Many busy moms make healthy meal planning a priority for their families. When it comes to their own diets, however, moms are often scrambling to grab a bite between helping with homework, driving carpools and doing housework. To stay healthy, manage weight and boost energy, consider these tips:
Eat real food. Don’t eat anything you wouldn’t give to your children. This includes processed foods and foods with hydrogenated vegetable oils, corn syrup and a list of chemicals.
Protein is your friend. Many women don’t eat enough protein, which makes you feel more satisfied and helps control weight. Nuts are a great source of on-the-go protein. (Avoid nuts coated with salt or sugar.)
Snack bars are a good choice, if you know what’s in them. Many snack bars are chock full of fiber and protein – staples of a healthy diet. They’re also portable, which is a must for busy moms. To choose the best, break the bar in half. You should be able to recognize what’s inside (oats, seeds, soy, nuts, etc.).
Don’t forget dairy foods and beans. Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese and cottage cheese are all good foods to include in your diet. Beans are often overlooked as an excellent source of fiber and protein. Try chickpeas/garbanzo beans and lentils.
Don’t skip breakfast. This is the worst diet mistake you’ll make all day. Bypassing breakfast launches your body into “starvation mode.” Metabolism slows, your body is placed in storage mode, and energy decreases.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. These chemicals confuse the body, creating “phantom hunger.” Artificial sweeteners may increase cravings and hunger resulting in overeating and poor food choices.
Mind your manners. What mom doesn’t remind her kids to eat slowly, put utensils down between bites and sit at the table for mealtime? To prevent overeating and ensure proper digestion, moms should follow these guidelines too.
Feed yourself like you would a toddler. Young children require food throughout the day, and this is a good lesson for moms as well. Eating three small meals, plus healthy snacks, will provide more consistent energy to meet daily demands and help prevent weight gain.
If you need help setting goals and reminders, check out the FREE “Healthy Habits” app from Indiana University Health and the American Heart Association. Download it by clicking here.
(Image Credit: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock)