Ah, vacation. It’s the break most of us look forward to every year. A time when we can press pause on our busy lives and put our never-ending to-do list on hold. A time when we’re supposed to relax and recharge. However, because vacations take us out of our usual routine, staying healthy while traveling can prove challenging.
So how can you enjoy your break from reality without hindering your weight loss progress? We’ve compiled six healthy travel tips to help you stay on track—from eating healthy on vacation to staying fit while on the road. So that no matter where you are, you can feel good about keeping up your healthy lifestyle—while still enjoying everything vacation has to offer.
1. Be Conscious of What You Eat
If thoughts of vacation bring-to-mind decadent meals, you aren’t alone. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself in moderate amounts, being conscientious of the food you’re consuming during a trip can help you stay on track. Try to opt for healthy food choices the majority of the time—and load up on extra veggies when you can, so that you’re consuming good nutrients that help support satiety. When it comes to the occasional indulgence, try a couple of mindful eating practices—savor each bite and enjoy the experience with those around you.
It’s also common to eat out frequently while traveling or on vacation. And while you may try to choose the healthiest looking dish on the menu, restaurants typically serve high-calorie dressings and include extra cheese and butter in their meals.1 There are several tips for dining out while trying to lose weight, but a few simple ones include planning ahead, making substitutions and asking for the dressing on the side. Another tip: don’t be afraid to ask about the menu! It’s easier to make smart choices when you know what’s going on your plate.
2. Start Your Day with Breakfast
While there are numerous benefits of eating breakfast, one of the best reasons to fuel up in the morning is to potentially stave off hunger later in the day, furthering your weight loss efforts. By front-loading your calories, you may be less likely to reach for late-night snacks. One study found that those who ate more calories in the morning compared to those who ate more at night experienced almost a two and a half times greater weight loss.2
3. Sleep Well
While it may be tempting to stay up late and sleep until noon during vacation, it may not be doing your body any favors. When your sleep schedule is inconsistent it can affect your natural circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences defines circadian rhythms as one’s mental, behavioral and physical changes over a 24-hour cycle.3 The patterns are typically divided into two 12-hour periods, which are dictated by daytime and nighttime. Usually, you’re likely to follow this rhythm by being most active during daylight hours and then allowing your body to rest and recover during sleep. However, when you stay up late or sleep well into the day, you may be throwing off your natural rhythm.
What happens when your rhythm is out of whack? It may impact your health—chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and depression have been linked to irregular circadian rhythm patterns.4 What’s more, your circadian rhythm could affect your metabolism. One study found that people experienced a drop in their metabolism when they reduced their sleep to four hours a night.5
As tempting as it may be to throw caution to the wind when it comes to your sleep schedule on vacation, try to stick to a routine. Your body will thank you!
4. Stay Hydrated
Did you know your body is made up of almost 60% water?6 Staying hydrated not only helps keep your body functioning properly, it could also be beneficial for weight management.7 While it can be easy to forget to sip water when you’re on the road, try making a reusable water bottle your new travel companion. An added bonus: it may help you save money if you’re not spending it on plastic water bottles. Lastly, when thirst calls, try to avoid reaching for juices, blended drinks and regular sodas. These beverages are typically loaded with empty calories and sugar.8
5. Walk When You Can
Opt to walk instead of drive when you’re on vacation. Not only does walking help burn calories,9
but it can also be a great way to experience your destination. If you aren’t pressed for time and you’re in a safe area, skip hailing a cab and explore by foot!
Another way to sneak in exercise while traveling is to take the stairs. As tempting as it may be to hop in the elevator, taking the stairs is a quick and easy form of cardio that gives your heart rate a boost and gets your muscles working.10 It’s a practical way to keep active while you’re on vacation and you can do it almost anywhere!
6. Try Something New That Gets You Moving
Traveling is the perfect opportunity to try new things. If you’re on a tropical getaway, you can try snorkeling or paddle boarding. If you’re enjoying a winter escape, consider skiing or snowboarding. These activities can not only help you stay active, but you could also pick up a new hobby!
No matter what you do, or where you go, vacations are a chance to unwind and rejuvenate. Take the time to focus on you while staying on track with your wellness goals. Use these healthy travel tips for your next vacation or any other trip you may have lined up—they can work all year round.
