Written by Kait Fowlie
January—the month of fresh starts and health kicks! Too bad it’s bleak as hell outside and getting out of bed in the morning is about as inspiring as the morning after New Year’s Eve…
So, here’s the deal: getting your healthy resolutions under way isn’t about waiting for the motivation to make them happen, it’s about building up momentum. By taking one small step at a time, you’ll build up your own wave of motivation. Soon enough, your resolutions will be happening without as much effort. Here are 8 small steps to get you started.
1. Start the morning off right. Eat within 1 hour of waking to kick-start your metabolism for the day and keep your insulin and blood sugar levels regulated. In winter, the key is waking up to a breakfast you’ll want to get out of bed for, and make sure it’s quick and easy.
Stock your kitchen with low-prep sources of whole grains, fruit, healthy fats and protein sources so you’re always prepared. Try this home-made instant oatmeal mix you can add fruit/nuts/yogurt to as you want.
2. Drink more water. How much water you need changes from individual to individual based on how much you exercise, the climate you live in, your health, etc. Generally, drink enough water to keep your urine colourless. Seriously—have a look, this is important. Don’t slug away at chugging back water if you hate it. Keep a water bottle at your desk and send you kid off to school with one in their backpack and fill it with lemon and lime slice, cucumber slices, fresh basil or berries.
3. Make friends with salad. The mason jar layered salad hack makes bringing a salad to work/school much easier and more appealing for kids. Layer a mason jar with your favourite wet ingredients on the bottom (tomatoes, cucumbers), put in a barrier layer (shredded carrots or dried fruits), then lettuce, then dry toppings on top (cheese, croutons, seeds). The more colourful, the better!
Make the most of your salads by swapping your regular greens for super dark leafy greens; they pack a more vitamin-rich punch than lighter greens like iceberg lettuce. Have your greens washed, chopped and accessible in the fridge. Add a sprinkle of pine nuts, chopped almonds, or whatever nuts you’ve got on hand to add some healthy fats, and a sprinkle of dried cranberries or blueberries to add some antioxidants.
4. Make your bedroom a sleep haven. The benefits of sleep to your health include a stronger immune system, clearer focus and more energy during the day, to name a few. We all know this—but getting the full eight hours doesn’t necessarily come easy. Freeing your bedroom of electronics, TV, work, etc. will make the environment much more conducive to sleep. Make a family pact to turn off all electronics an hour before bed and switch to low-tech activities.
5. Work out together. There are many options for high and low impact winter workouts you can do with your kids including workout videos, yoga, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hide and seek, and many more. To change up your routine, write different workout ideas on popsicle sticks and draw them from a cup.
6. Cook more. Get in the kitchen and teach your kids some cooking skills! For those of you who have resolved to get in the kitchen more this year, we’ve got plenty of ideas that make your kitchen tie quicker, cheaper, and tastier. Cooking at home has proven to save you money and be healthier. Follow us on Pinterest for Lunchbox creations and other recipes you can make with kids.
7. Find your favourite superfoods. When it comes to changing your habits, it’s a lot easier to “do something” then to not do something. Swapping not-so-good food items with super foods is a tasty way to feel awesome about your choices. There are a good many delicious options—kale (in chip form), sweet potatoes, blueberries, dark chocolate, pistachio. Find the ones that are easy for you to eat and stock up.
8. Take Vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” isn’t found in many foods, but can be found in cow’s milk, fortified soy and rice beverages, fortified orange juice, and egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon and sardines. The recommended dose for children 0-1 year old is 400 IU, everyone else should be taking 600 IU per day. Make sure you and your kids get enough this winter!
Are you resolving to be healthier this year? Let us know how you’re staying motivated in the comments, below! We wish you the best of luck and inspiration!