First came "The Baby Food" diet. Then, just "The Baby Diet". Both of these diets are rooted in one basic principle: The time and care we take to make sure our children eat balanced, nutritious meals needs to be spent on our own plates as well!
But if images of dull pureed lumps of vegetables make you turn as green as your child's peas, then fear not. Even if you have children that are still enjoying their meals from a food processor or a jar, you can feed everyone the same foods, just prepared in slightly different ways.
My "Whole Family" Diet is based on the idea that the family needs to eat together at least a few times a week, with the same foods on everyone's plate. When we take as much care to feed ourselves the same foods as our children, we eat healthier and take in more nutrients. When our children see that their plates are the same as ours, they are more likely to grow up with a more developed pallet and an appreciation for good foods, especially when they reach the age where they can help in the kitchen and take ownership of the food they prepare.
Bonus: All of these meals can be prepared in about 30 minutes!
It's that time of year again! We're running around trying to get everything done between work deadlines, holiday parties, and traveling to see everyone before the year is over. It feels like everywhere we turn there is another batch of cookies to bake or begging to be consumed. And no matter how deep a clean the house just received, it's mere minutes before it looks like it's been stampeded through by a herd of muddy elephants.
Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be OK.
I want to offer you my tried and true Holiday Survival Guide. Because even though I am a fitness professional, I too struggle to find even minutes to exercise some days. But here's the thing; even if I don't do everything I want to do, sometimes just carving out a few minutes for squats and push ups is all I need to stay on track with my own fitness. Here, I'll tell you how you can not only maintain your own routine, but set yourself up for success come January 1st!
1. Use your calendar to schedule your workouts. By booking yourself ahead of time, when you get that email or pop-up notification, you'll know it's time to tie up your shoes and hit the road or the gym. Even if it's just twenty minutes that you take at home in between morning appointments and picking the kids up from school, that's plenty of time to do several body weight exercises and keep the muscles engaged. That is far better than just giving up on sweating altogether from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve. Plan a small amount of activity for at least 3 days a week, and try to carve out one solid hour for yourself on the weekend. Take that hour to go to a yoga class, take a long walk in the woods, or sweat it out hardcore on the bike. Whatever suits you.
Energy balance - the amount of food that you take in compared to the number of calories you burn - is perhaps the most vital component of living a fit, active, healthy lifestyle. Consume too many calories without enough activity, and you gain weight in the form of increased body fat. If you don't consume enough calories, you will not have the energy to support the physiological adaptations to exercise, or more simply put, muscle growth.
Last week I talked about safely cutting calories through simple, sensible food choices while increasing one's activity level by a moderate amount to eliminate 500 calories a day and lose one pound per week. For basic weight loss, this is the best approach to help retrain the body's metabolism and ensure that one eats enough to sustain a certain level of activity. But what if weight gain is the goal? If someone wants or needs to build muscle mass, she needs a caloric surplus.
Since I started my own fitness journey, I have maintained a philosophy that when it comes to dieting, a "diet" is never the way to go. Having spent a year in Germany and time in other European countries, not to mention having worked in Spanish, Southern, Steak-house, and Italian restaurants, I have had way too many amazing plates to ever want to deny myself delicious foods.
Restriction has never been my thing. Rather, when I knew I had to make some changes to improve my overall health, I decided the best way to do it was to look at what I needed to add, not what I had to take away. Looking at the recommendations for fruit and vegetable servings alone from the old food pyramid, I realized that if I met my daily requirements I would simply be too full for a lot of the other junk I was eating at the time.
The food pyramid has changed over time, which can get a little confusing.