Learn how Jenny Craig can help you get started on your weight loss goals whether it’s for your next vacation, a big event, or to live a healthier lifestyle. Book a free appointment to get started.
You’ve probably heard of the word “mindfulness,” but what exactly does it mean? Mindfulness involves maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings, and environment.1 It’s also a practice that may help improve your life and enhance your weight loss efforts.
Implementing mindfulness techniques into your daily routine may bring more than just awareness, they may also help with your weight loss journey.2 And while you can find a wealth of mindfulness techniques and tips online, it can be overwhelming to sort through all of them. So, to help take the guesswork out of determining which mindfulness tips are useful, we’re sharing our top seven. Read on to learn ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine!
1. Get in Touch With Yourself
Part of mindfulness involves understanding your body and how you are feeling in the moment. Keeping a journal is a great way to track your eating habits and emotions and may even be a way to further your weight loss goals.3 Not only can journaling help you to become more mindful by providing you insights into your eating patterns, but it’s also a great way to de-stress.4
Keeping a written diary can also help you identify causes for emotions, such as anxiety and sadness which have the ability to impact your eating habits.5 Identifying these feelings can help you take steps to change any practices that aren’t positively serving you.
2. Avoid Digital Distractions
While we all live in a digital world, if you start your day by checking your phone, it might be beneficial to adopt a new morning routine. Instead of scrolling through your social media feed first thing, try something that will leave you feeling productive and accomplished.6 Going for a quick walk with your morning coffee is a great way to get your thoughts organized for the day, plus you’ll be sneaking in some activity!
The mornings aren’t the only time to limit your screen activity. Avoiding your phone during meals can help you eat more mindfully. When you’re distracted during a meal, studies have found you may tend to eat more.7 By focusing on the food in front of you, you’ll have fewer distractions, and it may help you savor your food and eat less.6
3. Take a Deep Breath
You’ve likely heard to take a deep breath when you’re stressed—and research supports this suggestion.8 Because food can be used as a way to cope with emotions, various stress-relieving techniques may help with weight loss.9
One great breathing exercise is diaphragmatic breathing. Begin by breathing in slowly, focusing on filling your belly, not your chest with air. Then, calmly exhale. Pause briefly before taking your next slow inhale. After a few of these breaths, you may feel much calmer.
4. Set Aside Time To Meditate
Adopting mindfulness meditation techniques may help you get in touch with yourself and the present moment. The goal isn’t to change anything, but to become aware of what is happening in the here and now.11 Think of it as living and focusing in the moment.
The best part about meditation is it doesn’t require any fancy equipment—you just need yourself and a quiet space.
Try this: find a peaceful place to sit, and then pay precise, but nonjudgmental attention to the details around you. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your body and environment. Meditation will become more natural over time, and it can help you connect with yourself and your thoughts.
5. Find Acceptance
As important as self-improvement is, sometimes it’s just as valuable to find acceptance in our positive attributes. It’s normal to want to change some things about yourself or your life. But when we focus only on what we want to change, we can sometimes forget about our unique gifts—what makes you, you.
Focus on what you like about yourself—and surround yourself with people who accept you and share your values. This provides an excellent foundation for strong self-confidence and may actually help you achieve your goals.
6. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating involves several components, including taking time to enjoy your food, eating more slowly to savor every bite and recognizing when you’re tempted to eat for reasons other than hunger.
When you practice mindful eating, you can shift your focus on enjoying foods that nourish your body. Being mindful can allow you to focus on your meal, helping you to enjoy your food even more!
7. Visualize Success
Your mind is a powerful tool, so use it to your advantage. If you feel discouraged, close your eyes and visualize yourself achieving your goals. Even when your aspirations seem out of reach, visualizing them can help you refocus and may bring you one step closer to accomplishing them.
Try one or all of these seven mindfulness tips—they may just help you along your weight loss and wellness journey. Remember, little changes can add up to make a big difference!
Are you interested in getting more support on your weight loss journey? Contact Jenny Craig today for a free appointment and see if a consultant can help you simplify.
