your THM-approved bread option for E meals! I goofed up and used non-sprouted sourdough for my first week and had to course-correct with this tasty sprouted Dave’s Killer bread for the next two weeks. Note: eating only sprouted bread is not necessary for blood sugar management, though the plan requires it
  • Stevia – If you want something sweet, it’s nutritionally your best on-plan option. Choose one that is primarily pure stevia or stevia with erythritol or xylitol. Here’s one option that fits these criteria.
  • Almond flour (or other grain-free flour) – I’m a little torn on this one because almond flour and I didn’t exactly get along. I can’t see how you could get too far cooking without any kind of flour at all, but I didn’t take the time (or money) to explore options besides almond.

 



 

3. Don’t forget the protein

They mention this repeatedly in the book, but I can’t reiterate it enough. You need protein to stay full until your next meal, especially after E meals. The carbohydrate in E meals will go much farther if you put some protein in the tank to slow down digestion.

 

4. Be careful with your saturated fat

My biggest nutritional gripe with THM is the amount of saturated fat that can very easily be consumed within plan guidelines. Eating high amounts of saturated fat is correlated with inflammation and higher levels of harmful cholesterol. I personally ate way more saturated fat than daily recommendations most of the days I was on the plan. Be careful with the animal-based fats they recommend like butter, cream, and fatty red meats. Even the small amounts they encourage can easily push you over the recommendations.

5. Make sure to eat your veggies.

The plan itself is focused on fuels and though encouraging of vegetables, does not have a specific requirement for meeting veggie recommendations, and veggies are a very important part of a healthy lifestyle! It can be easy to skimp in this area, (I found some Youtube THMers who warned against this very issue) so be sure and give these powerful plants plenty of attention.

 



 

6. Ignore some of the verbiage from the authors

One of my pet peeves as a dietitian is seeing foods labeled as “good/clean/guilt-free” or “bad/sinful/naughty” as though each individual food could be placed in a single cut-and-dry category of either good or bad. Years of this kind of mindset can make it difficult for people to enjoy any kind of food without feeling guilty (except for raw, non-starchy, organic vegetables). I’ve had many clients who follow up every statement about what they eat with “and I know that’s bad.” (“My family likes pasta and I know that’s bad…I like to eat a lot of fruit and I know that’s bad…Sometimes I eat a piece of chocolate and I know that’s bad.”) It makes me so sad! While there are clearly foods that are more nutritious and deserve to be chosen more often than others, please ignore anyone who tells you that any food is “naughty” or that you should feel guilty for eating.

 

7. The plan is more restrictive than is necessary

In reading the first few chapters of the book, you’ll be preparing for “food freedom”…the authors start the book with that phrase and spend plenty of time discussing the cons of all the diets that are overly restrictive and that eliminate food groups. I was really on board with all of that.

Then for the remainder of the book, you find there is a pretty large list of common foods that are “not on plan” aka “not allowed.” It was a bit of a letdown for me, to be honest. They even cut out healthful options like whole grains based on some overly restrictive and outdated guidelines that I talked about in this post. For the most part, these complete eliminations are unnecessary to meet health goals, so bear in mind that 100% on-plan compliance is not necessary and that you could swap in foods that you know to be healthful.

 

8. Fuel isolation is not necessary for fat loss

I have not seen research to back up the concept of isolating either carbohydrate or fat at a particular meal as a method of weight loss. It can, however, be a structure for moderation that would make sense to some personalities. There’s no magic in the fuel isolation itself, it’s just a way to help some folks balance their overall diet.

 



9. Baked goods are tough

 

 

As I mentioned throughout my time on the plan, baked goods are tough cookies on THM. I know several ladies who follow THM and have found options that they enjoy, and I’ve also tried many plan-approved recipes that just could not cut it for me. If you are a baker (or lover of things baked), be prepared that finding “on-plan” recipes or tweaking your family recipes to your satisfaction may be a long road. You may need several specialty flours, oils, and sweeteners. This was my biggest struggle throughout the plan.

 

10. Do what works for you

Try the plan out – see what you think! If you are one of the people that loves it and finds it freeing, enjoy! Keep your eye on nutritional balance and rock your food freedom. If the plan is a struggle or parts of it don’t make sense, feel free to let them go! Personalize your nutritional plan and only keep the changes that work for your lifestyle and personality.

 



 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of these products. As an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for  purchases of products through the links on this post.

Diets Trim Healthy Mama

These cheesy, saucy meatballs were like delicious little meatloaf bites. They paired superbly with a salad or green beans, and reheated well for lunches. My kids loved them too!

 

 

You can find the recipe for these meatballs on Briana Thomas’ blog. I topped them with my 5-minute heart healthy pizza sauce and it was delicious! Make them with lean meat and a light dusting of mozzarella cheese and you can improve the saturated fat content for heart health. They would be great with some whole grain spaghetti also. I hope you enjoy them too!

