Tips for Staying Healthy with Busy Family Schedules
By: Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD
There’s a traffic jam. You’re running 15 minutes late to practice. That granola bar is still sitting on the counter at home. You realize you left your water bottle at work. Ugh! Life can feel like it’s constantly in fast-forward mode, especially for parents trying to coordinate schedules. How do you stay healthy in the midst of it? Luckily, some of our very own Kroger Health warriors have some tips for making it work on hectic days.
The old adage applies here: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” These may sound like harsh words, but they can be helpful. If we aren’t sure of dinner plans or how we’ll eat well on the road, destiny may steer us to the fast food drive-thru lane. As Nurse Practitioner Erin points out, “Meal planning for the week, especially quick meals or crockpot meals on days I’m working, helps make sure my family is eating healthy and isn’t stopping for takeout all the time.”
Pharmacist Rachel agrees: “I’m always on the lookout for crockpot-friendly meals to save me time.” Pharmacist Lia adds: “I make an extra portion for dinner and pack it up so that I always have a healthy lunch for the next day.” Pharmacist Erin specifically recommends keeping products like Justin's® Classic Almond Butter Packs (OptUP score: 82) in her purse “for a quick snack on the go.”
Don't Waste Pockets of Time
Think about how many times a day you have 5-10 minutes to kill: waiting for kids to get their shoes on (or just find them), waiting for others to join a conference call, or being on standby as your computer boots up. Find a way to make these brief lapses contribute to your health goals. Find nutritious food alternatives on the OptUP app. Read a chapter from a health book on your e-book reader. Compile your grocery list. See how many squats you can do before getting winded.
Make Food an Activity
Instead of dreading time in the kitchen to get meals on the table, try to view food as fun. Nurse Practitioner Nidhi agrees with this idea: “As part of a healthy lifestyle, we try to cook healthy meals at home. We also plant cucumbers and zucchini during spring so we can make use of those fresh vegetables every day.” Kids in particular get a thrill out of being involved with food preparation. Measuring, mixing and combining ingredients can teach and empower children to make good food choices.
Exercise in Small Bursts
Dietitian Katy puts it this way: “Make use of every inch of time for exercise. Sometimes you only have 10-15 minutes and it’s at 9 at night.” Bingo. Some of us may be able to carve out time for regular Zumba classes or weekend 10K races, but odds are the physical activity component of our lives isn’t there if we don’t make it happen. Katy goes on to suggest that even family neighborhood walks, playing tag with the kids, dancing around the house or playground pull-ups can be exercise disguised as fun.