Set yourself up to succeed

by Brittany Gilbert

For a lot of us, the New Year is a time to get back in a routine of taking care of ourselves and making better food choices. The holidays are great to take a step back and enjoy all of the goodies, but it can be difficult to jump back on the health and fitness wagon. I’ll admit that it can be really difficult for moms to do this because our time is already stretched, and bad choices are easier to make.

Reach for the water

Have water close all of the time. Drink 8 oz. of water every time you feel the urge to grab something unhealthy. Most of the time you will find that you were just dehydrated, and those cravings start to disappear.

The benefits of water are astounding. Not only does it promote weight loss, but it also increases energy, flushes out toxins, boosts immunity and can relieve headaches. Add a little lemon to some warm water in the morning for some extra benefits.

Have healthy snacks

Breast-feeding a newborn makes me hungry all of the time. However, I hardly ever crave the healthiest foods. One way I try to set myself up to succeed is by making the healthy snacks easier to get to than the unhealthy ones. Nuts, seeds, fruit and even dark chocolate are all great snacks to keep handy.

One way I try to get all of these is by making a trail mix. It is so easy to make and helps you get a variety of good snacks all in one. Be careful if you choose a pre-made trail mix. Most of the time, these come with added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

Making your own is also cheaper. Our local Kroger has an aisle of self-serve dispensers full of oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits and more.

Here’s the recipe I tried (just combine all ingredients):

– Mixed nuts like almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews
– Dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
– Yogurt-covered pretzels
– Dried cranberries
– Dried banana chips

Drink your nutrients

Smoothies are a fast and easy way to get a boost during your day. You can add so many different things and make a tasty smoothie. You can even add powders that supplement fruits, veggies, protein and more. Smoothies can replace meals or simply add beneficial nutrition to your day. If you’re like me and you aren’t the best at making sure you get your fruits and veggies, it’s easy to just drink them. Here’s my recipe:

1 cup mixed berries
1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
1 banana
Handful of spinach
A scoop of protein powder (mine has fruits and veggies in it, too)
1/2 cup (or more) water
A few ice cubes

Make cooking at home easier

One thing we struggle with is cooking at home. We run out of ideas and get tired of the same things we cook all of the time. Eating out gets expensive and isn’t the healthiest choice. Making healthy food at home is definitely the better option.

Last year, we tried a couple of different recipe delivery services and can say that we really enjoyed our experiences. There are several to choose from, but they all feature the same thought, which is to provide your family with creative, healthy meals at a reasonable price.

Generally, these meals are about $9.99 per person. The great thing about these services is that they send the recipe with very detailed instructions as well as extra help on the website if you need it. Another one of my favorite things about a delivery service is that the ingredients are fresh on arrival and there is no waste. They only send the amount you will need for the recipe. My husband likes this service because it teaches him new techniques to cook food. Using a service like this will help you to not grow tired of cooking at home and will allow you to spend more time with your family at the dinner table.

With so much on our plates these days, we want to have the best 2017 possible without sacrificing more time that we don’t have. It will always be important to take care of yourself, and the rewards are well worth it.


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and a daughter and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].