 

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama

 

There are several foundational concepts behind the Trim Healthy Mama plan that are designed to improve health and help with weight management. As I mentioned in my intro post, for the most part these concepts line up with research and make practical sense. There are some aspects of the plan that don’t, and I’ll explain some of them below. Here’s your chance to get the overview of what research has to say about the basics of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.

 

Moderation

 

Age-old and still good, the advice to eat in moderation is always relevant. By including protein at each meal and limiting carbohydrate portions, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan does a great job of preventing carbohydrate overeating. Overeating carbohydrates leads to storage of extra blood sugar as fat and can also increase inflammation, so regulating blood sugar by moderating carbohydrate intake can be key to weight loss or maintenance.

The weakness I see in this area is with fat moderation. The authors do repeatedly mention the importance of not abusing fat intake, but there is no official limit on fat intake for S meals. This might make it tricky for some to keep fat intake in check (my fat intake was quite high during my first week). Since fat is very calorie dense, it’s possible this could interfere with weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Fortunately fat is filling, so that does help promote natural moderation of fat intake, but keep in mind that the desires of our tastebuds can easily override that moderation if we aren’t careful. Fat is awfully tasty!

 



 

Glycemic Index

 

Besides limiting portions of carbohydrates, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan is designed to manage blood sugar (and thus weight and inflammation) by limiting carbohydrate options to those that raise blood sugar more slowly and gradually. This is quantified using a tool called the glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index raise blood sugar slowly, while foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar rapidly. For example, barley (allowed on the THM plan) has a glycemic index of 25, while white rice (not allowed on the THM plan) has a glycemic index of 72.1 This is generally a good way to choose healthful carbohydrates and as a bonus, it typically increases fiber intake since high-fiber carbohydrates tend to have lower glycemic indices.

Researchers have since taken this concept a step further to include not only how rapidly a food raises blood sugar, but also the actual amount of carbohydrates in a standard portion of the food.2 This helps differentiate between foods that contain only a few carbohydrates (like watermelon, which has a high glycemic index but contains so few carbohydrates that it barely affects blood sugar), and those that have more carbohydrates and send them in quickly (like sweet potatoes). This new measure is called glycemic load, and it is a more complete representation of how a food actually affects blood sugar.1 A glycemic load of less than 10 is considered low and a glycemic load of greater than 20 is considered high.

Taking glycemic load into account places some not-on-plan foods like whole wheat bread (which has a glycemic load of 9) and whole wheat tortillas (glycemic load = 8) into a much more favorable position as blood sugar regulators. They fall well below some on-plan foods like sweet potatoes (glycemic load = 22). Utilizing glycemic load rather than glycemic index would allow quite a few more foods and make the THM plan less restrictive while better honoring the spirit of managing and regulating blood sugar. My personal philosophy is always to help clients find the plan that is the least restrictive way to achieve their goals – it makes food more fun!



 

Fuel Isolation

 

The authors of THM also encourage that for weight loss or maintenance, you should focus on only one fuel (fat or carbohydrate) per meal. The reason for this is that our bodies prioritize the use of carbohydrate fuels over fat fuels, and will burn blood sugar before using fat. The authors state that by restricting fuels to one at a time, you can ensure that all fuels (including fats) are fully burned before eating the next meal.

This is true as long as the total amount of fuel eaten still matches one’s energy needs in that window. For (an overly simplified) example, if someone ate a meal that contained 450 calories for lunch, and they used 500 calories before they ate again at dinner time, they will have burned all of the 450 calories they ate at lunch (first the energy from carbohydrates, then from fat) and tap into their fat stores to make up the last 50. On the other hand, if they ate a 700-calorie lunch and then only needed 500 calories, they would burn through those 500 (first from carbohydrates, then fat if carbohydrates ran low) then end up storing the extra 200 as body fat. Like I said, this is overly simplified for explanation’s sake and there’s a lot of physiology missing here, but it gives you a rough idea.

To bring this back to the THM concept, restricting fuels to either carbohydrate or fat is one practical way to moderate intakes overall, though it certainly is not the only way and it also doesn’t guarantee that the total amount of energy eaten would match energy needs. The key is whether or not the structure of THM makes it easier for you personally to moderate. For some personalities, the structure of S and E meals makes moderation much more clear and easy to follow. If you prefer or it makes more sense to you, you can balance fuels at each meal with moderated portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat as long as the total amount of energy you eat matches the total amount of energy you need (or a little less if you’re trying to lose weight).

 

The Verdict

 

Overall, Trim Healthy Mama provides a structure for moderation that is mostly based on valid concepts and is likely to generate weight loss (if desired). It will also direct your eating to healthier pastures, as it eliminates quite a bit of junk food, empty calories, and inflammatory foods. Basically, if this plan works for your personality and lifestyle, go for it! It is more restrictive than is necessary for health and weight management, but keep in mind that your lifestyle is your own – so you can choose parts of the plan that work for you and parts that don’t! In fact, many of the blog articles I have read about THM say that their writers follow “a version of ” THM. Good for them! They made it their own, and finding a plan that works for your life is just as important as finding one that works for your body.

 

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods
  2. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/76/1/5/4689459

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama