Finding the time for a good diet and proper exercise challenges the best of us. It’s not easy to fit in everything you want to do, especially with kids who need your attention and everyday challenges like not having enough energy or worrying about your aging parents.
We know you’re torn in several different directions. Trying to take care of everything needs to include trying to take care of yourself. You may not see where there’s time. But, if you don’t make the time, you won’t be able to take care of everyone else. The tips below can be incorporated into your life one at a time. None of them take a massive chunk of your time, so you can implement them slowly and still get the best benefits. Here are the best diet and exercise tips for busy parents.
Get Up Earlier and go to Bed Earlier
This tip requires no extra time, just a little bit of extra planning. Our bodies are designed to wake up with the sun and go to bed with the moon. If we try and change too many of our cycles by staying up late, watching TV, and sleeping in, our health begins to suffer.
Our hormones are dictated by the circadian rhythms of the sun. When it starts to get dark, our bodies begin to produce melatonin. But, if you force yourself to stay up to watch TV or play on your phone, it tricks your brain into thinking you don’t need melatonin, so it stops producing it. This makes you more tired the next day and gives you poor sleep that night.
When the sun comes up in the morning, your body begins producing hormones and endorphins to get you excited for the day. If you force yourself to sleep in, your body stops producing those hormones, and you have low energy for the day. You should go to sleep shortly after your children do, enforce a bedtime, and wake up early in the day. This gives you the best chance of getting a good night’s sleep and having energy the next day.
Exercise as Much as You Can
There’s no way around it — everybody needs exercise. Our bodies are designed for working nearly the entire day, and that work includes physical activity. But, unless you’ve invested in one of those standing desks or treadmill desks, our desk jobs don’t allow much physical activity. Here are some exercise tips.
Take a look at your day and see where you can fit in 10 minutes of exercise. This might include taking the dog for a walk, taking the kids for a walk, participating in a little yoga online, or doing an exercise program at home. It might mean fitting in 10 minutes of isometric exercises (ones that don’t cause you to sweat too much) at your desk at lunch.
Don’t forget to involve the whole family! Getting your kids involved can help teach them why exercise is beneficial and to find physical activities that they enjoy. You’ll set a good example and improve your health. Exercise helps all sorts of health problems, like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, pain, fatigue, and more that may worsen with age.
Eat Well with the Help of a Slow Cooker
A huge time saver for preparing dinner is a slow cooker. Many meals can be made in one pot and left to simmer all day while you’re at work. Then, you can have a good and hot dinner ready without much work.
Prepare your slow cooker the night before. Put in a few cups of dry beans with a handful of vegetables, and a flavoring. This flavoring can be a salad dressing, marinade, or lots of herbs and spices. Garlic and onion are very popular and very healthy for your heart. Add plenty of plant-based foods to your diet to reap more benefits of this handy appliance.
Turn your slow cooker on before you leave for work, and it will cook your evening meal. There are hundreds of cookbooks on crockpot cooking and millions of recipes online. It works well for all types of dishes, especially soups and stews. It also saves time on clean up as there’s just one pot!
Enjoy a Few Weekend Activities
Once every weekend, schedule time with your family to do an activity that does not involve electronics. This can be hiking, skating, gardening, or merely taking a walk.
This activity helps get your exercise in and encourage quality family time. Your family learns that together time is much more important than electronic time. Be sure to get your kid involved with the decision making. It helps them to feel more involved and responsible for the family.
Head to the Farmer’s Market
Visit the farmer’s market as a family — it just may help encourage happier, healthy kids. One study showed as many as 30 percent of children eat no vegetables during the day. A healthy diet includes lots of vegetables. Taking your kids to the farmer’s market helps them want to eat vegetables and reduces the disagreements they have with you over dinner.
Going to the farmer’s market with your kids can help teach them about where food comes from, what it really looks like, and who produces all that food. Many of the leaders in the Bible were farmers and herdsman. This may help your children connect those stories to real people and make their faith come alive!
Keeping Things in Perspective
We want you to remember that taking care of yourself means you have more energy and more love to give to other people. Making time for exercise and cooking a good meal might seem to take you away from some of the more fun activities, but it will ensure you stay healthy longer and be able to enjoy the time you have with your kids. It’s not going to be that long before grandkids are here and you want to be as healthy as possible for them. Plus, your kids will eat healthy food, making them healthier for a lifetime!
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