Healthy Habits for Busy Lives

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We’ve all been there – hunger strikes, we’re not prepared, and we eat whatever’s in sight. We grab anything that is fast, easy, and often unhealthy. It’s important to understand that these last minute binds we put ourselves in are not the only option. Sometimes life happens and despite our best efforts to eat healthy, it doesn’t always work out that way.

It can be difficult to balance consistent healthy eating habits with busy lives, but it is possible!

Set a Goal

Whether you want to lose weight, feel more energized, or build healthier habits, it’s important to set your intentions. Have an idea of what you want to do and how you want to get there. Keep it simple and be realistic. Things like, I want to cook more at home this week or I want to eat more fruits and vegetables – are a great start.

The mind is a powerful thing and when we visualize our destination, it can make it much easier for us to get where we want to be.

Prepare

This is a big one! Taking a portion of your Sunday (or whatever day works best for you) to set yourself up for the week can mean all the difference. Make a plan. Try to imagine your week and think about what you can do to make it easier on yourself. What can you prepare? What can you do now to save time later? Invest a couple of hours over the weekend to set your week up for success!

  • Plan out meals for the week and create a grocery list from that (post it on the fridge to remember the meals planned for the week).
  • Meal prep – keep it simple. If it’s too overwhelming to make a meal every day try making meals for half of the week. Alternatively, try making a large amount of whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal) and lean protein (salmon, chicken, tofu) all at one time to easily assemble meals throughout the week.
  • Chop fresh fruit and veggies to easily throw into meals or eat as snacks.
  • Put together wholesome snack options for the week – make a hummus and veggie plate, whip up some chia pudding, boil up a few hard boiled eggs or stock up on LUNA® bars (Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter and Nutz Over Chocolate® are favorites)

Be Mindful During Meals

How are we supposed to practice mindfulness and honor our fullness cues when we are scarfing down lunch in front of computer screens? Put away the distractions, slow down, and breathe between bites.

No matter how stressful things can get at work or in life we have to remember to slow down and be aware of how our bodies feel. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are no longer hungry. Fast eaters often are overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are still satisfied.2

Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals can not only cause your blood sugar to dip low, it can also impact your energy level and ability to focus. Without a steady supply of key nutrients, we get hangry and somehow end up at the nearest fast food drive through. This is where that planning comes into play!

Win the Battle at the Store

You are going to eat what you bring home. If you bring home unhealthy food choices, guess what? That is exactly what you are going to end up eating. So, make your trips to the store thoughtful. Have a plan for what you bring home.

  • Bring a list, don’t just wing it
  • Don’t go to the store on an empty stomach
  • Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and unsaturated fats

Eat More Veggies

If we told you fresh vegetables (and fruit) could help keep your digestive system happy and regular, help support health, and give you energy would you eat more? Well it’s true and we hope that motivates you to get your daily recommendation of 2.5 cups a day.2

  • Greens, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli are great additions to your scrambled eggs or omelets
  • Micro-greens, radish, sautéed mushrooms can add flavor and nutrition to your avocado toast
  • Bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers with hummus make a perfect snack
  • Get creative with salads, pastas, soups, and wraps – it's so easy to toss in veggies to these meals (Pinterest is my favorite for inspiration)

Eat Healthy While Eating Out

As hard as we try, finding ourselves at a restaurant or happy hour can seem unavoidable at times. Whether it’s social or work related, it happens. And when it does, it’s best to have a game plan. Check the menu beforehand to give you more time to make a healthy choice. Eat a nutritious snack before you go to keep you from eating the entire breadbasket when you first sit down. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask how the dishes are prepared or the substitutions you want. Remember to enjoy yourself and that you can’t control everything, so be easy on yourself. One unhealthy meal out isn’t going to make or break your progress.

Tips for Eating Out:

  • Grilled/baked over fried
  • Side of fruit or salad over fries
  • Dressing/sauces on the side
  • Share your main dish – most restaurant’s serving sizes are for 2-3 people
  • You don’t have to eat everything on your plate, take the extras home

Balance

This word is thrown around a lot. So what does balance actually mean? It’s different for everyone. Don’t let someone else’s definition affect yours; you are the only person able to define it.

Healthy eating habits while living a busy life can happen! Be mindful of what you eat. Plan it. Think about it. Also realize it is up to you to make it happen. Practice, planning, and effort make all the difference – especially if you’re busy. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that success does not mean you have to be perfect. Remind yourself that one day or one week of being off track should not discourage you. You got this!

References

  1. All about the Vegetable Group. (2018, January 04). Retrieved July 2, 2018, from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/...
  2. Wolfram, T. (2016, November 11). 7 Tips for Healthy Dining Out. Retrieved July 6, 2018, from https://www.eatright.org/healt...