For decades, nutritionists and other health professionals have focused on the importance of the calorie in weight loss – balancing the number of calories we consume with the amount of energy we burn. And while there is science and credibility behind this equation, recent research has found it may not be giving us the complete picture.1 We asked our Jenny Craig Nutritionist, Monica Ropar, to help explain why all calories may not be created equal and why maintaining a balanced diet is so important.
What is a Calorie, Anyway?
Simply put, calories are the energy your body needs to keep working, running, parenting, playing and so on. By definition, a calorie is an amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie.2 Your body uses three basic kinds of macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates and fat—to create caloric energy.3 Each type of macronutrient provides a specific amount of calories per gram (protein and carbohydrates contain four calories while fat provides nine calories4), and are used as an energy source.
So, the question arises, “Does it matter which foods I eat in order to lose weight?” If we use the simple equation of calories in vs. calories out—the types of food you eat shouldn’t make a difference, as long as excess calories are not being consumed. However, recent research has found that food quality may have an impact on weight loss beyond calories.5 To understand why, we’re taking a more in-depth look at each nutrient source.
Carbohydrates: Sweet Energy
When it comes to weight loss, carbs are often vilified as the food source that will hinder your goals. You’ve likely heard about different extreme low-carb lifestyles; their general philosophy is to drastically reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume, in order to avoid excess glucose being turned into adipose tissue, or fat.6
However, if you’re selecting the right kind of carbs, they actually may be aiding your weight loss efforts.
There are two kinds of carbohydrates: complex and simple. Complex carbohydrates are digested slower and release a steadier stream of glucose to the bloodstream,7 providing sustained energy. Additionally, they usually contain fiber and other essential nutrients.7 Examples include foods like fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and oatmeal.
On the other hand, simple carbohydrates, like sugary cereals and candy, usually contain little to no nutritional value and are quickly digested and turned into glucose in the bloodstream7 — giving you a rush of energy and then a crash, shortly after.
So while two slices of white bread may have almost as many calories a bowl of oatmeal,8-9 the oatmeal will likely keep you feeling satiated longer—so you’re less tempted to reach for other less nutritious options later in the day. Our recommendation: try opting for complex carbs the majority of the time. Not only will they help fill you up—but you’re less likely to experience an energy crash during the day.
Fats: Unsung Superfoods
Although fats contain more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein, they are critical components of a healthy diet—providing essential fatty acids and helping to deliver fat-soluble vitamins.10 Unsaturated fats (found in foods like avocados, nuts and fish) may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which contribute to heart health.10
By contrast, saturated fats—including fatty meats, full-fat dairy and partially hydrogenated cooking oils—have the potential to raise cholesterol, clog arteries, may increase the risk of heart disease and potentially stall weight loss when consumed in excess.10
Proteins: Essential Building Blocks
Like carbs, protein has four calories per gram—with a couple of key differences. While carbohydrates can be processed quickly for energy, protein takes more time; because it moves slower from your stomach to your intestines,11 potentially keeping you feeling full for longer periods of time.12 And, speaking of nutrients, the ones found in high-protein foods like lean meats, eggs, beans and low-fat dairy can help your body build muscle, and may improve recovery.13
The Bottom Line: Balance is Key
While eating 300 calories worth of chips may not provide the same nutritional value (or feeling of fullness) as a similar amount of vegetables, maintaining a healthy balance between all the food groups is a key component of weight maintenance and health. By reaching for quality food the majority of the time, you’ll be setting yourself up for success!
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you find your optimal caloric balance for weight loss, contact your local neighborhood Jenny Craig center.
The latest nutritional research proves what you eat AND when you eat both contribute to weight loss.†† We created Rapid Results based on this revolutionary research. With Rapid Results, we provide you with a plan that takes maximum advantage of your body’s natural fat-burning ability, so you lose weight faster, plus our consultants have completed new comprehensive training to deliver excellent weight loss guidance for results. Take a look at a typical day on Rapid Results!
†† Cell metabolism 23.6 (2016): 1048-1059. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001
The Fourth of July is a day of fireworks, fun and barbecued food, everywhere you turn. The good news—you can have a guilt-free Fourth of July when you’re trying to lose weight. To help you stay on-track with your health goals, we’ve compiled our best tips on how to stay healthy on the Fourth of July.
