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Healthy Eating Plan For Busy People

Healthy Eating Plan For Busy People

Most of us have been there before – after coming home from a full day of dealing with rush hour traffic, people problems, and office politics, we wonder “What’s for dinner?” With hardly anything in the kitchen, we settle for ordering pizza (again) or decide to fill up on pantry snacks. Our busy lives often prevent us from reaching our nutritional, health, and fitness goals. As a result, we end up packing on unwanted pounds and eating convenient, not-so-nutritious foods instead of the necessary, wholesome foods that our bodies crave.

It may be difficult to maintain healthy eating habits while leading a busy life, but it is not impossible. The five simple tips below will ensure you have a healthy eating plan to fit into your hectic schedule.

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1. Plan your meals out

You don’t have to go into a lot of detail. Just grab a sheet of paper and outline the meals you will have Monday – Sunday. This makes food shopping and preparation so much easier. Placing Post-it notes on your refrigerator where you will see the plan every day works just as well. If you plan to have spaghetti on Wednesday, for example, you will remember to buy pasta sauce or perhaps have time to make your own on Tuesday night. Planning your meals out for the week instantly makes your shopping easier. Instead of mentally throwing a list together while you rush into the store, you already know what it is you need to get, and you can shop for the entire week at one time.

2. Cook once; eat it twice (or thrice!)

You can cook one main ingredient recipe on Monday, and then use that same recipe for different meals throughout the week. Chicken, for example, can be eaten for dinner one night. What’s left over can be diced and used to make an easy Chicken Salad Sandwich for lunch the next day. Cooking one time for multiple meals ensures that you will never not have something ready to eat and also cuts down on kitchen cleaning time.

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3. Keep calm and freeze on

If you think your freezer is just for storing half eaten cartons of ice cream, you should think again. You can prep a bunch of one-dish meals like casseroles, chilis, and stews, and then freeze them without even having to cook them ahead of time. When you’re ready to eat, just pop your meal into the oven or place it on the stove and you have a hot, fresh, home-cooked meal in no time. For the morning, try these Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches. For lunch, try these Turkey and Black Bean Enchiladas. For dinner, the possibilities are almost endless.

4. Shake it up in the mornings

No, I’m not talking about those ready made drinks that come in chocolate or vanilla or strawberry flavors. Healthy breakfast shakes and smoothies are a snap to make before you have to rush out the door in the morning. They will leave you feeling energized and full for a few good hours. There are so many delicious ways to mix up your shakes and smoothies that you’ll never get bored. You can use protein powder, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and even Greek yogurt. Try this Coffee Java Protein Shake, this Avocado-Banana Smoothie, or this Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie.

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5. Pack your lunch the night before.

No need to have a co-worker pick up McDonald’s for you anymore. If you eat lunch at your work place, pack your meal for the next day. You can also pack your own healthy snacks, such as trail mix, nuts, dried fruits, etc., and take it with you in an insulated bag. Check out this list of 23 Make-Ahead Lunches to Get You Through the Work Week.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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