Advertising
Advertising

For Busy People: 20 Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change Your Life

For Busy People: 20 Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change Your Life

With obesity rates at an all time high in America, along with economic struggle, it can seem as though healthy eating is always just out of reach. With medical costs being expensive, healthy eating is something you can’t afford to not do. If you start early enough you’ll be able to set a great example for your children. Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a huge bite out of your budget, it just has to take a little bit of planning.

Another big challenge is the level of multi-tasking demanded of adults today! Between work, errands, getting the kids to their events, and a home life, eating can seem like a mountain of a task – let alone eating healthy. It’s just as challenging for college kids or high school kids who are as busy, but often limited in their choices and ability to get good food.

Most of us are lucky if we get one semester in high school or college where food is addressed. We’re shown the food pyramid, maybe discuss the benefits of food, and, if we’re lucky, lightly touch on the macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Calories, choices, and the cumulative effects of a bad diet along with the problems and disease it causes in the body are rarely touched upon – not that any high schooler is prepared to give up pizza and junk food. By the time we’re adults, poor (or almost-healthy) choices are more of a habit and a way of life, and creating healthy eating habits can easily become “just one more thing” on the to-do list.

Like anything, healthy eating habits begin by making a conscious choice to change how you approach food, your thoughts behind food, and your emotional connection concerning eating.

Habits take time to build. To help you get started, here are 22 easy healthy eating habits.

Know the difference between eating healthy and dieting

Just because you’re choosing to make healthier food choices, doesn’t mean you’re on a diet or restricting calories. It just means you’re reaching for an apple instead of a cookie. It’s often as simple as making a healthy swap.

Advertising

Build your meals around protein first

Take a moment to find your favorite protein sources (think animal by-products, such as chicken, bison, fish, eggs) and when you get ready to decide on a meal, pick out your protein source and add veggies around it.

Switch to just your favorite snacks first

If changing all of your meals seems over-whelming at first, simply start with changing your snacks to your favorite healthy snacks.

Keep a protein bar in your purse or car for emergencies

When life throws you a curve-ball and you’re late for dinner, don’t sabotage all of your efforts by grabbing a candy bar or fast food because you’re so hungry you can’t think straight. Instead, keep an emergency stash in your purse or car. This could be a healthy protein bar, a small to-go serving of powdered protein, fruit, or a nut bar. One of these healthy alternatives will help get you through.

Avoid drinking too many of your calories

Yes, coffee is calorie free, but a latte, frappe, large soda, or even a pre-made juice drink can be high in sugar and calories. Your body doesn’t register liquid calories the same way it does food calories. They can easily be stored as fat, or encourage you to overeat.

Focus pushing out temptation by adding more of your favorites

Fries with your burger may be hard to resist, so instead of letting them come on the plate and battling the urge, substitute them with something healthier. If you’re in a big get together where you know there will be tempting junk food, make sure you bring a big platter of your new favorite snacks.

Throw away temptation

Don’t start your healthy choices thinking you’ll avoid the cookies, the cupcakes, or whatever you may be tempted with. Instead, go through your house and throw away all the awful food. Don’t give it to your kids or eat your way through it. Don’t sacrifice your health (or your kids) for even a moment.

Advertising

Don’t let your work/class schedule dictate when you eat

Plan your meals into your schedule and make sure your meals are prepared. It’s easier to take a five minute break to grab a snack or a meal (and you’ll be more productive) if you have it scheduled in, and already have the food with you.

Stock your house with only healthy snacks

Get your entire family on board and stock the house with only healthy snacks. Keep in mind, “healthy” doesn’t necessarily mean “organic”! If your kids are used to eating sugary cereals and processed foods, this will take a little time, and can be a bit of a battle; however, it’ll be better for you and them in the long run. Think of their future.

Start your day with a big glass of water

Start out your morning first thing with a big 16oz glass of water. You’ve been fasting all night, so this first drink helps hydrate your cells, wake you up, and fill your belly while you make a healthy breakfast.

Stay full by sneaking protein into every meal or snack

Eggs are versatile. You can find away to sneak them into just about everything. Low fat cheese, even shredded chicken or beef, are great options. Find a way to sneak these into every meal or snack! Protein helps you maintain lean muscle mass and helps you to feel satiated longer.

