SheKnows Exclusive: Jillian Michaels

Back in May, fitness guru Jillian Michaels announced that she adopted a 2-year-old daughter from Haiti named Lukensia, but that wasn't the only news. The same week that she brought her daughter home, Michaels' longtime partner, Heidi Rhoades, gave birth to a son — Phoenix.

Now the mother to both a toddler and an infant, Michaels is finding ways to stay fit, have fun and enjoy time with her new family. We had the opportunity to talk to her about fitness, nutrition and more.

Staying fit with little ones

When you have babies and young kids, it seems impossible to find another minute in the day. So for many moms, their own fitness and health fall by the wayside. However, thanks to jogging strollers, mommy-and-me fitness classes and other alternatives, you can find ways to work out with little ones.

"It can definitely be hectic with a baby and a toddler at home," says former The Biggest Loser trainer. "Time is of the essence every day, but it's crucial to get a workout in. It is important for moms to be healthy for their kids and set a good example for them early on. In my own life I do my best to maximize the time I do have to work out. This means doing harder, more efficient workouts to get results in less time. Multitasking is key — which is great because moms are already masters of that, right? Train multiple muscle groups at the same time (for example, do squats with shoulder presses or lunges with bicep curls) to maximize calorie burn and shave off time."

Setting an example

Though it may take a little extra work, it's important that you get active with your children — not just drop them at the daycare at the gym or leave them home with your partner every time.

"It's key to be active with your kids."

"It's key to be active with your kids," Michaels explains. "I like to take the baby in the Bjorn for hiking or the toddler in a side car for a bike ride. I take them for jogs with my jogging stroller, and we love to play on the beach. Sometimes I even paddle board with my toddler in tow. It is important to get them involved and teach them to lead a healthy lifestyle early on. Now is the time to teach them habits that will last their entire lives."

Serving healthy snacks

Moms on the go need snacks that can go with them. That doesn't mean candy bars, cookies and other sugary treats, however. You can find a number of convenient yet healthy options for your little ones — carrot sticks, cereal bars, squeezable yogurt, natural apple sauce packets and so on.

"There are so many great snacks that you can throw in a purse or diaper bag to have available throughout the day. Organic, low-fat string cheese, hummus and carrots, bananas, or Happy Tot or Plum Organics fruit puree," says Michaels. "I even allow the kids to have treats (or the 2-year-old rather — the baby is still on milk). If your kids have a sweet tooth, stick to a better choice. I love Unreal chocolate treats for my kids because they are all natural with no chemicals, corn syrup or other things that don’t belong in their little bodies. Moderation is still key — you don’t want your kids eating an entire bag of sugar but these are a better choice for a small treat. I also love Popchips. They come in small, single-serving size bags and are all-natural, so they are a much better choice than the other things lined up in that chip aisle."

Getting kids to eat veggies

Try bento boxes
Get creative and make this funny face bagel bento box for lunch. You'll love making it as much as your kids will love eating it.

A big challenge for many moms is getting their kids to eat their vegetables. Michaels offers these tips to get your picky children to eat more healthfully:

  • Involve them - Take your kids to a farmers market. Start a little garden in your yard or at a community garden space. Peas go over great with my 2-year-old. Have them get involved with cooking the food so they take ownership of it.
  • Make it fun - Choose bright colored fruits and veggies and cut them into bite-size pieces.
  • Try negotiating - To get my toddler to try new things, I tell her that if she takes a bite of the avocado she can have a bite of pasta.
  • Be sneaky - Hide the veggies if you have to do it. I use products like Macro Greens chocolate powder to make her smoothies, or the Plum Organics fruit and veggie purees also work great.
  • Use cheese or a dash of sauce - My daughter will eat lettuce because she loves Caesar dressing. So we put a light spread on a bunch of romaine leaves and she goes to town. Cheese on broccoli is the oldest trick in the book. Just make sure the sauces [and dressings] are healthy and use them in moderation.

Finding "me" time

You can't take care of your family if you don't take care of yourself. That means eating right, exercising regularly and finding a little "me" time. Time to yourself is important for your physical and emotional health and wellness.

"Planning is key when it comes to finding 'me' time."

"Planning is key when it comes to finding 'me' time," says Michaels. "I try to use that me time to get a workout in. This means squeezing it in during nap time or right after the kids are in bed for the night. Asking a family member to watch them for an hour so you can take a jog (grandparents take the bait on this one every time). You can also trade off with your spouse and take turns exercising while the other watches the kids."

Getting an energy boost

"When it comes to energy, there is no question that being a mom takes a whole lot of it," Michaels says. "Sometimes I’m stunned at how much energy they have in those little bodies and how much of my energy it takes to keep up with them. For me it is key to stay physically fit and to eat right. I also discovered EBoost. It is an all-natural clean energy drink packed with vitamins, nutrients and green tea extract to give me that energy punch. It comes in handy packets that I can just stick in my bag and mix with water on the go... which is pretty much always."

Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

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