The number one way to have a healthy Fourth of July is to plan ahead. If you show up starving to a BBQ that is serving platters of macaroni salad and ice cream treats, it is going to feel a lot more challenging to choose a healthier option or refrain from overeating.
But with deliberate planning, you can enjoy the holiday with friends and family while still eating well. Here are our top tips to help keep this Fourth of July on the healthy side.
Nourish Your Body Before the Celebration
You know that feeling when you go to the grocery store hungry? Suddenly, everything in the aisle looks amazing, and it’s easy to go overboard. The same goes for summer BBQs, holiday eating and dining out. By giving your body healthy fuel beforehand, you’ll likely not feel as ravenous or as tempted to grab something less nutritious.
Try this: enjoy a fruit with some protein. Options we love include an apple with a teaspoon of nut butter or a small handful of berries sprinkled over yogurt.
If you do indulge, instead of piling your plate high, try practicing a few mindful eating techniques and enjoy a smaller portion of your favorite treat.
Bring Your Own Healthy Fourth of July Recipes
The best way to make sure there is healthy food to eat is to bring it!
There are plenty of recipes to make food that is nutritious and great-tasting. When you’re excited about the healthy dish you’ve created, you may be less likely to stray from your plan with higher calorie, less-than-stellar options.
Here are a couple of ideas for healthy holiday recipes:
● Sliced veggies and carrots + Summer Salsa
● Lettuce Wrap Tacos
One of the easiest ways to cut way down on calories is to avoid soda and sugary juices. It’s easy to forget that soda is a hidden sugar bomb. Did you know:
● The average soda contains more sugar than the recommended dose for women each day (6 teaspoons) and is essentially the whole daily amount for men (9 teaspoons.)1-2
● Soda is packed with empty calories (which are calories that provide no nutritional value for your body.)1
Looking for a healthy solution? Substitute a cola with an alternative, such as sparkling water, which helps replicate the carbonation without the added calories and sugar. Infuse more flavor into your water by adding fruits like lemons, oranges, and cucumbers.
Check out these 10 tips for drinking more water— on the Fourth of July or any day!
Be Mindful of Your Portions
You’ve probably heard the expression, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach”—and when you’re at a BBQ surrounded by food, it can be easy to relate. When there are so many delicious choices, it can be easy to load your plate with more food than you intend. Try to start by selecting a few reasonable portions of your favorite, healthy options to put on your plate and then savor every bite! You can always come back for more if you’re still hungry. You may even find that by taking your time to enjoy your meal and letting your stomach signal to your brain feelings of fullness, you don’t want seconds after all.
One of the best ways to stay on track with your weight loss goals is portion control. Following a weight loss program doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy any of the delicious treats over the holiday. Use this visual portion guide to help you indulge in moderation. Being aware of your portions can lead to a guilt-free Fourth of July.
Another simple way to keep track of your portion sizes is to use smaller plates. One study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that reducing the size of your plate can have a significant impact on how much food you consume.3 Swapping a 12-inch plate for a 9-inch dish could potentially shave off around 250 calories a meal.4
How can you use this approach on Independence Day? If you’re hosting a party, set out a variety of small to mid-sized plates. If you’re not the host, you can offer to bring paper plates and napkins. You’ll be helping the hostess while keeping your portion sizes in check!
Keep It Going!
Now that you have a few tips on how to stay healthy this Fourth of July, keep it going so you can feel healthy all summer long! We know summertime can be busy with the kids home from school, but you can still find ways to stick to your weight loss program. Learn how to prevent summer weight gain while balancing kids, vacation, and endless summer BBQs!
Are you looking for a weight loss program that provides support along with delicious, pre-planned meals so you can enjoy the most out of your summer? Contact Jenny Craig and book your free appointment to get started.
Fad diets are nothing new and seemingly pop up every few months, declaring yet another food group to avoid or elixir to drink. But what has stood the test of time on the journey of weight loss is the tried-and-true, and most importantly, healthy, philosophy of eating a well-balanced diet while staying active. We tapped our Jenny Craig Nutritionist, Monica Ropar, to help explain the fad diet phenomenon and talk about what really works.
