My favorite tips and tricks to make a healthy lifestyle easy and enjoyable. This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Refrigerator filled with healthy food like protein balls, quinoa salad, and hummus.
Healthy living is a big part of our family. I try to work out 4 days a week doing a combination of running (mostly sprint work), weights, and yoga, and eat a clean healthy diet most of the time. Yummy Hubby is training to ride in a 100-mile bicycle race next month, which means 4 hour rides on the weekend and more during the week. Over the summer I let these things slide… I’m pretty sure I had an ice cream cone every day for the entire month of July. Now that we are getting back in the groove of school and a schedule, I’m finally getting back into my healthy habits. Silk asked me to share my favorite health hacks. I love getting these assignments as they are great for breaking writers block. And I love that Silk wants to spread healthy living ideas with the world through bloggers. So here we go, here are 10 of my healthy living hacks…

Learn to love it.
If you don’t love the sweat and muscle burn, fake it until you do. Once you feel strong, you’ll be hooked. I often say to my family, I just don’t feel “alive” until I get a good sweat in. Any new exercise is hard. Really hard at first. Stick with it. The same goes for eating. Sugar cravings are tough to beat, but once you are off it for awhile you won’t miss it at all.

Get your OM on
Mother and daughter doing yoga on the beach
I’ve practiced yoga off and on since high school when it was required by my athletics coaches. I haven’t always liked it, and I have never been good at it. I’m inflexible and don’t have the best balance. Recently though, I’ve come to love yoga for a few different reasons. Sometimes I need yoga for its mental benefits. Yoga has the ability to melt away stress and anxiety, and I always feel calm and clear after a class. I also physically feel better when I regularly practice. My body feels lighter and in better alignment, many aches and pains relieved. I have a few yoga DVDs so I can even do yoga at home after the kids go to bed.

Ditch the gym

Mother and daughter on a paddle board in the Santa Barbara harbor.
Okay so maybe don’t ditch it completely. I love the gym. But if you don’t happen to love it (it took me awhile, believe me) get outside and hike, ski, run, walk, paddle board, bike… whatever works in your area and makes you happy. It all counts. And bonus – Vitamin D is essential for your health and happiness. When I’m with the kids and want a workout, I just play freeze tag with them. Easy! P.S. No, I don’t get to paddle board often. And yes, I’m totally embarrassed to be in a bikini… look away.)

Grab a friend
Working out with a friend makes you accountable and makes workouts more fun. A jog on the treadmill goes by quickly while chatting with a girlfriend. Text your friend now and plan a workout date. Go!

Food prep
Food Prep Refrigerator Ideas
It’s easy to eat healthy when your house is stocked with healthy options. If you get home and cookies are on the counter and no other readily available healthy snacks, the cookies are going in your mouth. Right? Or is that just me? Sadly, I rarely actually sit down and eat a proper lunch (very naughty, I know), so I have to have grab-and-go options on hand. Some of my favorite healthy snacks are homemade protein balls, cooked quinoa or lentils, sliced raw veggies, hummus, nuts, and always a big bowl of fruit on the counter. Here’s my protein bar/ball recipe.

Try new foods and eat more plants
Smoothie ingredients
Speaking of on-the-go snacks and meals, smoothies are part of my diet almost daily. I love trying new smoothie ingredients. How did I ever live without grinding my own almond butter?! The stuff is amazing! I also love cacao powder for a chocolaty smoothie. One of my favorite vegan protein smoothies includes almond or non-gmo soy milk like Silk, nut butter, a banana, a handful of kale or spinach, a few drops of stevia to sweeten and lots of ice. Sometimes I add protein powder and/or spirulina as well.

Drink more water
Perhaps as importantly, don’t drink sugary drinks. The amount of sugar in soda is obscene. You will feel much better when you get those 8 ounces of water a day. However, I do love my kombucha and soy/almond lattes.

Focus on what matters
What matters: feeling strong, happy, and healthy. What doesn’t matter: what the scale says, being skinny. If your goal is to be “skinny” you’re probably going to fail. There’s not real healthy motivation in the skinny goal. It’s not empowering in any way. Depriving yourself of nutrients is detrimental. You can be fit, strong, and lean while enjoying an abundance of beautiful healthy foods. Don’t expect results immediately. It takes about a month of making changes to see results. Never give up.

Track your meals and exercise
I use an iPhone app called My Fitness Pal as a food and exercise journal when I feel like I’ve gotten off track. It reminds me that I’ve eaten all the remnants of my kids’ meals in addition to my own, and apparently those calories count too. Darn. I like that the app tells me how much protein/carbs/fat I’ve gotten in a given day so I know if I need to increase my protein intake.

Gear up

Working out is more fun in cute new workout gear. It’s a fact. I’m currently coveting some fun leggings. I wear these pocket capri leggings from Lucy all the time. I love them because they stay put and there’s a place for my phone/music. I want these pink ones from Anthro next. I’m usually wearing my Never Give Up. inspiration from the GSF as well.

Running inspo
Don’t forget… being able to move your body is a gift, not a guarantee. Enjoy it.