This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Lean Cuisine, but all opinions are my own. #pmedia #HonestlyGood #ad

Today I’d like to welcome my neighbor, friend and contributor Ashley to the blog. Ashley is a wife, mama to baby Rocco and health enthusiast. She will be here from time to time talking about healthy living after baby. xoxo, Jessica

One of my favorite times of the day is my morning walk or jog with my 9-month-old son Rocco. At this particular time in the morning, I am anxious for a little fresh air, energy and frankly a little time away from all of the singing toys (that I know the tunes to, oh so well). 

Every now and then as I peek through the canopy window of the BOB jogging stroller, I take in the sweet view of Rocco’s baby adidas kicking, kicking, kicking…training to run with mama someday. He squeals with delight as we pass each puppy along the way. I am fulfilled knowing that with each stride I take I am doing something good for myself and for my baby.

By the time we stroll up the driveway we are both hungry for a nutritious lunch. Along with “working on your fitness” the other major component to living a healthy lifestyle and being a better you is making healthy food choices. If you’re anything like me, I break a sweat just trying to get his squirmy little booty in the high chair and food on his tray, let alone make myself a well-rounded meal before nap time. However, it is very important that I refuel (before 2 p.m.) with a well-balanced, wholesome meal in order to nourish my body and keep my energy level up the rest of the day with my busy boy.

This week as I was grocery shopping at Target I discovered that Lean Cuisine launched a new collection of Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meals featuring six different varieties full of 100% all natural, wholesome ingredients with a sauce you can add yourself. After a chilly Fall morning jog with Rocco late last week, I was craving a warm meal and decided to try the Honestly Good Roasted Red Pepper Chicken. I can “honestly” say it was so easy to prepare, delicious and nutritious! 

Not only do I love the fact that Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meals are made with all natural ingredients, they fit into my busy schedule. I have a whole new perspective on mealtimes now. I can zap an Honestly Good meal in the microwave for a few seconds, while preparing Rocco’s lunch or dinner and we can sit down, giggle at each other taking airplane bites and enjoy eating together. With additional flavors like Honey Citrus Chicken, Lemongrass Salmon, Pineapple Black Pepper Beef, Plum Ginger Grain-Crusted Fish and Pomegranate Chicken, Lean Cuisine’s Honestly Good meals will keep both my taste buds and body happy!

As you may notice, I am a firm believer that living a healthy lifestyle makes you a better you and in my case a better mama. By making small changes like switching out one meal a day with one of Lean Cuisine’s Honestly Good meals, it’s easy to eat healthy.

And with the time you save preparing a quick and easy Honestly Good meal, you’ll be able to fit in a walk, jog, workout class or family dance party in the family room to stay fit. Here’s to helping a mama out…thanks Lean Cuisine! And I love the fact that, together with their farmers, Lean Cuisine is donating a portion of the vegetables grown for Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meals to local communities. Lean Cuisine Honestly Good meals can be purchased at your local Target store.

Lean Cuisine is a part of my healthy lifestyle. I’d also love to share 10 great ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle after baby.

10 ways to stay healthy and fit after having a baby:

1. Take it one day at a time and start slowly. If you’re not already making healthy choices or exercising, start by making small changes. Add in a 10-minute walk to your daily routine and replace one meal a day a healthy option, like a Lean Cuisine’s Honestly Good meal. Work your way up to more steps in a healthy lifestyle direction from there.

2.  Shoot for greatness, not perfection. If you make a “naughty” food choice or don’t make time for exercising one day, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just start fresh the next morning with a healthy breakfast and a planned activity for exercising.

3. Make movement a part of your daily routine. Find creative ways to keep your body moving. Park in the back of the parking lot when you’re running errands, take the stairs whenever you can or simply clean your house! You will gain energy from moving and your house will gain that fresh scent again!

4. Prioritize your exercise. My favorite time to work out is after Rocco’s morning nap. I designate 30-60 minutes to spend either outside walking or jogging or circuit training in my family room. An example of the “family room workout” includes a circuit of 15-20 lunges, 2-3 variations of planks and 10-15 push-ups (at least 3 times each). Your babies or toddlers will have fun watching you and perhaps join in! It’s all about making exercise a priority.

5. Grocery shop with a purpose. Make an effort to prep yourself and family with healthy meals and snacks by stocking your cart full of fruits, veggies, lean meat/fish and healthy grains each week. Lean Cuisine’s Honestly Good meals are a great option to throw in for quick, easy and healthy meals!

6. Drink more H20. I keep a glass water bottle by my side at all times! Drinking water not only does your body good, it’s also great for a healthy complexion. Who doesn’t want that?

7. Eat a good breakfast. It gives you the energy you need to start your day and gets your metabolism going.

8. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals actually slows your metabolism down, which means you start to store fat. The opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish each day, right? So if you’re in a hurry grab a healthy option like Lean Cuisine’s Honestly Good meals.

9. Throw out the scale. Don’t play the numbers game. Women especially fluctuate from day to day and a number can be defeating. Instead use your clothes to determine how you look and feel. If your favorite skinny jeans are getting a little tight, its time to add some more movement to your day and make a conscious effort for some healthier food choices.

10. Get your zzz’s. If you can (emphasis on the “if” for you new moms out there) try to aim for those 7-8 beautiful hours of sleep. Or get a quick “cat-nap” in during the day. Not only will your spouse or kid(s) thank you for being in a good mood, your body will! Sleep is essential to proper body functioning and weight management. So, let those last few dishes or last load of laundry go and get to bed!

I also think it’s important for new moms to make “YOU” time. Do something that refreshes you everyday. Take that morning or afternoon stroll, get a mani/pedi, enjoy a little shopping trip at a “non-kids” store, or simply do “nothing” during your baby’s or toddler’s nap-time. A refreshed you is a healthier you! Choose to create a healthy “lifestyle” vs. a “diet or quick-fix”. We all need a little wiggle room and balance and lifestyles create that. I don’t like the word diet, anyway.

About Ashley
Ashley Brooks and her husband Vinnie welcomed their first child Rocco in December of 2012. She’s spent the last nine months being a mama and wife. Her other loves include shopping for trendy baby boy clothes, fashion, cooking with her Italian husband, party planning, making their new house a “home” and health and fitness. Before becoming a mama, Ashley worked in as a social media lead managing a large company’s enterprise social network. She is also a certified athletic trainer and teaches evening Barre classes. Ashley also danced professionally for the Minnesota Timberwolves Dance Team. Her experience and love for movement motivates her to teach people of all levels and help them reach their goals to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. Ashley will be back in the coming months talking about healthy living. Ashley lives by the mantra, “do something today that your future self will thank you for.” A happy and healthy you is a better you!

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