I have been a long time followers of the gorgeous Dani Stevens and am so extremely excited and privileged to have her on FW sharing so much goodness.
Dani is a 42 year old mum of four who recently moved her young family to the north NSW coastline near one of her favourite destinations, Byron Bay.
Her goal for her amazing health website is to perfect the right balance of a healthy, fit regime and lifestyle. She trusts in return she can give you her ideas, motivate and inspire you to do the same…….
What does health and wellness mean to you?
To me it’s all about the optimum balance between being a good wife and mother, eating well, maintaining a fitness regime and a sense of style, all while enjoying every moment of it. A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body.
What is your typical daily routine?
I always make time for a workout in the morning, between 6 and 7am. It’s a great time to workout while the kids are still sleeping. Following my workout I spend the next two hours preparing breakfasts and lunches – then it’s the school run. I’m usually back home by 9am where I get stuck into my work, answering emails and attending a variety of meetings. Then I spend time with my four year old Zali – we always enjoy a healthy lunch together before I get cracking with some household chores. At 2:30pm I pick the kids up from school and we usually do something fun before heading home – a play in the park, or a swim at the beach, or a game of soccer. Then it’s dinner time and bedtime for the kids, around 7:30pm. When the kids are in bed, that’s my ‘me time’; including quality time with my husband, stretching, jumping back online for some final work for the day, or to prepare my posts. Then it’s time to start anew the next day!
6 – 7 early workout
7 – 8 prepare breakfast and lunches
8 — 9school run
9 – 11 work, answer emails, attend meetings etc.
11 – 2.30 play with zali, household duties, lunch
2.30 school pick ups
4 – 7.30 play with kids, cook dinner, bed routine
. 7.30 – 10 – quality time, me-time, stretch, jump online/prep posts
Your favourite workout and why?
I have to say, I’m really lucky that I live near the beach. Beach workouts are my absolute favourite: I love the sunshine and the water – it just makes me feel so motivated! Any chance I get, I hit the beach with the kids for a game of beach soccer, or even just to do my own personal beach workout, including lunges, squats, kickboxing, the spiderman crawl and heel taps. Nothing like the sights, smells and sounds of the ocean to get you going
What makes you feel happy?
My life makes me incredibly happy! Just life in general!
I feel happy being able to spend time with my kids. That brings me so much joy. The pleasure of watching them grow, learn, be happy and loved – I’m so lucky to be able to share those moments with them. Did I mention I also love being a stay at home mum?
What is your favourite superfood and why?
Chia seeds! They are loaded with antioxidants and so practical. You can cook them, sprinkle them, blend them in your smoothie etc…the list is endless. You can find my chia pudding recipe in my latest ebook “30 Days Of Fitness & Food”. DaniStevens.com/30daysfitnessfood
A typical day on a plate in the life of Dani Stevens…what does it look like?
Lunch might be a vegetable frittata pizza (link https://instagram.com/p/BAbO4kpMyTx/) – colourful, filling, delicious and healthier than a typical pizza option. Lunch is my favourite meal of the day because there are so many options. I might just throw some of last night’s leftover veggies into the frittata!
I always make sure to eat throughout the day – I never want the feeling of being starving. A great snack always involves some protein. I might have coconut water and a banana, or some yoghurt with fruits or vegetables.
And then dinner – I always say this is where the fun really happens! One of my favourite dishes to make is Chicken Paprika with brown rice. My mum used to make this all the time, but I’ve adapted it to become a healthier option: instead of sour cream, I use yoghurt; instead of mashed potatoes, I use brown rice. If we make those little changes, we can still have the comfort foods with love and crave – and still feel awesome.
In your opinion, whats the best advice to help people stick to a healthy eating regime?
Meal preparation is the key to success. If I haven’t planned out a meal, our kitchen is total chaos at dinnertime!
Some other advice:
- Fresh is best! You can never go wrong buying something living that hasn’t been processed
- Always have fresh fruits and vegetables on hands for kids as snacks. For example, my kids love to grab punnets of blueberries to snack on, and, best of all, it gives them a tonne of vitamins and minerals
- Don’t beat yourself up if you slipped up or had a treat – it happens to everyone! Remember, you next meal can be a healthier choice.
Do you have a favourite recipe to make that you can share with us?
One of my favourite recipes is the Very Berry Smoothie Bowls – they’re quick, easy and chances are you already have all the ingredients in your pantry!
Our kids love making them. We just blend whatever fruit we have in our fridge or freezer (strawberries, raspberries, apples, a banana for extra creaminess) and then have fun adding foods like chia seeds, coconut nuts, cashews, muesli, oats, a drizzle of honey, etc. Be as imaginative and creative as you want!
Also our creamy Banana Nicecream! http://danistevens.com/mmmmmonday-banana-dairy-free-icecream/
How many hours / times per week do you suggest people should be ‘active’ with their bodies?
The most important thing is to keep your body moving 365 days a year – even if you don’t have much time in a day, as little as 15 minutes a day helps; walking with the kids or playing outside with them. You need to remind yourself that you can always fit in 10-15 minutes – and the more you do that, the more of a habit it will become.
Your weekly workout schedule…what does it look like?
I put aside the time to do a quick 15-minute workout every morning (even a 5 minute Tabata session), alternating between resistance and interval training. If I have to skip a workout, I’ll try and make up for it the next day by doing 30 minutes, I also enjoy keeping active with the kids, so some days we might go down to the park (beach) and we ride our bikes and play catch in the park.
What are some little things people can do daily to keep their body healthy?
The easiest way to stay active is to just think of the things you do anyway. Walking is one of the biggest aspects of my daily fitness routine: as a general rule, I park as far as I can from places; I also walk alongside the kids as they’re biking or skateboarding and sometimes I just go up and down a flight of stairs for five minutes. Think of other little things too: playing frisbee in the park, walking your dog, doing handstands on the beach with your kids, meeting your neighbours down the street. These are quick and easy ways to increase steps and they can be really great, fast workouts.
How do you find work-life balance and do you have any tips for other working mums?
Being a working mum is definitely a challenge, but I find I’m most successful at work-life balance when I really prioritise spending time with my family. After all, they make me the happiest. And that’s why it’s so great when you can incorporate things like working out and cooking into family time – have a frisbee tournament with the kids, give everyone a role in prepping dinner. It allows you to have more time with the people you love while also doing the things that are good for you.
How do you teach your children about healthy living, do you have any advice to offer on steering their choices and preferences to healthy ones?
One of the best things you can do for your kids is educate them about healthy living at a young age. My kids know how well they feel when they eat good food, as opposed to “party foods” from other people’s’ houses. When they come home from a party feeling sluggish from pies or sausage rolls, we talk about it; as well, when they feel energised and active from eating fresh fruits and vegetables with lean protein, we talk about that too. The key is to let them feel how they feel, so ideally they’ll be the ones making the healthy choices as opposed to just doing it because you told them to.
“I find whenever I engage the children in my baking, cooking etc…. they tend to eat everything I cook as I typically make different meals each time which makes it interesting for them to try”
What do you love most about what you do?
I absolutely love what I do, mostly because it allows me to connect with people from all over the world. I’ve always been a people connector, and getting to help and motivate people to live a healthy lifestyle is so rewarding to me. Of course, my most rewarding role is being a good mum – and I think healthy living has a lot to do with that. I’m so happy that I can be the kind of mum that plays outside with her kids – and I want other women to be motivated to do that, too.
Your number one tip for feeling great?
Believe in yourself. Sometimes our minds try to talk us out of things, but if you prioritise your health by moving every day, eating natural, fresh food and – most importantly – making time for yourself, you’ll end up feeling great and be able to give more of yourself to the people you love.
How do you stay motivated?
I’ve managed to create a life that I love, which makes me stay motivated because I’m excited! I’m passionate about helping other people lead healthy lives and I love spending time with my family every day – and those two things make it so much fun to wake up in the morning.
What does ‘me time’ look like for you?
Hmm, definitely on a deserted island drinking cocktails… 🙂
Just kidding (though that would be lovely!!). For me, “me time” is all about self-care and doing the things I love: taking a long walk, exploring Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, deep breathing and meditating, doing yoga and stretching – all the things that make me feel grounded and connected. I think the most important thing for women is to not feel selfish by taking time out for you. Ultimately, it will help your family, because you will feel better and be a better mum and wife.
Your favourite health / wellness / fitness resource?
Jamie Oliver 20 minute meals
I hope you have enjoyed another inspirational story to get you ready for another week. Stay tuned for next weeks story.