You start with the best of weight loss intentions: you pick up fresh veggies at your local market, print out healthy recipes and invest in an air fryer. You even dug out your sneakers and placed them front and center on the shoe rack for added inspiration. But then, life happens: work, laundry, kids needing help with school projects, errands and appointments. Add in a curveball: maybe your little ones are now learning remotely while you’re working from home. Suddenly, all of your get-healthy plans disappear to the bottom of your to-do list. Get back on track with these nine weight loss tips to help even the busiest moms and dads stay healthy:
Whether you’re a working or stay-at-home parent, have babies or school-aged kids, it can be tough to stay focused on eating right and working out when you’re so busy raising a family. But it is possible with some small steps, tweaks to your routine and a little extra help from Nutrisystem.
1. Simplify your morning meal.
You know you need breakfast to get your body going and stave off midday cravings. You also know that your mornings are often bananas: the dog needs walking, lunches need preparing and your kids have to get out to school on time (or plugged in and ready for online learning at home). Therefore, the chances of you having time to cook a healthy breakfast are slim to none. Enter: ready-to-eat options from Nutrisystem!
From warm egg sandwiches and tasty muffins to bagels and hearty bars, these delicious breakfasts require minimal to no prep. They’re perfectly portioned for weight loss and can help busy moms and dads have a successful day.
2. Drink more water.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the benefits of drinking water are plentiful. It aids in healthy digestion, protects organs, regulates body temperature, cushions joints and more. Water may also help with weight loss: people sometimes confuse thirst for hunger, when all you might need is a glass of water to feel full. Plus, it’s important to drink water during exercise to replace the fluids you lose when you sweat, according to Mayo Clinic. Granted, when you’re busy running around, the last thing on your mind is your hydration level. “People often forget to drink water when they are busy,” says University of California, Berkley. Let your phone do the thinking for you: set an alarm to chime every hour—and take that as your cue to drink. The NuMi app by Nutrisystem has a great “Reminder” feature that can help! Check out the other simple hydration hacks below to help you drink more water:
3. Work out in 10-minute sets.
Thirty minutes of exercise every day is the goal. However, carving out that chunk of time doesn’t always happen. Ten minutes is much more manageable—and if you do it three times a day, you get the same health benefits. According to Mayo Clinic, regular physical activity can help with weight control, ward off disease, boost mood, increase energy and improve sleep.
4. Forgive a slip-up.
Like you tell your kids to learn from a mistake and just do better next time, you should extend yourself the same courtesy. One misstep on your weight loss journey should not pave the way to a full-blown binge. Give yourself a break from perfection and just consider every decision you make moving forward as another chance to do something healthy.
5. Keep healthy food within sight.
That could be a bunch of bananas on your kitchen counter or a stash of White Cheddar Popcorn on your work desk. Not only does it save you the time rifling through the pantry or fridge for a snack, but it could also help you lose weight: a Cornell study found that women who kept a bowl of fruit where they could see it weighed an average of 13 pounds less than those who didn’t. The study also found that normal-weight women were more likely to have a designated cupboard for snack items than those who are obese. This is one of our favorite simple weight loss tricks for busy moms and dads.
6. Stand up.
It’s that simple to burn some extra calories. Consider this: in an hour, the average 170-pound person burns over 70 more calories by simply standing instead of sitting, says StartStanding.org. Take any opportunity you can to get up off your chair and onto your feet—such as when you’re helping the kids with homework, talking on the phone or during a staff meeting with the office. That little movement not only helps you lose weight, but it may also help reduce your risk of more serious conditions. According to Mayo Clinic, “Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
7. Make smart fast-food choices.
Some days the best you can do is drive-through for dinner, and that’s quite all right. An occasional fast food meal or restaurant take-out on particularly crazy days won’t derail your diet. Just be sure to choose wisely: John Hopkins Medicine recommends choosing grilled chicken instead of fried and a kids’ size French fry instead of large. You should also ask for special sauces on the side so that you can better control your calorie intake. Check out our handy guide to better understand what you should order and avoid while ordering fast food.
8. Opt for a one-pot meal.
For the nights when you crave a home-cooked meal but are short on time, these piping hot, one-dish meals are an excellent dinner choice. From seafood paella to slow cooker chicken gumbo and butternut squash turkey chili, you can toss each recipe together in a flash (and clean-up is quick!). Plus, these dishes are balanced with protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates that fit perfectly into your Nutrisystem plan.
9. Give yourself a bedtime.
Just like you do for your kids, create your own sleeping schedule to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning—and stick to it every day. That’s one way to help your body gets the rest it needs, says the National Sleep Foundation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Of course, when you’re cramming a million to-dos into not enough hours, you may be tempted to stay up late on some nights, or even wake up super early on other mornings to get everything done. You need enough quality shut-eye for lots of reasons—one of which is to help keep your weight loss on track. Skimp on sleep and you may lack the energy to stay active or crave sugary and fatty foods that will help you stay awake.