Thinking about changing your diet and exercise habits can feel overwhelming. But if you’re looking to improve your outlook, boost your energy and feel more fit and strong, there are actually small changes you can make to see a big difference. We consulted top nutritionists and trainers to find out their number one tips for busy parents. Read on for their very doable and completely inspiring advice!

Tips from the Nutritionists

Jasmine El Nabli, Photo Credit: Alex Paz

Get kids involved in cooking

“One of the best ways to introduce children to healthy eating and becoming more interested in food is having them get involved in the meal planning and cooking process,” says Jasmine El Nabli, MS, RDN.

“Bringing your children to the grocery store and allowing them to choose a few healthy items can help to increase exposure to new foods and make the mealtime process fun and exciting. In the kitchen encourage your children to engage in age-appropriate tasks like washing, stirring, mashing or even cutting with a kid-friendly knife set (like this one). Praising them for a job well done can help boost their confidence in the kitchen and lead to healthier food choices later in life. Getting kids involved in the meal planning and cooking process can help to relieve mealtime stress and create a more enjoyable experience for the entire family.”

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, Photo credit: Lauren Volo

Sit down for lunch

“Make yourself a healthy, balanced meal and sit down to enjoy your lunch,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. “So many parents (moms especially) prioritize their kids’ nutrition, but then don’t do the same for themselves. Sitting down and enjoying your meal mindfully will help you be more present, which will allow you to enjoy your food more fully, as well as being able to tune into your hunger cues. That way you’ll know when you’re full and satisfied.”

Karin Kaplan Grumet, RD, CEDRD, Photo credit: Omar Gonzalez
Talk to kids about balance
“My biggest tip for parents when it comes to nutrition for their families is to plan and prepare balanced meals,” says Karin Kaplan Grumet, RD, CEDRD, owner of KKG Nutrition in Summit. “It is so important as parents that we don’t label foods as good/bad or healthy/unhealthy but rather make sure that children know that the goal is balance…that most meals should have a nice amount of servings of carbohydrates for energy, protein for our muscles, fruits and vegetables for fiber and vitamins, calcium for our bones and fats for our hormone levels and satiety. By  assuring our children that all foods can fit, that it’s okay to snack and it’s essential to have a variety of foods that bring us pleasure and joy, we as parents will be educating our children to be mindful.”
Tips from the Trainers
Joanna Paterson

Lead by example

“My best tips for families, staying fit healthy and active is to have fun as a family but also plan for time to focus on individual needs and goals,” says Joanna Paterson, owner, BODIESYNERGY Fitness. “As parents we lead by example for our children to learn from. Taking time to feel strong and confident moving our bodies is an investment in our wellbeing mentally, emotionally and physically.”

Judy Sanabria, Photo credit: Life Time

Be a role model

“A core foundation for families and fitness starts with healthy habits you build at home,” says Judy Sanabria, a personal trainer at Life Time Florham Park.  “Parents can develop a balance of exercise, nutrition and family time. Don’t be stuck on how long it takes, instead focus on what you can do to make each day a healthy day. Embrace a healthier lifestyle for yourself so you will be a role model for your family. Think of longevity — what you put in is what you will get in return. Be the best version of yourself. Prioritizing sleep, nutrition and exercise will help your family build a core foundation so that they can grow healthy habits for life.”

Melanie Coleman, co-owner Pure Barre Red Bank and Pure Barre Millburn (left) and Molly D’Alessio (right). Photo credit: Kate Connolly, Off Beet Productions

Fit it in!

“My best tip for parents when it comes to fitness is to fit in your workouts wherever you can!” says Molly D’Alessio, co-owner Pure Barre Red Bank, Pure Barre Livingston, Pure Barre Millburn, and soon-to-open CycleBar Millburn. “Just because you don’t have time for a full workout doesn’t mean that you should just skip exercising all together. Holding a plank during a commercial, push-ups on your counter while waiting for your coffee to brew or simply pulling your abs in and up while standing in line at the grocery store are all ways that I like to sneak it in on days I can’t get to the studio or a full class. Take the steps, always. It will become a habit, and it’s a great way to tone your legs and get your heartrate up every day!  My 7-year-old son believes that he should do a push up a day for however old he is, and I’ll always jump in with him when he does it to set a good example, and because, he’s right!”