How to Exercise with a Toddler

If you have an infant or toddler at home, then you probably know that it may be is impossible to do anything alone.  This includes working out.  Finding the time or energy to exercise when you have a toddler to care for is hard, but there are ways to make it work if you get a little creative.  Here are a few ways that I’m able to be active with my busy toddler.

  1.  Make it a game.  Toddlers tend to follow you around and want to do whatever you are doing.  So, let them workout with you and make it fun!  Put on an exercise video and encourage your kid to do the moves with you.  Trust me, it’s hilarious.
  2. Use your kid as a weight.  When your child is having a whiny, clingy day and wants to be held, hold your baby–and do squats! You can do a variety of leg exercises with the added weight of your baby as a bonus.  Just be careful to not strain yourself.
  3. Walk outside.  Let your baby ride in a stroller while you walk (or jog).  Or, have your toddler walk and explore with you.  This is a great way for you both to get fresh air and sunlight while being active.  It also helps your kid release energy before naptime.
  4. Take advantage of naptime.  When your child goes to sleep, do your workout right away! That’s right, the dishes, laundry, and toys on the floor can wait.  You need to use that free time to do something for yourself first. It helps to have your workout clothes already out and visible so that you are motivated to exercise when naptime rolls around.
  5. Feel the burn while cleaning.  You can make household chores burn more calories by doing things with more intensity.  For instance, walk faster around your home as you clean. Or, do things like wiping down countertops and mopping with more vigor and energy.  You may look silly doing it, but you will feel the burn.  You could also wear your baby in a carrier while you’re cleaning to work up a sweat.

Do you have any tips or tricks that allow you to exercise regularly?  Please share and let’s all help each other.

My First 5k

This past weekend I finally participated in my very first 5k race! By no means did I finish first, second, or third…but I finished, and that is a start. I alternated between walking and jogging throughout the entire course. My goal was to finish in 45 minutes and I came in at 44 minutes 17 seconds. It was tough, but definitely not impossible, and I am ready to continue pushing myself to improve my running and endurance.

My husband, Alvin, did the 5k with me and pushed me to help me meet my goal (thanks, love!) and our daughter, Ava, rolled along with us.

5k 1
Alvin, Whitney, and Ava

 

5k 2
“Go Mommy!”

Completing the 5k was fun, and I will be doing it again soon. It’s important for me to be active and improve my fitness level for my own health, but also as an example to my daughter on how to take care of her body in a healthy, fun, way.

Exercise does not have to be something we dread doing. Try different activities and workouts in order to find something you like doing, then start small and slowly work your way up to more intense exercise. What do you enjoy doing for exercise? I’d love to hear about it. And to all the runners out there…what are the best ways to improve your running?

10 Ways to Eat More Vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and help reduce the risk for many chronic diseases.  Try these tips to eat more vegetables!

  1. Top a pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, and zucchini.
  2. Add chopped bell peppers or onion to scrambled eggs.
  3. Stuff an omelet with mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, or spinach.
  4. Dip raw veggies in low-fat salad dressing or hummus.  Try bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, or cucumbers.
  5. Give your basic green salad a nutrient boost with grape tomatoes, baby carrots, or spinach leaves.
  6. Sneak shredded zucchini, carrots, or spinach into lasagna, pasta sauce, or meat loaf.  You can’t even taste the difference!
  7. Give mashed potatoes a boost by adding cauliflower. Steam and mash the cauliflower right in with the potatoes.
  8. Try a vegetable smoothie, or add a handful of spinach to a fruit smoothie.
  9. Replace regular spaghetti noodles with spaghetti squash or zucchini.
  10. Try a variety of vegetable soups or try making your own vegetable soup.

 

These are just a few ways to add more vegetables into your meal plan. Do you have any tips or tricks on how to eat more vegetables? What are some creative ways that you “sneak” veggies into your kids? I would love to know, please share!

17 Tips to Eat Healthy in 2017

Ahhh, 2017.  A new year, a fresh start.  Do you have a goal of eating healthier, losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight this year?  Or maybe you would like to better control your blood pressure or diabetes this year.  Good nutrition and eating right is the key to success.  Here are 17 practical tips to help you meet your food & nutrition goals this year.

