The Secrets to Creating More Time for Healthy Living

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to make healthy meals and get the exercise you need? A little bit of planning and organization can really help decrease the feelings of being overwhelmed, overscheduled and just not getting enough “you-time.”

Here Are 10 Steps You Can Take to Create More Time for Healthy Living

1. Schedule ahead

Every evening, jot down the things you want to accomplish the next day, even organizing them into timeslots. A sample schedule may include:

8:00 am:                Run or walk around the neighborhood;
11:00 am:               Clean the bathroom;
3:00 pm:                Play basketball outside with the kids;
5:00 pm:                Start cooking dinner.

By assigning concrete times for each thing you want to accomplish, you’ll be less likely to put it off until the next day.

2. Meal plan each week & shop ahead of time

If you struggle to come up with new ideas every week, or aren’t interested in meal planning, consider joining a meal planning site. For just a few dollars a month you can get pre-made meal plans and shopping lists for your family.

Whether this option is right for you or not the important part is having a plan. This can even mean planning which night or nights you’ll dine out, and which nights you’ll cook at home.

For weeks when you don’t plan ahead, before heading out to work or to taking the kids to school, open up your cabinets and see what’s in stock. Just taking out the rice and getting it ready in the rice cooker or defrosting some vegetables is a time saver for meal prep later on. See these 6 tips to making meal planning easier.

3. Repurpose leftovers at breakfast or lunch

Dinner leftovers can make great breakfasts and lunches! Serve leftover roasted potatoes as a side with eggs, use shredded or sliced roasted chicken in sandwiches or salad, or sprinkle leftover chopped herbs into a frittata or salad.

You can also save extra chopped veggies from dinner to use later. Did your dinner recipe only call for half an onion? Slice the other half up for sandwiches, or dice for egg scrambles.

4. Cook & clean with the kids

Make chores fun! Take turns playing your favorite songs while you dance around and dust, sweep or fold laundry. Make cooking fun by creating food art and then eating it together, or letting your children pick out the recipes one night each week. Take the opportunity to teach math skills when measuring and weighing ingredients and enjoy spending some quality time together.

5. Combine fitness with other activities

Try to avoid excess sitting if you can avoid it. We spend way too much time doing sedentary activities as it is! If you’re watching TV, hop on an exercise bike for the duration of your favorite show.

If you’re washing dishes, do isometric exercises with your core and legs while you finish up a load. If you’re playing with young kids, raise and lower them with your legs- they’ll love it! Check out these tips on exercising as a family.

6. Cut back on mindless surfing on the net or TV

Instead, pre-record your favorite shows or watch them on demand to avoid over-watching. For the net, try to visit your favorite sites with intention. Cutting back on your technology use by just ten minutes a day frees up ten minutes for you to squeeze in some at-home exercises, including jumping jacks, sit-ups, squats, leg raises, curls, lunges or pushups.

7. Work movement into your plans

If possible, plan to walk or bike to do errands on weekends when you have a little more time. Instead of a coffee or happy hour date with your friends, plan a hike or walk around the neighborhood instead. Going out to eat? Walk to dinner with your entire family. These small changes really set you up to make healthier choices for the rest of the day.

8. Make one day each weekend an active family day

Instead of going to the movies or playing video games, get outside and get active! Visit the park, walk around a museum, hike, or go swimming. If you have outdoor space, play Frisbee, hopscotch, or jump rope. You can even set up a badminton net or ping-pong table if you have the space!

9. Sign up for fitness classes

If you have trouble prioritizing time for yourself, create a weekly commitment by enrolling in fitness classes. Try a few varieties until you find one you enjoy and look forward to each week. Yoga, pilates, tai chi, aerobics, interval training, cross fit, and running clubs are all options to try. Since you’ll be paying money each week, you’ll be much more likely to go! Sign-up with a friend to increase your commitment even more.

10. Change your outlook

Simply by changing the way you think about your to-do list can have a HUGE impact on your mood. Rather than thinking about your to-do list as things you have to do, think of them as things you want to do.

If you ever find yourself slipping back into negative thinking patterns, pause and quickly jot down five things you are grateful for in your life. It’s a great perspective shifter and mood booster! If you’re a new parent, and trying to get back on track with healthier living, check out these helpful tips on achieving balance.

Here are just 10 possibilities to create more time for healthier living. Take the time to commit to just one this week! Once you make the commitment to living healthier there’s no turning back. You’ll be addicted to just how great you feel.

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