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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.

More by this author

Jenna Anderson

Jenna is passionate in helping people find their personal power through movement and healthy life style choices.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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