As a mom, I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. January 1 is always cold, dark, and I’m typically sick then (thanks to one of the viruses the kids picked up at school—and spread to me via a direct cough in the face, thanks very much!). I’m usually also on a carb kick right about then, so trying to cut back on pastas, breads, and sweets (…just being honest!) is not happening in January. It’s also much harder to exercise as motivating yourself to get to the gym when the thermometer is stuck at 28°F is difficult, to say the least!
Enter summer. This is the best time to jump-start healthy habits: it’s warm, and there are plenty of healthy food options—thanks to farmer’s markets and the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies at all the grocery stores. Here’s how I use the warm-weather months to get back on a healthy track:
1. Use summer schedule flexibility to your advantage. Camp’s in session—and the rigid school schedule is done, at least for a couple of months. I’m always able to squeeze in a little extra workout time, thanks to the fact that I don’t have to do drop-off and pick-up every day. I book a babysitter, and sneak off to the gym—or leave my kids at the gym’s free childcare. (On weekends, I also manage to sneak in some extra laps at the outdoor pool while my husband is watching the kids.) Or you can…
2. Put your baby in the stroller and get out for an early-morning run. The sun’s up early in the summer (in my case, though, my baby is up even earlier!), so whenever possible, I try to get out for a run or walk with my baby in the jogging stroller just as the sun is rising. It’s so quiet and peaceful then.
3. Take advantage of all the fresh fruits and vegetables! We belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which means we get a big bag of fresh fruits and veggies from our local farmer every week. I supplement that with visits to a farmer’s market. And I try to get my older kids involved whenever possible: my 4-year-old loves to put the fruits and veggies into our reusable shopping bags, and my 8-year-old takes pictures of all the produce with his camera (he’s a budding photographer) and then helps me cook it for dinner. (I find that when kids get involved in the process, they’re more likely to eat their veggies!)
4. Drink lots of water. It’s always easier, I’ve found, to keep hydrated in the summer. First, I actually want to drink water (a big difference from the winter, where I have to force myself to drink), and I love to drink unsweetened iced tea—which is a summer staple. I keep an insulated water bottle with me at all times—and make sure my kids have one, too. (Good habits start young…)
5. Get active—with your kids! Hike, bike, kayak, walk, swim (I love doing all these with my kids)… now’s the time to try it. Despite my lack of sleep (my baby still isn’t sleeping through the night), I always have more energy in summer, so I try to put it to good use with the kids (and burn some calories in the process!).
Getting back on track in summer will ensure that you’re in a good spot once fall (and the school schedule) starts—and then, by the time the food-centric holidays and New Year’s rolls around, you’ll be healthier and I guarantee, happier, too! (And, as I’ve always said: happy mom equals happy house!)