It seems as more and more scientific testing is conducted around weight loss and nutrition, food trends have been popping up as quickly as the next fashion line. From juice ‘cleanses’ to shunning bread—it can be confusing to figure out what’s simply a fad—or if it’s a plan that can deliver long-term results and health benefits.
What exactly is a “fad diet?”
Usually, a fad diet takes an extreme, “quick fix” approach to losing weight—typically eliminating certain food groups altogether.1
Most of the time, if you do achieve results and return to your regular routine, you’ll likely see the scale tick back up—and just like that, you’re back to square one. Why? Because fad diets aren’t sustainable. And as you return to your normal eating habits, you’ll likely return to your original weight, or worse, gain back even more from feeling deprived.
How to spot a fad
By spotting a few key terms, you’ll likely be able to identify a fad diet from a program that yields long-term results. Watch out for plans that cut out entire food groups, promise extreme results in a few days or claim certain foods will accelerate your progress.2
What really works
There are a few areas to consider when evaluating a weight loss program that will work. First, ensure the plan is nutritionally sound. You should have a good balance of protein, a variety of vegetables and fruits, healthy carbs, and healthy fats to cover all essential and health-promoting nutrients. Secondly, does the program set realistic goals? Usually, losing 1-2 pounds (or 1% of your current weight) per week is considered a reasonable goal.3 However, you may lose weight more rapidly when you first begin a program as your body adapts to a new way of eating. Let it motivate you to keep going!
Another thing to consider: does the program provide help when it comes to changing your habits? If you’re considering losing weight and want to learn how to keep it off, having an accountability partner or personal weight loss consultant can make all the difference in your results. In fact, one study conducted over a two-year period found that a weight loss program with structured support yielded greater results than a program that relied on self-help.4
Finally, can you maintain your new, healthy lifestyle once you aren’t trying to lose any additional weight? Sustainability is key. If a program teaches you healthy portion sizes and how to eat a well-balanced diet that you can continue on your own, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
Are you looking for a sustainable weight loss program? Jenny Craig can help you achieve your goals. With a personal, dedicated consultant and a balanced meal plan, our program is designed to set you up for success! Contact us today to book your free appointment.
Once you start to feel the warm rays of the sun and it’s hot enough to break out the sandals and shorts, you know it’s officially summer season—which means more time outdoors and in direct sunlight. And while it may be easier to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, having radiant, glowing skin can still prove challenging if you’re not giving your skin what it needs. But before you drop your next paycheck on fancy face creams and pricey moisturizers, consider this: your daily habits and what you put into your body can impact your skin as much as anything you might slather on it. Here are five ways to help ensure glowing skin is your signature look this season.
1. Drink Enough Water
Benefiting your entire body including your skin1, keeping hydrated is a must—especially during warmer months. Your skin contains approximately 30% water and is actually your largest organ.2 It’s also your body’s outermost barrier against the elements—which means dry weather and extended contact with hot water or chlorine can leave it feeling irritated and dry.
However, don’t expect that drinking the recommended amount of water per day will perfect your complexion instantly. Water hasn’t been scientifically proven to give you radiant skin, but it has been shown to increase thickness and density.3 On the flipside, severe dehydration can reduce its elasticity.3 Moral of the story: make sure you stay hydrated by sipping H2O throughout the day.
2. Protect Your Skin
While getting some summer color might temporarily give you a glow, unfortunately, there’s actually no such thing as a “healthy” tan. Exposing your skin to ultra-violet radiation puts you at risk for both skin cancer and advanced skin aging4—including fine lines, deep wrinkles, age spots, loss of elasticity and more.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF every day.5 If you know you will be outside, make sure to apply 30+ SPF sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to exposure—and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.5 SPF clothing, a cute hat and the shade of a beach umbrella are also key sun necessities.
3. Find Your Rhythm
Studies have shown that simply following your body’s natural circadian rhythm—also known as your body’s internal clock—by staying active and eating during daylight hours, sleeping at least 7–9 hours per night and giving your body at least a 12 hour digestion break at night, can have a positive impact on your health.6 In addition to helping prevent obesity, diabetes and a variety of other health challenges6, leveraging your natural circadian cycle can also improve the health of your skin, speeding the healing of several chronic skin ailments.7 Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, was based on this circadian rhythm science. Tuck in early and avoid those late-night snacking temptations.
