Changing daily routines to increase healthy eating and physical activity takes a little effort and practice.
1. Focus on preventing weight gain, rather than weight loss
The first step in improving your health is simply to prevent weight gain.
2. Make long term plans for a healthier lifestyle
Set a realistic health goal, make a plan, find a friend to support you and monitor what you do. Try the 10-week plan from the Dietitians Association of Australia or get help from an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
3. Reschedule your day
Schedule a walk in the morning when you have more energy and leave housework until the afternoon. Even a 10-minute walk in the fresh air will make you feel more energised and help you to perform better all day. Meet a friend in the park and take turns to watch the children while the other person walks.
4. Eat breakfast every day
Breakfast is a good source of carbohydrates and B-group vitamins for energy, a source of calcium for bones and provides fibre for bowel health. Eat wholegrain cereal, wholemeal bread, low fat milk and fruit. Avoid sweet, honey-toasted, crunchy cereals.
5. Have lunch with your kids
Eat like your children at lunchtime, Have a sandwich with salad and lean meat or tuna, some fruit and some low fat milk, yoghurt or cheese for bone-strengthening calcium.
6. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates
Don’t be too strict with carbohydrates, particularly if you often feel tired in the afternoon. Bread and cereals – especially wholemeal varieties – are important for nutrition and energy.
7. Decrease saturated fat and eat more fruits and vegetables every day
Choose lower fat versions of three foods you eat often, such as lean meats and low fat dairy foods, and increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
8. Move more every day in as many ways as possible
While your children are playing outside steal their skipping rope and skip for five minutes, or do step-ups on a back step. Walk to the shops or to school with your children.
9. Eat regular meals and eat only when hungry
You will have more success in managing your weight if you have regular meals and healthy snacks and avoid eating because you are tired, alone, upset or anxious.
10. Plan ahead for changes to your exercise and eating routine
Watch for times when your eating and activity routine changes – such as during school holidays. Plan ahead for how you will maintain some exercise then, whether that’s walking, dancing, swimming, cycling or surfing. Include healthy foods in your diet daily during these times and then you can enjoy some treats.