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9 Simple Healthy Eating Rules for Busy People

9 Simple Healthy Eating Rules for Busy People

Our modern lifestyle, with all its good sides, also has brought disorder in our eating and sleeping patterns, as well as a decrease in physical activity.

Nowadays, we spend most of our time being static — while commuting to the job, sitting at a desk in the office, or relaxing on the couch. If we add the lack of time for exercise, then we get a perfect way to gain weight and live an unbalanced life. After a long day at the office and surviving rush hour traffic, the last thing on your mind is making a healthy meal. We all do the same: order our favorite food (we deserve it, after getting through the day) and wait for it in front of the TV.

People link healthy living with skipping out on things and, in some way they are right – fast food, alcohol, cigarettes, and sweets all have to go out. It does seem daunting, but it is doable. It all comes down to the way of preparing food, making choices, and changing the way we think.

Having a healthy diet despite your busy schedule is possible. Here’s how to do it.

1. Blend Everything

healthy nutrition for busy people - blending

    There is a way to create a healthy and nutritious meal in a few minutes. Wondering how? The answer is – blending. The blended meal can replace breakfast, lunch or dinner or it can be a refreshing snack. This way you can make smoothies, soups or whipped dips.

    What can be blended? Absolutely everything – fruits, vegetables and even meat. There are many recipes on the Internet so the ideas are plenty, and you can express your creativity by combining the food you love or experiment with food mixtures that seem interesting.

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    Smoothies are also quite effective because they stop your sugar cravings if you add some low-fat yogurt or ice cream.

    2. Have a Healthy Delivery

    delivery

      It often happens that lunch breaks at work are spent working instead of actually enjoying a meal. In these moments, we reach for pastries, donuts or pizza delivery. I, for example, know by heart the phone numbers of pizza joints and fast food restaurants and order unhealthy food without thinking. That has to change!

      Find which restaurants serve healthy food on the Internet and the next time you wish to order, call them. You will be surprised how many tasty and nutritious meals you will be able to choose! Salads with grilled chicken or seafood, various types of grilled fish, grilled calamari or pasta with goat cheese, lemon and asparagus. You’ve already gotten hungry, haven’t you?

      3. Protein Powder and Bars

      protein

        Protein supplements have become a necessity for a busy lifestyle since protein-rich food doesn’t come cheap, and there is less time to prepare it. When you are late for work in the morning, rushing to the door, the last thing you have in mind is to make a quick meal, and this is one scenario where protein shakes and bars come in handy.

        In some cases, you may simply find that there is one particular protein shake flavor or protein bar that you find absolutely delicious and just want to include it in your diet. But remember, although these helpful supplements may be a convenient way to make you full, it doesn’t mean that they are a replacement for a proper meal. It is advisable to consume them regularly but only as an addition to a well-balanced diet.

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        4. Carry Your Health in Bottles

        bottles

          What first comes to your mind when you think of a healthy drink? If it’s water you’re thinking of, you are right. What the body needs – water provides. It re-hydrates our system because we lose fluids through breathing, sweating, and metabolism. Water has one more advantage – it is calorie and sugar-free.

          Always have a small bottle of water in your purse, car and at the office desk. This way you will remind yourself to hydrate. If you want to save the money and spare yourself from stopping by in store when you realize you didn’t buy the water the night before, fill bottles at home. Use water filtered pitchers to filter water, and pour it into the bottle you will carry before leaving the house. Water filters reduce lead, zinc, copper, cadmium, mercury, chromium, DDT and chlorine taste. If you like flavored waters, you can add crushed berries, crushed mint, peeled and sliced cucumber or sliced citrus fruits into the container.

          5. Prepare for the Workweek Accordingly

          healthy nutrition for busy people - containers

            Having food prepared in advance is essential to keep healthy eating habits, as well as to lose or maintain weight. When healthy meals are ready and immediately available, we are more likely to eat those meals instead of ordering unhealthy fast food or stopping at the store for a quick snack.

            Also, by doing this, we reduce stress and anxiety when trying to figure out what to eat every single day for the rest of our lives. The key to success is in preparation. It’s simple – it is all about in the make-ahead recipes that you can prepare and enjoy eating all week. Furthermore, everything can be done in just one day, so you don’t need to stress about it for the rest of the workweek.

            6. Be Careful What You Order in Restaurants

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            restoran

              Sometimes people avoid restaurants thinking it will sabotage their healthy diet, but that doesn’t necessarily need to happen if you plan ahead, consider the menu and choose your meal carefully to keep it up with your diet plan. Even if you are eating out at a café or a restaurant, you can make healthy choices to ensure that your meal is well balanced.

