Life is busy. School, work, kids, walking the dog - they take an enormous amount of time. It's enough to make a person forget about good nutrition. When bad eating habits are formed, they are often hard to break. So as you find yourself cutting corners to save time, instill a few healthy habits along the way.
Drink green tea, not coffee.
Avoid processed food.
Choose whole wheat and quinoa.
Avoid white bread, white sauces, white rice.
Choose fresh fruit, veggies and nuts for snacks.
Prepare for that shopping trip - eat first and make a list! Arriving hungry, even mildly so, tempts you into buying easy meals and tasty treats. Pass up starchy and fatty foods so you are not tempted at home.
Buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Take recipes and shop for specific meals. Follow your list and when a cake or package of cookies calls your name, know they will make you feel sluggish for hours after only moments of enjoyment. Buy strawberries, grapes and oranges to satisfy cravings for sweets.
When hurried, healthy habits are difficult. The easy route is fast food or frozen dinners. Planning ahead saves time and the frustration of figuring out what to make for dinner at a moment's notice.
Prepare several meals at once, preferably on a day off so you have time to organize the whole week. Put them in the freezer so all you need to do is warm them up. Though it may not seem any different than finding prepared meals at the grocery store, it is more healthy as the ingredients are fresher and no preservatives will be added.
Soup or casseroles are favorites and are transferred to containers of just the right size for your needs. Also, tossing together a bunch of veggies in a crock pot allows you to focus on other responsibilities while the meal makes itself.
As for the snacks – cut up the fruit and veggies into single servings so you can have them handy in the fridge when at home or putting together lunch for the day. Keep dried fruit and/or nuts, water and power bars in a bag in the car for those times you are caught in traffic and feel an urge to stop at a burger joint.
Getting a fully balanced diet every day is challenging. Adding supplements can take up the slack. Please note: supplements are just that – not replacements for food. Taking them instead of a meal does not make for healthy habits.
But they do have their place to fill in portions when certain foods are unavailable. Read the labels and follow directions, as taking more than the recommended amount is counterproductive and your body will eliminate any excess, giving your kidneys and liver stress.
Choosing good food means also avoiding the genetically modified organisms, pesticides and hormones that are all found in packaged, processed and even some fresh foods.
Take a walk.
Make small changes.
Close your eyes.
Breathe deeply in and out.
Focus on this moment.
The Mayo Clinic explains stress is a normal reaction to stimuli. It is natural and healthy – but only to a point. When stressed, your senses are heightened, your body automatically releases extra hormones and that idea of whether to stay and fight or run off and hide comes into play. That’s okay for the short term, say a few minutes, but harboring those feelings continuously wears you down, mentally and physically.
Taking time to reduce stress is really managing your time better. Each person is different, some lean towards yoga, others jogging. The point is, identify what gives you the most stress and find ways to reduce it - every day. If there are none, such as lacking money for all the things you need, then choose your way to reduce the stress of the situation. You will actually understand all the hype if you keep an open mind and give it a try.
Psychology Today explains that mindfulness is paying attention to the now and to see your thoughts and feelings without judgment. But what does that really mean?
When you take the time to focus on the moment, you allow the stress of what happened yesterday and anxiety about what can happen tomorrow to slough off. It just happens automatically.
Take time to breathe deeply with eyes closed - if only for five minutes – as you will actually relax. When relaxed, you formulate plans that make sense and are planned. When panicked, you react without thinking. Mindfulness reduces the stress you feel now. And that will affect your whole life in positive ways.
Putting It All Together
Your body cannot be healthy without your mentality following suit. You can eat all the vitamins and minerals you want but still be on the downside of health. Good food cannot keep you well when pressure builds and builds over time. You must identify the stressors and the ways to decompress.
Changing your diet, your exercise and stress management habits all at once and too quickly will produce its own set of stress. Park the car a block away, replace a soda with water and take time for yourself for just a few minutes. A little each day, make a small change. Soon, the healthy habits will form permanently.
You can have a healthier and all around better lifestyle - even with a busy schedule - if you make the effort to make changes for yourself. Visit us at one of our locations if you need help meal planning or finding the supplements best fitting to your needs.