There’s a traffic jam, you’re running 15 minutes late to soccer practice, that granola bar is still sitting on the counter at home, you now realize you left your water bottle at work this afternoon, plus somehow there’s only one shin guard you’re seeing in your child’s bag? AHH! Life can feel like it’s constantly in fast-forward, especially when you might be a single parent or co-parenting a group of little tykes while trying to coordinate schedules. How do you stay healthy in the midst of it? Luckily, some of our very own Kroger Health warriors give us their tips on making it work for hectic days (or weeks, or months…).
- Think ahead. The old adage applies here: “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Although these are somber words, you get the point. If we aren’t sure what dinner plans are or how we’ll eat well on the road, destiny may find us in the fast food drive-thru. 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 take out all the time”. Pharmacist Rachel agrees: “I’m always on the look out 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), stalling before that conference call starts, or being on standby as your computer boots up. Find a way to make these brief lapses of to-do’s contribute towards your health goals, such as: finding nutritious food alternatives on the OptUP app, reading a chapter from a health book on your e-book reader, compiling the grocery list, or see how many good squats you can do before getting winded.
- Make food an activity. Rather than dreading the time you might have to be in the kitchen to get meals on the table, instead view food as fun. Nurse Practitioner Nidhi is on-board with this idea: “For us 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, sans sharp knives, 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 9pm 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 lifestyles isn’t there if we don’t make it be there. 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 an enjoyable pastime.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.