Advice From Valerie Waters

Valerie Waters is known for helping celebrity moms stay fit while juggling demanding work and family schedules. She believes getting in shape is no different for a super star or a super mom, and she offers the following tips for parents who want to help get their family’s health and fitness levels back-on-track all year long.

Wise Choices

Other Tips

Don’t drink the night away.

Fit people know that filling up on booze is just as bad as filling up on hors d’oeuvres. One glass of wine is equal to 100 calories, and just because those calories come in liquid form doesn’t mean they don’t count! Sure, have a glass of wine, but make the next drink a glass of sparkling water. By alternating a glass of water with wine, you can save a few hundred calories. Fit people also know that drinking leads to eating. With impaired judgment comes impaired eating. Have fun, but not enough to feel guilty in the morning.
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Eat, drink, and be active!

Remember ice skating as a child? Or maybe your family rounded up the neighborhood kids for a game of touch football or a snowball fight. Here in Southern California, we all went out and played with our new toys — things like roller skates or bicycles. Holidays are a time for indulgence, not lethargy! Fit people keep moving during the holidays, whether it’s a walking tour of the neighborhood Christmas lights or a planned winter ski trip. The weather may be cooler, but the holidays are no time to hibernate; keep yourself and your family active.
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Stick to the plan (or at least plan B).

During the holidays, workouts often get shortchanged — or sacrificed all together. Fit people know that a short workout is better than no workout at all. If you are traveling, make sure to pack your Valslides (www.valslide.com).
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Revamp your recipes.

Fit people don’t sacrifice their favorite holiday meals just because they’re on a diet. They modify. Mashed potatoes can be made with 1 percent milk, and green beans are great without being soaked in butter. Don’t overmarinate your turkey, and go easy on the salad dressing. If your holiday table is usually laden with starchy foods, this year try substituting that casserole dish with a mixed-berry fruit salad, and make your turkey stuffing with Ezekiel Bread, which is higher in fiber. Exercise portion control by offering individual desserts and appetizers or using smaller plates. Chances are, your entire family will benefit from your new recipes, and I bet half of them won’t even notice a difference!
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Wise Choices

Make time for yourself.

We all need to set aside some time to catch our breath, whether it is rising and shining a few minutes earlier, stepping out for some fresh air over the noon hour, or taking a quick stroll around the block before the kids get home. These are all examples of times of the day that you can claim as your own and feel better for it.
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Exercise.

Exercising is a great fat-buster, muscle-toner, and stress-reducer — good news for all of us multitaskers out there! But it doesn’t have to take hours and hours at the gym; my philosophy is get in, get out, get a life! Even simple steps like taking the stairs at work, going for a walk with the kids, or some active playtime with them at the park can all make a real difference.
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Eat right!

Finally, you can’t forget about eating right — not only at meals but while snacking, too. A lot of moms reach for their kids’ snacks when hunger hits, and that’s fine. Just make sure that those snacks are healthy for them and you, too. Dried fruit is one of your best bets, especially California Raisins. They are a naturally sweet, fat-free, portable snack, and that’s a big plus when you are looking for healthy eating on the go. And more good news: for adults, ¼ cup of raisins equals one of your daily fruit servings.
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Other Tips

Eat more fiber.

Besides the health benefits, fiber actually keeps you feeling full longer and makes it easier to follow a healthy eating plan. Unfortunately, most Americans consume less than half of the daily-recommended 32 grams. The best way to get your recommended daily dose of fiber is to spread it out throughout the day by including fiber in each meal. Here’s a sample of what I eat:

  • Breakfast:
    ½ cup of oatmeal with skim milk topped with a teaspoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of California Raisins
  • Lunch:
    A big green salad with extra veggies, such as tomato, cucumber and red onion, with a low-fat protein choice such as tuna or grilled chicken, plus some fruit with California Raisins, and one small whole-grain roll or piece of bread
  • Snack:
    Low-fat yogurt topped with 1 tablespoon of California Raisins and 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds
  • Dinner:
    Low-fat protein choice such as chicken or fish with a fibrous vegetable such as broccoli or cauliflower and ½ cup of brown rice (Add some zing to recipes by adding sweet California Raisins; they liven up brown rice, pasta, and sauces.)

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Get the family on board!

Sticking to a healthy eating and exercise plan is easier if it is a shared goal. Teach your kids that there is a reward in the effort. For example, if you plan on exercising three times a week, give yourself a check mark or gold star each time you or your child completes the workout. At the end of the month, give yourself a reward for a 90 percent or better completion. Your reward could be going to a movie, a new CD, or even just a night off from the household chores. It won’t be long before the reward is the increased self-esteem for sticking to a desired goal.
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Start today with one wise choice.

Many people get overwhelmed trying to overhaul their lifestyle. They decide all at once to clean up their diet, start exercising, quit smoking, quit caffeine, and learn to meditate. Three days later they stop because it’s too hard. Start with one thing, and make it a habit. Maybe it’s exercising three times a week. After a couple of weeks, it won’t be such an effort. It’ll just be what you do. Then add another good habit, like bringing your healthy lunch to work every day.
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Get the family on board when it comes to food.
A great way to get the entire family involved is a shared outing to a farmers market. Have each person choose one new fruit or vegetable for the family to try. And, check out our Web site, www.LoveYourRaisins.com, for new recipe ideas.
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Families that play together, get fit together
It is great if your child participates in a sport like soccer or dance, but also find something for the family to do together. This could be a bike ride, family day at the gym, or even something as simple as playing tag or Red Rover. The key is to spend time together doing something active. Help your child realize that exercise equals fun.
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Food-wise
When you bring your lunch and snack with you to work or school, it guarantees you’ll eat right. Take just 10 minutes after dinner to make lunch for the next day. Help your child learn to be responsible for his/her own nutrition by getting them involved. Children ages seven and under can choose from a pre-approved selection of snacks, like an apple, orange or box of California Raisins. Ages eight through ten can help assemble a sandwich under supervision, and 11-year-olds and up, can make their lunch while you make yours.
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Make a plan
Summer is fun and carefree, but with the first day of the new school year, structure returns. Your child’s day quickly fills up with school, homework and after school activities. Now more than ever, it is important that exercise and meals are planned. Schedule meals so that your family eats together at the table at least once per day. This is a good opportunity to slow down and eat mindfully, and sitting together allows you to stay involved in your child’s life.
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Be consistent
Being healthy means consistently making wise choices over time. Nobody gets fit in one workout, nor do they change their eating habits in one week. It is important to be consistent in the messages you deliver to your kids. You will make a greater impact explaining the importance of exercise to your children, if you are committed to your exercise.
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Education through sampling
We all know kids can be notoriously picky when it comes to food. Try taking them to a farmer’s market where they will learn that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket and that there are seasons for different foods. They will be encouraged to sample a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and often nuts or dried fruit. And, a farmer’s market is a fun outing for the whole family.
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