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Melissa Rycroft Talks Healthy Swaps and Her Fit Mommyhood Routine

With limited me-time, Melissa incorporates her daughter into her workouts and is embracing a new carefree motto for 2013, "Whatever happens happens!" (Photo courtesy of Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Extra Gum)

Written by Rachel Torgerson, editorial intern

Life in post-resolution January can be rough, unless you simplify your goals. That’s exactly why former Bachelor contestant Melissa Rycroft teamed up with Extra gum to promote healthy swaps. We chatted with Melissa and got the scoop on her favorite healthy snacks, exercising with a new toddler in tow and life after Dancing with the Stars. Spoiler alert: this ex-Dallas Cowboys cheerleader won't be putting on her dancing shoes anytime soon!

How do you make your health a priority?

I’m a huge advocate for living a healthy lifestyle. I have a family now, so health is of the utmost importance to me, but I also think it’s important not to disguise your old lifestyle. I think we all have guilty pleasures, but that’s a part of who we are. So, I really love this idea of “Simple Swaps!” It’s not about overhauling your entire life and wiping out your fridge full of food and putting in dry lettuce leaves, because let’s be honest, that’s not fun! It’s all about taking the things that you love and just  swapping one or two ingredients. For example, swapping Greek yogurt for sour cream.

What is your stay-healthy routine?

I grew up very healthy and active, knowing which foods to eat and stay away from. Now, having my own little one, I like to go on bike rides, I like to go on jogs—just being outside and staying active makes me feel better. I feel like there’s a misconception sometimes that ‘healthy’ means ‘skinny’ or ‘stick thin.’ I think it’s important to get the message out that we all look different and we’re all shaped differently but it’s so important just to give your body the nutrients that it wants and work it out the way it wants.

Can you tell us some of your favorite healthy snacks?

I love Greek yogurt, love oatmeal, love blueberries and I love my stick of gum that I put in when I’m craving a snack. My guilty pleasure is chocolate so I really have to stay away from candy bars!

Since we are talking about swaps, what else would you recommend to make meals healthier?

Swapping your dinner plates. It sounds silly going from a full-size dinner plate to a medium plate, but you don’t put as much food on and, to be honest, we don’t need to eat that entire meal. I also really like substituting the bottled salad dressing that you buy for olive oil and balsamic vinegar—it tastes really good, but it has nothing added to it compared to even the healthiest of healthiest pre-bottled salad dressings. Easy stuff that you switch out can really transform how healthy a meal can be.

What are some of your favorite workouts?

I’ve become a runner. I used to hate it. I absolutely couldn’t stand it.  My husband recently got me a bicycle, which I laughed at. What am I going to do with a bike? But, I love it! These days free time is at a premium so incorporating [my daughter] Eva into what I do—putting her on the back of the bike or putting her in the stroller and running around with her—makes my life much easier.

Tell us about Dancing with the Stars! Do you still dance to work out?

I do not dance to work out! I burned those shoes the second that competition was over! It was a great experience to get to do it again, I felt very lucky. It was a wonderful experience, but no, I will not ever dance again! I would rather go outside and run on a treadmill in the desert for eight hours than put my dance shoes back on again!

What’s up next for you?

I’m going with the motto of “whatever happens happens!” After Dancing with the Stars, I took the rest of the year off, which unfortunately was only a month! Right now, I’m thinking about ‘mommyhood,’ but we’ve got some stuff in the works and we’ll see what 2013 brings!

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