              If you do not want to end up eating more than you would have done when you are serving your own portions, the first thing to remember is that wherever, whatever and whenever you are eating – you do not need to clear your plate! Try to eat slowly, take your time and stop eating when you are full.

              7. Stack Favorite Fruit and Veggies Everywhere

                Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Also, they lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Eating produce can make weight management easier because they are low in calories. Consuming fruit and vegetable regularly contributes to weight loss or maintenance of a healthy body shape.

                Do not forget to fulfill your daily dose of fresh produce, and also to always have a fresh snack that will quench your hunger. The trick is to leave fruits and vegetables on tactical places. Leave the apple on the office desk and put a banana in a drawer. Leave an orange in the car; i.e. – in the glove compartment. Put a carrot in your purse, and perhaps have some grapes on the living room table. Of course, the choice and combination of fruits and veggies depend on you and your affinity.

                8. Opt for Yogurt

                healthy nutrition for busy people - yogurt

                  Yogurt can be a great ally in your healthy diet plan, but like any other food it should be eaten moderately since balanced and varied diet is necessary for good health. It is a great dairy product, rich in calcium and protein, but more importantly, it is low in fat and calories.

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                  Finding a type of yogurt that suits your needs is also important, and it is determined on how much you eat on a daily basis because some are more nutritious than others. For example, if you are not into plain low-fat yogurt, which is very nutritious by the way, you can add to it other foods to improve flavor such as fruit for sweeter taste or nuts to add some crunchiness while increasing nutritious protein and healthy unsaturated fats.

                  9. Healthy Sandwich Options Worthy of a King

                  sandwich

                    All it takes is correct planning and only about five minutes to make – the sandwich is the perfect choice combining whole grains, veggies, and protein into one filing meal. It is basically two pieces of bread that leave room in-between for an indefinite amount of stacked nutrients, and when it is done right, it makes for a healthy and filling option. So if you want something done right – do it yourself.

                    To make a low-calorie sandwich without sacrificing good taste or satisfaction try to add some avocados or pickles, pile it on the veggies, switch to whole-grain and skip the bread altogether. Try to introduce some meat-free proteins or just think beyond basic meat and cheese and add flavor with low-calorie accompaniments. And after all, remember – diet is not only about losing weight, it’s about eating right!

                    Go Healthy!

                    Healthy nutrition for busy people - go healthy

                      Healthy living is a long-term commitment, and it requires an effort in the beginning. To succeed, make plans – what and when you’re going to eat. When you have the opportunity, prepare your meals and drinks at home to avoid the risk of returning to old habits.

                      Make sure to leave produce and snacks in places where you spend most of your time. Explore the Internet for healthy recipes and if you feel like giving up, remember all the benefits that your new lifestyle will bring.

                      Featured photo credit: newhealthadvisor.com via newhealthadvisor.com

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                      Last Updated on November 12, 2020

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                      If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                      If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                      In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                      What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                      If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                      Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                      • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
                      • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
                      • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                      • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
                      • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                      • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
                      • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                      Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

                      Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                      Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

                      1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
                      2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                      3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                      The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                      Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                      You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

                      Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

                      If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

                      Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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                      Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

                      Symptoms of fatigue include:

                      • Difficulty concentrating
                      • Low stamina
                      • Difficulty sleeping
                      • Anxiety
                      • Low motivation

                      These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                      Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                      How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                      The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                      Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                      Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

                        The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                        Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                        Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

                        If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                        It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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                        4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                        Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                        1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                        2. Exercising regularly
                        3. Using stressbusters
                        4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                        After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                        I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                        Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                        • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
                        • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
                        • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                        • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                        The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

                        Living Healthy

                        Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

                        In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

                        As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                        Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                        1. Unplug

                        Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

                        Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                        2. Unwind

                        Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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                        3. Get Comfortable

                        Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                        Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                        Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

                        This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                        Exercise

                        Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                        That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

                        I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

                        If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                        Attitude

                        Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                        When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

                        But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

                        Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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                        1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
                        2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
                        3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
                        4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
                        5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
                        6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

                        This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                        When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

                        Nutrition

                        Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                        If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

                        Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                        Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                        1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                        2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
                        3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
                        4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
                        5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                        6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
                        7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
                        8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
                        9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

                        Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                        That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                        Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

                        The Bottom Line

                        If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

                        If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

                        Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                        More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

                        Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                        [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                        [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                        [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                        [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
                        [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
                        [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                        [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                        [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
                        [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                        [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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