As those of you who visit here regularly know, I frequently post about my clean eating journeys, and also about how important it is to me for my kids to eat wholesome meals and snacks. Admittedly though, we fall off the wagon (and often) – both in terms of choosing healthy foods and when it comes to making health conscious lifestyle choices in general. Thankfully, after paying closer attention to when and why these hiccups occur, I’ve discovered a pattern to this act of getting lazy and giving in, and it’s always when we’ve been depriving ourselves of indulgences. I’ve learned that by allowing ourselves some (much deserved!) indulgences – but in ways that are good for us – we’re more likely to stick to healthy routines.
1. Watch a silly movie or television show. I wish I could say my kids had no interest in screen time, but they do. Big time. I try to limit it and mainly allow only educational shows, but it seems like when I’m being especially stringent about it, they ask for those silly shows more and more. By allowing them to watch those not-so-educational programs now and them, they seem to ask for them less and stick more to the shows where they’re learning (or even better, no screen time at all) the rest of the time. The same applies to my husband and myself. We have very little time to watch movies or Netflix together, and when we do we tend to stick to documentaries or more serious shows. But I find myself craving entertainment that is less heavy, and when we watch the occasional “bad tv” or shows that are “dumb” but make us laugh, I notice myself actually feeling less stressed. Sometimes not thinking and just enjoying some light entertainment for a little while can make a positive impact on our overall mental health.
2. Take baths. Before I had kids, I took baths all the time. I mean all the time. Now I’m lucky if I have time to take a 5 minute shower. Baths may take more time, but they’re easy ways to treat yourself, and they’re good for you. I feel so much more relaxed – physically and mentally – after I take even just a short bath. My kids love them too! They look at them as fun water play time (where they just happen to get clean). Baths rule.
3. Eat cookies. Yes, you read that right. The greatest reason for me to fail at clean eating challenges is completely depriving myself from sweets. Along the same lines, my little ones start to obsessively beg for sweet treats when they haven’t been allowed to have them for a while. My solution is to indulge in our current favorite, the original superfood cookie, Sejoyia Coco-Roons. These super delicious, organic, gluten free, vegan, paleo, non-GMO (should I go on?) cookies satisfy our treat cravings without any refined sugar. They’re made with ingredients you can actually pronounce, like yummy coconut and cashews and pure, organic maple syrup, and they provide nutritional value. Oh yeah, and they’re produced with 100% wind power too. My favorite is Lemon Pie (so light and refreshing!), and my kids love Brownie (made from raw, organic cocoa!). We get our Coco-Roons at Walmart, in the gluten-free set. You guys need to try them. They’re genuinely the perfect way to give into treat cravings without the guilt
4. Daydream. You read all the time about how preschools are focusing more on playtime than structured learning these days, and I think the same can apply to adults. My kids are way more likely to sit down and read books or (for my 3.5 year old) practice writing if I give them time to just use their imaginations and play how they want to play the rest of the time. And I notice that when I allow myself to just spend a few minutes closing my eyes and daydreaming, I’m more focused on work and things that need to get done the rest of the time.
5. Focus on moderation. There is something to be said for the expression “everything in moderation.” Give yourself a break, man. If you want to have a ladies night complete with lots of wine now and then, go for it. If you want to eat something unhealthy on occasion, it’s okay.
6. Take an exercise break and just play outside instead. Our family is pretty good at getting regular exercise – my husband is runner, Essley is in dance, gymnastics, and soccer, and I do yoga (and when I’m being good, run or do occasional cardio). I’m admittedly not a natural athlete (or a big fan of exercise, if we’re being honest), and structured workouts get old fast – sometimes to the point where I just stop doing them, for weeks (or even months). I’ve noticed though if I give myself days off from working out (especially when I’m really not feeling it) and just give myself some time outside (to take walks, to chase my kids around, etc.), I feel more motivated to get back to a regular workout routine in general. The same applies to my husband and kids. I firmly believed that outdoor playtime is one of the healthiest indulgences you can give yourself.
How do you allow yourself (and/or your kids) indulgences without falling off the health wagon? Who else is a Coco-Roons fan? (P.S. Take advantage of the $ 0.75 off ibotta offer when you purchase 1 Sejoyia Coco-Roons at Walmart, while supplies last! Also, get an additional $ .50 for redeeming the rebate on 3 different shopping trips! Woohoo!)