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For Busy People: How To Make Balanced Meals

For Busy People: How To Make Balanced Meals

Success—most, if not all, of us want to achieve it. The desire to achieve success is something we have been taught since childhood, but because of that drive, we sometimes forget to do the simple things, like sleep and eat properly. In order to better prepare balanced meals and prepare yourself for a busy day, it is important to follow these helpful tips.

1. Plan Ahead

When busy and searching for food, it’s important to avoid the many bad choices available, like burritos, chips, and sugary drinks (i.e. fraps, soda, energy drinks). Being busy doesn’t mean that your health should suffer, that’s why proper planning will not only save you more time throughout the day but also money. After all, you’re busy and your time is valuable—don’t waste it searching for the “quick fix” fast-food restaurant (usually, they’re not that fast anyway). The night before your busy day, take about an hour to pack a simple snack or meal. Healthy choices would be fruit, lettuce wraps with deli meat, and some veggie sticks (i.e. carrot or celery) for easy snacking.

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2. Use Meal Replacements

Sometimes, you’re so busy that you don’t even have time to chew food! No one ever said your food couldn’t be liquid (as long as it’s not liquor). Protein shakes and other meal replacement beverages are great alternatives to actual food. Not only do they provide a great source of fiber and protein, but it’s also very convenient to just carry a cup or sports bottle with you. For balance, attempt to have breakfast, lunch (possibly a meal replacement drink), and dinner, with a healthy snack in between each.

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3. Cook Meals in Bulk

When you are juggling multiple things like a family, career, and hobbies, choosing to make your meals in bulk will be one of the best decisions you’ll make! One of the easiest meals you can make is a big batch of baked chicken (if you’re too busy to look after it, you can put it in slow cooker and let it do all the work for you). Another easy recipe is shredded barbecue chicken—all you’ll need is chicken breast, your fave BBQ sauce, some vinegar, a slow cooker, salt and pepper, and bam! Of course, you can simply turn the slow cooker on low (8 to 10 hours to cook) and go on with your day! You can steam veggies in bulk as well. Here’s another great tip: invest in some good-quality storage containers in order eat these dishes a few days in a row.

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4. Remember: Veggies are Everything

Vegetables are some of the best foods for people on the go—they are healthy and they are usually easy to carry around. Carrots, celery, and snap peas are all great veggies to keep handy when you’re working overtime or trying to meet a deadline. Place them in a sandwich baggie and pack them away. Bring along a dip like hummus for some extra flavour. Veggies keep you alert and ready for the day, so having them throughout the day helps keep you energized and ready for anything.

5. Make time for yourself!

Sometimes, you are so busy that you don’t even take time for yourself, but taking a break every now and again is a good thing. Taking the time to truly enjoy the pleasures of life will not only help you mentally, but it will also give you more time to pursue your passions. The best balanced meal is a meal of balance—sitting around family and friends, enjoying good food and each other’s company. After all, you should never get too busy with making a living that you forget to live!

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Michael Murphy

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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