How to Find Time for a Healthy Lifestyle

By Lynn Manning

Healthy Choices & LifestyleWake up, roll out of bed, unload the dishes, pack the lunches, start the coffee, wake up kids, make breakfast, try to actually chew breakfast before swallowing, brush your teeth, put on makeup (scratch that…I’ll put that on later), start laundry, get the kids off to school and all before 8AM?! It’s no wonder the most common question I get is, “how do you make time for exercise and healthy habits?!”

No matter how you slice it, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and there are usually routine obligations we have to take care of day in and day out, as well as the unexpected doctors or dentist appointments, homework, errands to run and a million other things pulling in us in all directions. It can be hard, especially as a mother, to dedicate time for healthy eating and exercise. Here are a few of my best tips and tricks to incorporate a healthy lifestyle as you go:

Healthy Eating

Plan a meal prep day:

Even if you just have two hours to spare on a Sunday, meal prepping is the number one thing you can do to set your family up for healthier foods throughout the week. It might be a bit time intensive up-front, but it’s so relaxing to be able to come home, grab dinner out of the fridge or freezer and pop it in the microwave.  By planning ahead, you’re also saving money you might have otherwise spent on last minute pizza or order-in Chinese, and there’s no last minute scramble to figure out what is for dinner. If you don’t like repeating meals night after night, I suggest making 2-3 different recipes on a Sunday and rotating them throughout the week.

Utilize your crock pot:

Crock pots are one of the best inventions ever made – throw a few ingredients in, switch it on and a few hours later you have perfectly cooked food ready and waiting for you when you get home. It’s basically magic. I like to make larger recipes in the crock pot and eat the leftovers for lunches throughout the week.

Keep healthy snacks on hand:

Protein ShakeI like to shop at Costco for a lot of my snack items. Some of my favorites are their already cooked and peeled hard boiled eggs, and their fruits and veggies which I will slice up and leave in Tupperware containers so my kids can reach them and help themselves if they want a quick snack. Costco also sells great hummus and guac dips that are perfectly portioned, which help encourage my kids (okay, and me…) to eat more veggies. A few other snack ideas that are great for at the office, at home or on the road are beef jerky, nuts and seeds, low sugar protein bars and protein shakes.

Take it one recipe at a time:

Do you ever get overwhelmed imagining all the unhealthy things you’ll have to give up or change to be completely healthy? Don’t sweat it. Look at it on a meal by meal basis. Try to commit to something small – even if that means only trying one new healthy meal a week, or maybe switching out a common ingredient for something more healthy (so, switching from milk to almond milk). That way, it becomes routine, and you’re not completely culture-shocked into a new way of eating. Plus, it can be kind of fun to try new things and figure out what you like and don’t like.


Lower your workout time expectations:

“I don’t have the time to workout,” is one of the main things I hear from other women, and I get it. We all have so many things to get done during the day that taking the time to workout can feel, well, kind of selfish.

There are going to be days that you just can’t make that yoga class or go running like you had planned – and that’s totally okay! You don’t NEED to have a set time and schedule of when you workout – it’s actually better on your body to change things up as far as the exercises you do and the duration you do them for, and any exercise is better than none at all. So be kind to yourself. Some days will be easier than others, at the end of the day just repeat “I did my best today and that is good enough.”

Utilize home workouts and household items:

Workout from homeNow that you know you don’t have to spend 1-2 hours every night at the gym, let’s look at areas where you could fit in time for a workout. For me, it was always easier to workout at home (it cuts out on travel time, and you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to do so). I use household items like gallon jugs of water, laundry detergent bottles, cans, etc. as my free weights and I use a lot of body weight movements as well.

I keep my workouts between 15-30 minutes, which makes them easy to fit in either in the morning before the kids are up (better use of time than checking social media and emails first thing in the morning), during nap time or school time for younger kids, or as an activity for myself and the kids to do when they’re home – it never hurts to lay the foundation of exercise for your children (just let them do it at their own pace, with lighter tools such as empty water bottles or sticks as “bars”).

Find opportunities to move throughout the day:

If you’re in a real crunch and just can’t find time to do a full workout, that’s okay! Try doing some movements throughout the day to work on your flexibility such as stretching before bed. If you’re cooking dinner and standing by the counter, use those few seconds to do some pushups against the counter. Instead of driving the kids to the neighbors house, make a family activity out of it and walk there instead. Basically any way you can get yourself and your family moving and active in some sort is great!

These are just a few of the ideas that I’ve implemented in my life to give myself more time away from the gym and with my family, while maintaining my health and exercise needs. Feel free to comment below with any ideas that have worked for you!

About the Author:

Lynn Manning is the owner of 2fitathome.com, a site offering healthy meal plans and affordable at home workouts. She is a woman’s fitness specialist, mother of two, and currently resides in Hawaii.

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