4. Balance Your Diet
What you put in your mouth may be just as important as the SPF you put on your skin. As the food you eat gets digested, it’s broken down into vital vitamins and minerals that your body can use to foster healthy skin.8 <br> <br>
While American culture seems to have different opinions on what constitutes a “healthy diet,” most nutritionists agree that moderation is still the way to go.9 Jenny Craig Nutritionist, Monica Ropar, agrees—there’s no need to eliminate any one food group. Ropar recommends that the majority of your carbohydrates come from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes and dairy products. She also suggests limiting trans and saturated fats, while healthy fats, (like those found in olive oil and nuts) can be enjoyed in small amounts. Refined sugar should also be limited (but there’s no harm in enjoying a piece of Chocolate Lava Cake once in a while), and sodium intake should stay under 2300 mg per day, per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.10
At Jenny Craig, every meal plan follows these expert guidelines while also taking a balanced approach to healthy eating.
5. Practice Self-Care
Most of us have had the experience of being told we “look tired” at one point or another (thanks Mom!). But your skin can say a lot about how you’re feeling—like dark circles under your eyes after a restless night. And taking the time to give your skin a little TLC may actually provide a soothing routine and contribute to feelings of calmness and a reduction in stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed.11
Try this: find some time each night to wash and moisturize your skin, perhaps even apply a quick face mask. Since you’ll likely be alone when you’re doing this routine, it may help you relax, and you may begin to look forward to the solo time if you make it a nightly ritual.
Another way you can practice self-care? Get your heart pumping. Studies show that exercises such as yoga can help reduce stress and bodily inflammation, which is known to speed up the skin’s natural aging processes.12-13
This summer, enjoy the warmer months while protecting your skin—because taking care of yourself includes every part of your body!
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle and help you feel radiant this summer, contact your local neighborhood Jenny Craig center.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.
I don’t know about you, but I fall for it every year: The weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and I start thinking about the absolute best summer I’ll have with my kids. (While, admittedly, thinking about the perks of them being out of school: No more lunches to pack! No alarm clock! No homework!) Then reality sets in roughly a week after their last day and I remember that having children in the house all day, every day, can make all of us a little nutty.
If you, too, are looking at two-plus months of no school, don’t fret: There are simple, inexpensive ways to keep your kids busy—and your sanity intact—throughout the summer months.
1. Stick to a routine and follow your body clock.
While the longer days of summer may make it tempting to throw regular bedtimes to the wind, your kids (and you) may actually fare better if you follow a similar schedule as during the school year. Sure, you can have those times when watching movies make for a late night, but keeping some sort of a familiar routine most of the time may prove wise not only for your sanity but also for your health. Studies have shown that a disruption in our body’s natural circadian rhythm, also known as our internal clock, could contribute to obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.1-2 Keep aligned with your body’s natural rhythm by getting enough sleep, skipping late night meals and enjoying a substantial breakfast in the morning.
2. Create a family bucket list.
Let each child contribute ideas about what they’d like to do during the summer. You may not get through the entire list (and some of the items may be wildly out of reach), but it’s fun to try.
3. Have your kids pitch in.
Having kids in and around the house every day means more mess, more dishes and more noise! To help keep the debris to a minimum, delegate age-appropriate duties to every child in the house. Even the little things add up—simply having them make their own beds and tidy the living room daily can go a long way toward keeping the madness to a minimum.
4. Venture outside the house.
Whether it’s a book or chess club at the library, activities through your parks and rec department, or free workshops for kids at the local home-improvement store, having regular activities for your children can do wonders for all involved.
5. Create a kid-watching co-op.
Line up several families and do a rotating swap: One family watches all the kids for one evening so the other parents can get some downtime, maybe even a much needed date night.
6. Plant a garden.
There’s nothing better than getting fresh produce from your own garden. Get your children in on the act by having them choose which plants to buy, and then helping to plant and tend to them. (Don’t forget sunscreen and hats!)
