How to maintain your diet and healthy lifestyle when you have young kids
Becoming a new parent is a big shock to the system. Not only do you have a whole new human to take care of but you just don’t have the time for yourself that you once did. You may be tired, lacking in focus, and short of time to do all the work and household things you once did. These can lead to self care going out the window, and we don’t just mean self care of the facials and mani-pedi variety: we mean remembering to eat three meals a day and to get some exercise.
But, maintaining a diet and healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things new parents, and parents of young kids, can do. For yourself, certainly, but also for instilling good habits in children. When little ones see mum and dad eating well and taking time to exercise, they internalise their importance.
So, how do you maintain a diet for weight loss or general wellbeing with so many other demands on your time and energy? Here are a few tips.
You’ll feel better if you eat better
The temptation may be strong to grab the quickest, easiest junk food you can lay your hands on when you’re tired and hungry. But, it’s good to remember that this food will likely leave you feeling worse, and not full or satisfied.
By fueling your body with wholefoods and fresh seasonal vegetables and lean meat, you will almost always feel better in the long run. You’ll feel fuller and consume fewer kilojoules, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels stable, you’ll improve your stomach and bowel activity, and you’ll essentially be taking better care of yourself.
When you follow good nutrition, you’ll have more energy to tackle the multiple challenges you’ll face each day.
Revise your goals, and eat to recover
New mums in particular see many changes in their bodies, and it’s understandable if you want to return to your pre-baby shape, weight or fitness, or even to improve on it. But, don’t forget that your body has been through an enormous ordeal, growing and feeding a new person. It needs time to recover.
Eating to recover means focusing more on nutrition than on what you see on the scales. A body fed with the right balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, and good fats is better prepared to heal itself.
If you’ve recently had a baby and you’ve been fixated on losing weight, it would be a good idea to reassess your goals. Weight loss can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not the only end goal worth pursuing at every stage of life. That’s not to say that weight loss shouldn’t be a long-term goal, but that your health and nutrition should come first. Once you’ve healed, you’ll be in a better place to tackle your next goal, whether that’s slimming down or building muscle.
Plan your meals in advance
It’s common to hear new parents say that they don’t sit down to eat as a couple or a family any longer because mealtimes revolve around baby. Perhaps your old mealtime is baby’s bedtime, or you don’t get the chance to eat a meal uninterrupted because little one is crawling and climbing all over things. These interruptions are inevitable to some degree, but you can take the stress out of mealtime by planning your shopping and cooking in advance.
Ordering groceries online and even taking advantage of a delivery service will save time and stress (no running around the supermarket with a grumpy child!). It can also help with meal planning. You can put items in your virtual shopping cart whenever you think of them, and review your purchases before you click pay. You’re less likely to make unhealthy impulse buys when you’re shopping in a less stressful environment.
You can take even more hassle out of meal preparation by taking advantage of a pre-prepared meal service, like Jenny Craig. You’ll receive meals suited to your diet and lifestyle goals that are ready to heat and eat. You can either pick meals up from a Jenny Craig centre during your consultation or have them delivered to your home. There couldn’t be an easier, more stress-free option for new parents who also want to lose weight, feel better, and get their healthy lifestyle back on track.