  1. Set realistic and measurable goals.
  2. Plan your meals ahead of time.
  3. Make a grocery list before shopping.
  4. Eat healthful snacks.
  5. Drink more water and less sugary drinks.
  6. Fill up on fiber.  Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain products are great sources of fiber.
  7. Cook more often.
  8. Pay attention to portion sizes.
  9. Try new recipes.
  10. Use more salt-free seasonings, herbs, and spices and less salt.
  11. Choose whole, unprocessed foods.
  12. Track your progress with an app or journal.
  13. Find an accountability buddy to encourage and motivate you.
  14. Get enough sleep.
  15. Find healthy ways to deal with stress.
  16. Move your body more.
  17. Ask for professional help if you need it.

4 Ways to Drink More Water

Are you struggling to drink more water each day? Here are my top 4 tips for drinking more water.

Start Early. Start each morning by drinking at least 2 cups of water before you eat or drink anything else. Doing so will hydrate you and get your day started right.

Use a Reusable Water Bottle. Purchase a large, reusable water bottle to keep with you to sip on water throughout the day. Look for a water bottle that has measurements so that you can track your intake throughout the day.

Drink Before Eating. Before you begin to eat a snack or meal, drink at least 1 cup of water. This will help you get in more water before you become too full of food.

Make it a Habit. Make a habit of drinking water while doing other daily tasks. For example, drink water while you feed your child, read emails, or drive home from work.

Do you have other creative tips that help you drink more water?  Leave a comment and let others know about it!

The Good Fats

Not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats help support heart health, decrease inflammation, and support neurological health in adults.  In children, healthy fats are crucial for growth and healthy brain development.  The following foods are examples of healthy fats to include for yourself and your family!

Omega-3 Fats (a type of polyunsaturated fat)

Found in:

  • Fatty Fish– salmon, tuna, trout, herring, sardines and mackerel are examples of fatty fish. Try to have fish at least twice a week.
  • Walnuts– add 1 oz walnuts to cereal or salads, or eat raw as a snack.
  • Flaxseed– add 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to cereals, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or baked goods. Be sure to start with a small amount of flaxseed and gradually increase the amount you consume.  Too much too fast may cause digestive problems.  Do not consume more than 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily.
  • Canola Oil– substitute canola oil for butter or margarine when cooking.

 

Monounsaturated Fats

Found in:

  • Nuts– enjoy a 1 oz portion of nuts as a snack, make your own trail mix, or add nuts to a salad.
  • Olive Oil– replace solid fats with olive oil while cooking.
  • Avocado– add avocado to salads, pizza, salsa, or sandwiches.
  • Nut Butters (peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, etc.)– enjoy a 2 tablespoon serving size of natural nut butter. Try nut butters on fruits and vegetables, crackers, and in smoothies.

Immune-Boosting Nutrition

It’s that time of year again– cold and flu season. Eat the right foods to boost your immune system and help your body fight off seasonal illnesses.  Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc have important roles in immunity.  The following foods are chock full of these immune-boosting nutrients, so be sure to include them daily.

Vitamin A

Recommended Dietary Allowance*: male 900 mcg (micrograms); female 700 mcg

Selected Food Sources and Vitamin A Content:

  • 1 whole sweet potato- 1,400 mcg
  • ½ cup cooked spinach- 573 mcg
  • ½ cup raw carrots- 459 mcg
  • 1 cup cow’s milk- 149 mcg
  • 1 mango- 112 mcg

Vitamin C

Recommended Dietary Allowance: male 90 mg (milligrams); female 75 mg

Selected Food Sources and Vitamin C Content:

  • ½ cup red pepper, raw- 95 mg
  • 1 medium orange- 70 mg
  • ¾ cup orange juice- 93 mg
  • ½ cup cooked broccoli- 51 mg
  • ½ cup strawberries- 49 mg
  • ½ cup cooked cabbage- 28 mg

Vitamin E

Recommended Dietary Allowance: male 15 mg; female 15 mg

Selected Food Sources and Vitamin E Content:

  • 1 oz sunflower seeds- 7.4 mg
  • 1 oz almonds- 6.8 mg
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter- 2.9 mg
  • ½ cup boiled spinach- 1.9 mg
  • ½ cup boiled broccoli- 1.2 mg

Zinc

Recommended Dietary Allowance: male 11 mg; female 8 mg

Selected Food Sources and Zinc Content:

  • 3 oz beef- 7 mg
  • 3 oz crab- 6.5 mg
  • ½ cup baked beans- 2.9 mg
  • 8 oz yogurt- 1.7 mg
  • 1 oz cashews- 1.6 mg
  • ½ cup chickpeas- 1.3 mg

*All Recommend Dietary Allowances listed are for non-pregnant, non-lactating adults.

Source: ods.od.nih.gov