October 4, 2012 at 11:54 am
by Caren Oppenheim
Jillian Michaels is known for her tough-as-nails role on NBC’s The Biggest Loser (after a brief break from the show, she’s returning for the new season in January) and for her best-selling books and DVDs. But in real life, she’s basking in her time as a new mom—she adopted a 2-year-old daughter in May and her partner Heidi Rhoades gave birth to a boy the same week. Now that school’s underway, we recently got the fitness guru to spill her must-have advice for a healthy—and fun!—year.
What are your favorite quick and easy breakfasts?
My motto’s that it needs to be fast and healthy. I like whole grain cereal—Nature’s Path has healthier versions of many kids’ favorites—paired with almond or organic milk. At just 80 calories, hard-boiled eggs are great to grab on the go. Eggs often get a bad rap, but they have a lot of good cholesterol and almost all the vitamins you need. I also whip up protein shakes in two minutes with banana, fresh fruit and whey protein.
How can parents give their kids a healthier lunch?
At the end of the day, kids want to eat regular, kid-friendly food. Know your kid. If he wants pizza or mac and cheese, try to think of a healthier version of the food to make on Sundays. Quinoa with chicken and sauce or whole-wheat pizza are great options to put in containers for the week.
Does it matter what kinds of treats are sold at schools?
A certain aspect of healthy eating is environment. Having better options in a vending machine will hopefully have kids thinking about what is best for them. Education and motivation are also important—teaching them why eating well matters and then making alternatives accessible and affordable.
What are the best snacks to have on the go?
Justin’s Peanut Butter packets are organic, with no trans; popchips taste amazing and are only 100 or 120 calories with no trans fat, msg or chemicals. Pairing them with guacamole or salsa gives an extra boost for vitamins. Traveling with dairy isn’t best, but Greek yogurt and cheese sticks are great options to have at home.
What are methods for exercising with kids?
With younger kids, go to a playground, hike, jog or even play an old-fashioned game of tag. Take a teen to a cool class at the gym. Spinning, bar method or even Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are fun options. It’s important to set a positive example and it’s a great way to bond with kids and stay close as a family. Bottom line: Encourage your children to be passionate about something.
As a new Mom, have you noticed a change in your own habits?
The first few months were challenging. I realized I needed to be more efficient in scheduling workouts. As for food, I was either forgetting to eat or scarfing something down. I now make meals on Sundays so they’re ready to go for later in the week. I set myself up for success by preparing ahead of time. And, I multitask. Do whatever you can to get fitness in—even if it means returning emails from the StairMaster.
Caren Oppenheim is assistant editor at Family Circle magazine.