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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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