Fill over half your plate with veggies you love

Once you have your protein picked out, try to fill over half your plate with veggies. Experiment with different ways to cook vegetables, including the ones you previously hated. You might be surprised with what you enjoy.

Experiment with making salads

Salads can be way more exciting than just salad and maybe some meat with dressing. Experiment with different styles (chunky veggies, shredded, cut, warm, cold, etc.) and different toppings from all the food groups. Even experiment with salads which don’t have any lettuce in them.

Advertising

Don’t hang around places with open snack foods where you can mindlessly munch away

Avoid keeping a bowl of chocolate or candy on your desk because of the temptation. Try to avoid going places with open bowls of grab food. You could end up just mindlessly munching on whatever you can reach for no other reason than it’s there. If you have this issue, or have to enjoy an event, then keep a glass of water in your hand and every time you try to eat, take a drink instead, and walk away for ten minutes.

If the restaurant you’re eating at doesn’t have a healthy choice, make a request and build your own plate

Don’t be afraid to make a request at a restaurant. You’re paying them to make you a meal, so make sure it’s one you feel good about. Often making a swing from fries to veggies (or pasta to a small amount of rice) is a great decision and won’t affect the bill much.

Remember organic isn’t always a good choice since it can still be heavily processed

Macaroni and cheese (organic or not) can still be heavy in fat and carbs. Organic cookies are still cookies, high in sugar and not supportive of the healthy changes you’re trying to make. Keep in mind, just because something totes an organic label (or a natural label) it doesn’t always make it a healthier choice.

Prep for breakfast and teach yourself to eat something healthy within 90 minutes of waking up

Not everyone is ready for breakfast when they get up, but research has shown it is important to start the day off right. Not to mention, you’ll be more awake, clear-headed, and productive throughout the day if you start with a healthy decision. Your body will be primed for the day. Look for high protein, low sugar, and healthy fats to kick-start your day – preferably within 90 minutes of waking, in order to make sure you don’t dip into low blood sugar levels.

Look for Crock-pot recipes if you’re busy

Overnight oats, Crock-pot soups, and even roasts are great choices if you’re super busy. Just throw it in the night before and when you get up you’re ready to go with your meal.

Buy frozen if you don’t cook fresh veggies fast enough

If fresh veggies have a tendency to spoil before you get to them, don’t be afraid to pack your freezer full of a variety of different frozen veggies.

Advertising

Add veggies to EVERYTHING

Whether its Ramen Noodle Soup or your eggs in the morning, add veggies to spice up the flavor, boost the nutrient values, and help you feel full longer.

Invest in reusable containers so you can take your food with you

Reusable containers make packing your lunch and snacks the night before incredibly easy. All you have to do is grab them from the fridge in the morning and you’re set for the day. Not to mention, you can portion it out if you want to, and still go enjoy lunch with your friends or co-workers.

Pack a lunch the night before

If you’re lunch is packed the night before then it’s one less thing to do in the morning when you’re rushing to get out the door.

Conclusion

Eating healthy is about deciding to make a positive change in your life, and then applying just a little bit of effort in order to make that change come true. Taking the time to plan your meals (just like you would plan your outfit for the next day), will go a long ways toward setting you up for success.

If changing your eating habits in one fell swoop feels too over-whelming, then focus on just changing one meal at a time. Start with working on a healthy breakfast for a few weeks, then add in a healthy snack. Make a little extra a dinner and have a game-plan for those moments when your day may go sideways and off kilter. Having a back-up plan will help you stay on track.

Healthy eating habits can be created with just a few small changes everyday. I’d love to hear from you and what eating habits or tricks you use.

More by this author

8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian Adrenal Fatigue Stages: What you need to know about this 21st Century Stress Disease 5 Food Cures That You Can Grow In The Office Quick And Easy: How To Get Rid Of Arm Fat For Good For Busy People: 20 Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change Your Life

Trending in Food and Drink

1 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go 2 Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brain Health And Brain Power 3 15 Brain Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly to Keep Your Mind Sharp 4 These 25 Healthy Meal Ideas Can Be Ready in 30 Minutes or Less 5 17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

Advertising

3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

    Advertising

    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

    Advertising

    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

    Advertising

    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    Read Next