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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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