7. Teach them how to cook.
Take those fruits and veggies from your new garden and teach your kids how to prepare them. Little ones can get in on the act, too—have them pick and wash the veggies, peel the carrots and snap the stems off the peas. Who knows, by summer’s end, they may be helping you make dinner!
See if there are activities that you can do as a family, or that your older kids can do solo. As a volunteer horse handler, I bring my kids along once a week during the summer to help with ranch tasks and to groom the horses.
9. Keep them active.
While it may be tempting (and easy) to keep your kids occupied in front of the television, try to keep screen time to a minimum. Sign them up for swim lessons, tennis, golf—or whatever piques their interest (and fits your budget).
10. Play with your kids.
It can be hard to find time to do regular workouts with children underfoot all day long. Here’s your excuse to ride bikes, play tag, jump rope, get on the swings, play hopscotch—you’ll all get some exercise and your kids will love it as well as you!
11. Read a book.
A few years ago, I started instituting reading time every afternoon in the summer. The kids can choose what they read, and it’s only for 30 minutes to an hour, but it gives them a chance to cool their jets—and it gives me some elusive quiet time.
While these tips may not guarantee that you have the absolute best summer with your kids, we do hope that they bring some tranquil times to your household, and that they help you keep in mind what really matters: time with family.
If you’re looking for ways to get the most out of your time this summer, Jenny Craig can help. Let us do the cooking and planning so you can spend more time with the ones you love without worrying about the weight loss. Contact us for your free appointment today.
 Longo, Valter D., and Satchidananda Panda. “Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.” Cell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 6, 14 June 2016, pp. 1048–1059., doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001.
Although it’s no mystery that physical activity is beneficial for our health and weight loss goals, finding exercises we enjoy and that can fit into our busy lives can sometimes feel overwhelming. Between work, family and trying to balance a social life, it can be challenging to squeeze in the time to make it to the gym or wake up early for a morning workout.
The good news is that getting some movement in each day can have a significant impact on our physical health, reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more.1 What’s more, low-impact exercises may help keep your bones strong which may prevent your chances of developing osteoporosis and are a safe alternative to higher intensity workouts.2
We’ve compiled four bodyweight exercises that are gentle on the body, but challenging enough to make a beneficial impact on your health—and the best part—they can be performed just about anywhere.
Though you may think that walking is not as effective as a more strenuous modality like a spin class or running, you might be surprised. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular brisk walking of 30-minutes a day can help with healthy weight management and may prevent or manage a wide range of conditions that include high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.3 Walking may also help strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and coordination, and even boost your mood.3
If you can’t make time for a 30-minute walk, or if the length of time seems overwhelming, start with smaller increments. Even five minutes of walking each day is beneficial.4 Once that becomes a habit, increase your time by few minutes each week, until you get to 30. Consider tracking your steps so you can hold yourself accountable.
2. Take the Stairs
Believe it or not, opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator is an incredibly effective way to burn calories and build strength at the same time. In fact, one study showed that men who averaged climbing eight flights a day had an incredible 33 percent lower mortality rate than men who were sedentary.5 Another study showed climbing stairs was even more demanding than lifting weights6 —so put down the dumbbells and lace up those shoes!
However, since this low-impact exercise can be taxing, especially if you’ve been sedentary—start slow, perhaps with just a single flight of stairs, and hold on to the railing to aid your balance. Remember—every step counts!
Practicing yoga has benefits beyond the physical of improving your flexibility and strengthening your bones7— it can also relieve stress and enhance one’s sense of well-being.8 And the best part is that all you need is a yoga mat, a reasonably firm floor, and your body. If you’re a beginner, there’s a wide variety of free or low-cost classes available online that can provide valuable guidance. Whether you’re new or an experienced yogi, making this practice a part of your wellness routine is an excellent choice.
4. Bodyweight exercise
Building strength and toning your muscles doesn’t have to require heavy equipment or a lot of time. Bodyweight exercises can be done just about anywhere and if done with enough exertion can provide the benefits of a much longer workout in just minutes.9-10
There’s a wide variety of simple bodyweight exercises to choose from, including squats, lunges, push-ups on your knees, jumping jacks, and more. Perfect for home, when traveling, or even at work, finding a way to fit in bodyweight exercises could not only help improve your bone strength but also give you a great, low-impact workout.