This Banana Oat Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie is one of the 10 Wellness Life Hacks for Moms that will get you on the right track. Sponsored by Silk.
As a mom of four boys, three of whom are now in college, I’ve learned a lot over the years. Being a mom can be one of the most rewarding experiences, and at the same time, one of the most under-appreciated jobs around. Although my older three boys took a lot for granted when they were living at home, I know they now really appreciate everything I did for them all these years. Funny how things work…you want them to appreciate you when they’re under the same roof, but they don’t really get it until they fly the coup.
Moms can’t afford to get sick because when mom’s not operating at 100%, neither is the family. So, today, I’m sharing ten life hacks that have helped me stay healthy through the past 20+ years of being a mom. With one pre-teen left at home, I have a lot of experience under my belt, but I know there’s always room to grow.
1. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should contain a good dose of protein, and if possible, some whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I used to make sure my kids ate something healthy for breakfast, but in the rush of getting the kids out the door, I’d forget to eat myself, then found myself starving mid-morning. Now, I make it a point to eat something as soon as I get my son to the bus stop. Here are some of my recent favorites for breakfast. You’ll see they’re all very simple but get the job done. The key is to make every bite count.
- Banana Oat Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie (recipe below)
This smoothie is packed with goodness – protein from Silk organic soy milk, peanut butter, and oats, potassium from the bananas, and deliciously rich cocoa. You’ll get 45% of your calcium daily requirement and 13.5 grams of protein from a glass of this smoothie in the morning. And, because all the ingredients are plant based, there’s no cholesterol. You can learn more about Silk’s plant based soy milk here.
- Smashed Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Tomato or Smashed Miso Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Furikake
- 1 cup low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup fresh berries and 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- Gluten-free or whole grain toast with smashed avocado, sliced hard boiled egg, a few squirts of sriracha sauce
- Oatmeal in a Jar (these assemble ahead jars make breakfast a no brainer)
2. Sneak In Some Exercise Each Day
Toss a pair of sneakers in your bag and take a walk on your lunch hour, walk around your neighborhood after you drop your kids off to school or before the bus arrives, park your car in the farthest spot from the supermarket and walk (return your shopping cart to the store after you’re done for extra exercise), jog around the high school track during after-school activities while you’re waiting for your kids. On days where I can’t seem to fit in a walk, I’ve “played” an exercise video game on my kids’ Wii and done a quick workout before making dinner, or put on an exercise video in our basement after everyone’s settled down for the evening. I’ve even done leg kickbacks and squats standing in front of the computer. Most importantly, try to do something you enjoy.
3. Drink Plenty of Water During the Day
Staying hydrated boosts overall health and is critical to digestion. 8-9 eight-ounce glasses/day of fluids is recommended (water, herbal tea, fruit juice all count). Warm water at body temperature is supposed to be best for digestion, but don’t let that stop you from drinking water at whatever temperature you like. Drinking water doesn’t have to be boring. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator with cucumber slices, ginger and lemon (one of my friends treated me to a glass of this after our morning walk), or try strawberries and lime. Make a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon before the kids get off the bus. I used to go all day without drinking any water and ended up with a headache and feeling exhausted by the afternoon. Now, I make a point to drink a glass of water when I wake up, another mid-morning, and several glasses in the afternoon, in addition to mealtimes.
4. Set Aside Some Quiet Time for Yourself
Whether you have a baby, elementary school age children or teenagers, moms need a little down time. I used to try to get all my chores done while the kids were napping, hoping to squeeze in some “me” time before they woke up, and I rarely was able to because they would wake up before I had a chance to sit down. Whether you’re waiting at the bus stop 15 minutes before the kids get off, reading a book or magazine while your child is napping, or having a cup of tea or coffee at home before your kids make the mad dash into the house, a little downtime before the afternoon craziness or your baby’s fussy time begins (my youngest used to cry nonstop from 5-7PM) will help you get through the rest of the day.
5. Take a 20 Minute Power Nap
Try to sneak in a 20 minute power nap if you need to before the kids get home or while your baby is taking a nap. My youngest used to wake up at 5AM every morning and I’d take a quick nap between feeding him and the time my older kids got ready for school. There were also many days when I was in my car shuttling the kids around for 5 hours a day. I remember passing out in the carline or parking lot many a day. So, some days when I knew I was too exhausted to make it through the day without a nap, I’d set my alarm to go off in 20 minutes which made a whole world of difference.
6. Swap Greens and Veggies for High Carb Foods
Instead of pasta, swap in zucchini noodles, or in place of a bun, swap in leafy green baby kale or other tender greens. Check out my Buffalo Chicken Burger Salad as an example. You’ll be increasing the nutrient density of your meal while satisfying your taste buds.
7. Portion out Healthy Snacks for the Week
At the beginning of the week, portion out single size servings of nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit. During the course of the week when you’re making the kids’ meals, set aside extra servings of fresh vegetables to munch on the next day. Portion size is key so keep an eye on what you’re dishing out for yourself.
8. Get Enough Sleep This may seem obvious, but I have to force myself to go to bed earlier than I’d like just so I get the 7-8 hours I need to feel good the next day. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but getting your optimal amount on a consistent basis can make all the difference in your mood and energy level.
9. Plan For No-Fuss Dinners
There are going to days when you just don’t have time to cook or just don’t feel like it. Don’t beat yourself up. Serve leftovers, plan on having a few meals in the freezer ready-to-go (try this Cincinatti Chili), make slow cooker meals (two of our favorites are Black Bean Turkey Chili and Jamaican Chicken), repurpose leftovers (this is a good one ~ Triple Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake), make recipes that reheat easily (another family favorite ~ Turkey Bolognese), and have a handful of tried-and-true recipes (this is the easiest recipe ~ Tomato Paste Pasta) you can count on. Get inspiration from other busy moms who make easy healthy meals for their families (check out 100 Easy Healthy Back-To-School Chicken Recipes and 40 Easy Healthy Meatless Pasta Recipes).
10. Give Yourself Permission To Have Some Fun
As a mom, one of the hardest things I have trouble with is giving myself permission to have fun. There’s always something to do, whether it’s laundry, paying the bills, grocery shopping, or picking up the house. Although I still don’t do this enough, the times I’ve taken a time-out for myself have always been great for my mental health. Doing something for yourself will create more space for doing more for your family.
I’d love to hear what your wellness hacks are! Let me know in the comments.
Banana Oat Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
- 1 cup Vanilla Soy Milk
- 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
- 2 tablespoons oats
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter or other nut/seed butter
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
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