Have a Busy Family? Try These Simple Tips To Fit in Healthy Habits

Family mixing cookie dough at home

11 tips to help you and your family get your week off to a healthy start

Juggling family, work and a social life can make it hard to eat healthy or prioritize healthy activities.

But even the busiest moms — and families — can cook up a plan that works.

Try these tips to make time for nutritious meals and healthy habits:

  1. Do what works for you: Unrealistic advice and expensive organizational systems are useless if they don’t fit your needs for your family.

  2. Know your schedule: Create a calendar of everyone’s upcoming events, deadlines and special occasions. This helps you find pockets of time for prep work. Weekends are usually ideal but choose the day and time when you’re most productive.

  3. Gather your supplies for prepping in advance: Consider what will simplify your prep work and have those items on hand. Freezer-safe containers can store extra meals and labeled storage bins can help you organize every family member’s essential items – both for meals and activities – to make the day flow smoothly.

  4. Get the whole family involved: Assign kid-friendly duties such as filling lunch bags or cleaning produce. Involving everyone in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking will mean less work and more time for family fun.

  5. Set a timer: Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Give yourself a limited time, say 15 minutes, and do as much prep work, laundry or organizing as you can.

  6. Simplify meal planning: Make less work for yourself, not more. Take shortcuts and find easy solutions. Pick meals that require minimal effort. Who knows — it may allow you enough time to take a long, relaxing bubble bath? Keep a list of your family’s favorite meals that you can rotate regularly. Or start a new family tradition and consider having a recurring themed dinner. How about a Monday Make-Your-Own Sandwich Night or a Sunday Spaghetti Night?

  7. Team up with a friend for an occasional freezer-meal party: Instead of just planning one meal at a time, double or triple recipes to store for the weeks that you’re even busier.

  8. Stock the pantry: Buy items that your family uses in bulk. Divide snacks into smaller containers as soon as you get home from the grocery store. (This is a great kid-friendly task!) Create a grab-and-go station with healthy foods that are easy for the whole family to reach.

  9. Think outside the home: Make sure your healthy prep work doesn’t end when you walk out the door. Pack a bag of nutritious snacks. Put extra exercise clothes in your car, at work or anywhere else you’re likely to need them. That way, you can engage in healthy habits when the opportunity arises.

  10. Make a date with yourself: If you struggle to find time for healthy habits, such as exercising or getting enough sleep, schedule the time on your calendar or set phone alerts to remind you. Treat these “appointments” like an important business meeting that can’t be canceled. Add reminders for those things that you know you need to do every day, but often resist. Maybe it’s stretching, flossing or meditating. Then follow through when you get the alert.

  11. Prep before bed: For a calmer morning, have each family member set out their backpacks and clothes for the next day. (Some early risers may even want to sleep in their workout clothes so there’s one less excuse to not exercise when the alarm goes off.) Indulge in a calming bedtime routine such as reading, journaling or listening to a calming podcast. Then, enjoy sweet dreams about how you’re prepared and organized!