Happiness is Key by Cassie Valastro
I dropped out of school and had a baby when I was 17. Nobody ever expected I would go on to complete a university degree, become a successful model, TV Presenter and Business women. Especially not after having my second daughter. I had just turned 23 and I was left on my own with two kids.
Parenting whether there is one or two of you, is never easy. There’s no book to tell you how it’s done – no rule book explaining what’s right and wrong. You literally get thrown in the deep end to figure out what works best for you. All families are different and therefore have individual needs. This is my story.
For me as a single parent I place importance on finding as much balance as possible within my life. I enjoy being healthy, but I also don’t want to deprive myself. We all deserve to be rewarded and if that treat is a glass of wine or a chocolate bar then so be it. As long as you’re not drinking excessively and surviving on cake, then it’s fine to indulge occasionally.
Eating healthy amongst a hectic lifestyle can be challenging. I put a lot of thought and effort into organisation and making meals that can be frozen. I always have home-made freezer food prepared for days when I don’t have time to cook, or to take for lunches. As a vegetarian my meals are generally different from the kids.
Easy freezer meals:
• Bolognaise with hidden veggies, such as grated carrot and zucchini;
• Chicken Vermicelli;
• Chicken nuggets (or schnitzels),
• Mild butter chicken.
Vegetarian freezer meals:
• Tomato soup;
• Cauliflower and leek soup;
• Pumpkin soup;
• Vegetarian fried rice;
• Spinach and potato curry;
• Vegetable korma;
Note: all my frozen meals are made fresh. I don’t like using jars or packaged ingredients because they often contain sugar, preservatives and other hidden nasties. It’s important to know what’s in the foods we are consuming.
As a vegetarian ensuring I get the right amount of nutrients from my food is vital. A single working mum can’t afford to get anemic, run-down or sick. I drink a fruit smoothie with spinach and seeds most mornings. I snack on nuts and eat a lot of eggs, beans and vegetables within my meals. I think the thought of a healthy balanced diet is more daunting than it needs to be. Realistically you simply need to educate yourself, get creative and be organised.
A healthy diet is more important than exercise and I don’t encourage excessive training. I do, however support an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can seem like a chore sometimes – finding a spare hour is almost impossible. Hence I’ve mastered active living by incorporating exercise into a fun lifestyle.
My hobbies include:
I brought a used weight set for $60. If I’m home and can be bothered over a weekend, I’ll do a quick 20-30min session. Weights aren’t necessary however I would recommend trying an online yoga lesson whenever you have time. You don’t need to participate in time consuming, expensive gym or yoga classes to benefit.
Try incorporate walking or riding into your daily routine. I’m currently studying 2km from my daughter’s school. After the school drop off of a morning I leave my car parked and walk to college. This provides exercise and I save money not paying for parking.
My youngest daughter is now five and she enjoys being active too. Whilst I surf she boogie boards, whilst I run or skate, she rides her scooter. She loves dancing and my eldest daughter has just started playing soccer.
It’s important to teach our children how to enjoy an active lifestyle too. It’s essential for kids to understand healthy eating. And most importantly, everyone needs to know what makes them happy:
• Do what makes you happy;
• Teach your children to be happy;
• Don’t make happiness materialistic.
Spend quality time together and create happiness as part of your life. Happiness is the fundamental key to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Live, laugh and love life.