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3 Steps To Easy Meal Planning For Busy People (With A Quick Recipe!)

3 Steps To Easy Meal Planning For Busy People (With A Quick Recipe!)

When you’re ready for a meal, there’s a lot of “other stuff” in the way – like hunger, temptation, and being tired, which leads you to eat fast and unhealthy.

If you set up your week before you’re in the moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re tired or hungry – you will still make a good decision because the easiest option is already prepared and ready.

Meal planning can sound like it takes a lot of time and maintenance. Some meal planning strategies have so many steps that you could spend hours just planning your meal planning! And most likely, you’ll just never do it.

Here’s an easy 3-step guide to meal planning that you’ll actually be able to do!

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1. Make two sides during the weekend

Make easy sides like bean, lentil, healthy carb or vegetable dishes. They can be refrigerated for most of the week. You can pull them out every evening for dinner and pack for lunch the next day.

Choosing sides with flavors and spices (does not have to be spicy) will make you want to eat it. Spices and flavors really work themselves into the dish more over time, so they taste even better each day! A spice blend that works for almost anything is 1 teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper.

I share a recipe below for an easy side that is quick to make and you can easily take on the go below, my “No-Cook 3-bean Salad.”

2. Store food in glass containers

Glass helps food keep its freshness for longer (I tested this myself) and they’re safer for your food. Each side can be stored for at least 4 days in a glass container.

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Buy different sizes to store at home and take to work. You can also buy plastic containers to transport to work because they’re lighter. However, plastic containers do not keep food as long and are not safe for longer-term storage due to the material of the plastic. It’s better to use plastic just to take to work and discard after a few uses.

Here are my favorite glass containers: Kinetic Go Green Glasslock Series (I have the 64, 37 and 17 oz. sizes for my family of four).

3. During the week make an easy protein

Preferably use white meat or eggs, such as grilled chicken, fish, or an omelet. You can also have a whey protein shake or tofu, which are both great sources of vegetarian protein.

Pair this protein with the sides you already prepared, and it will be delicious and easy! Make extra so you can take it to work the next day. To further save time during the week, you could also marinate and/or prepare your protein portion on the weekends.

Imagine if you came home from work to Cumin Coriander Fish and No-Cook 3- Bean Salad already prepared! How much easier would it be for you to lose weight or just eat better? Do you see how you would be setting yourself up for more energy + weight-loss?

Your mouth will be watering at lunch time and you won’t even be tempted to go get a sloppy burrito from that taco truck around the corner.

If there’s one thing you can do to get the most bang to buck ratio – it’s to think ahead for the week. Check out my easy side dish below which you can make ahead of time – it’s packed with protein, healthy carbs and it’s super fast to make! Plus, it’s easy to transport to work and when you’re on the go.

No-Cook 3-Bean Salad

Prep Time 15 Minutes

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 whole tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (optional, only if you prefer heat)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

Dressing

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except spinach and dressing ingredients.
  2. Add dressing ingredients to a separate small bowl and whisk together.
  3. Pour over beans and mix. Add baby spinach and enjoy!

Check out my website for my free “Weight-loss Recipes Handbook for Ambitious Women” which includes the Cumin Coriander Fish recipe that goes so well with this 3-Bean Salad!

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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