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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 January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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