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33 Healthy Veggie Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

33 Healthy Veggie Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

Life moves fast, which is why fast food is so popular. The last thing people want to do after a hectic whirlwind of a day is to spend another hour in the kitchen. Unfortunately, most fast food from the drive through window is an unhealthy option. But, fast food doesn’t need to equate to junk food. Here are 33 fast (and fatigued-cook friendly) healthy vegetarian meals that will tickle your taste buds.

Note: Most of these options can be made completely vegan. Simply sub out the milk for Almond or Soy milk, the cheese for vegan cheese or cashew cheese substitutes, or the sour cream or cream cheese for Toffuti.

1. Raw Avocado Chocolate Pudding

A great healthy dessert! And you won’t even taste the avocado! Blend together meat from 4 ripe Hass avocados, 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder, 1/3 cup raw honey or agave nectar (to taste), 1/4 tsp vanilla, and one pinch of salt until smooth. Let it set in the fridge and enjoy!

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    2. Fruit Smoothies

    This is an amazing way to get living fresh foods in your diet during the day. I have one of these for breakfast just about every day. I’m partial to blending strawberry, banana, papaya, pineapple, mango, and berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries). I then add some spinach or kale, along with ground flax seeds, chia seeds, a splash of honey, almond milk, and ice. It’s a sweet way to wake up!

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      3. Oatmeal Peanut Butter Smoothie

      For another great breakfast smoothie idea that could also pass for a desert, blend together 1 cup oatmeal, 2 cups almond milk, 3-4 Tbsp peanut butter, 3 bananas, 1 cup strawberries (optional), and ice.

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        4. Open-Faced Egg Sandwich

        For those vegetarians that do eggs, this is a very easy, healthy meal. Take a slice of bread (I prefer Ezekiel Sprouted-Grain Breads) and toast it. Fry an egg sunny side up. Take the toasted bread and spread either pesto sauce or mayo on one side. Then, add a few slices of tomato and a sprinkle of chopped onion. Place the egg on top, careful not to break the yoke. Finish off with cheese sprinkles (cheddar, feta, or Parmesan work well) and salt and pepper to taste.

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          5. Stir-Fry Veggies

          Just about any veggie combo will work for this easy dinner idea. Drizzle hot pan with olive oil. Add fresh-cut or frozen broccoli florets, chopped onion and celery, one clove minced garlic, torn kale leaves, mushrooms, and other frozen veggies (I like the corn, peas, squash, and carrot blend). In separate pan, boil water and add instant brown rice per package directions. Add 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce or soy sauce to veggie mix. Sauté veggie blend until tender. Drain rice, plate it, and put veggie mixture on top. Drizzle with sesame oil or soy sauce and serve.

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            6. Avocado Sandwich

            The humble avocado is an amazing super food, containing healthy fats and age-fighting compounds. Toast two pieces of bread, cover one side with pesto and the other with spicy mustard. Fill with avocado slices, thinly-sliced onions and tomato, and salt and pepper.

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              7. Loaded Sweet Potato

              The sweet potato contains so many more benefits than a regular potato. Why not switch it out? In a microwave-safe bowl, place a sweet potato that you have washed and punched holes in with a fork. Microwave on high for 3 min on one side, then flip the potato and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. Depending on the potato size and your microwave strength, it may take a few more or less minutes to cook through. Slice the potato in half and throw on canned black beans, salsa, cheddar cheese, and sour cream for a tasty treat.

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                8. Bean Burrito

                In pan, combine one can black beans, one can refried beans, one can enchilada sauce, diced green chilies, chopped black olives, and grated cheddar cheese. Stir over heat until the cheese melts. Spread mixture over tortilla wrap and fold top ends down over mixture, then roll sides around the rest of the bean mixture to form a burrito. Top with more cheddar cheese and drizzle with enchilada sauce and microwave for 1 min. Add sour cream, salsa, and guacamole to top it off.

                9. Veggie Chilli

                Perfect for rainy cold days! Combine 2 cups of diced tomatoes, 3 cups salsa (I prefer the chunky style), 2 cups of kidney beans, 2 cups of black beans, one 10-ounce package of frozen corn, 1 cup diced green zucchini, 1 tbsp ground cumin, and 1 tbsp chili powder. Bring chili to simmer on medium, then cover and take heat down to low for a few minutes. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

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                  10. Taco Salad

                  While the health of some chips may be questionable, I love using healthy organic tortilla corn chips in the recipe. When you top it with healthy veggies, the chips become a crunchy side to the main veggie and bean event. To make this tasty treat, heat up 4 cups of chili beans. Then layer corn chips, chili beans, torn lettuce, kale, or spinach, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, black olives, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

                  11. Veggie Burger

                  Veggie burgers have come a long way in taste and selection. You can now find many different frozen veggie burgers in your grocery aisle. I also make my own and freeze them. But, since this is a fast recipe list, we will stick with the pre-made veggie burgers. Simply grill or pan fry the veggie burger until heated through. Toast a whole-wheat hamburger bun and pile on your favorite toppings. I personally love avocado, sautéed mushrooms and onions, spicy mustard, and spinach leaves.

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                    12. Veggie Frittata

                    This is for those egg lovers out there! Melt one tbsp of butter in frying pan. Add whatever veggies you want. I love mushrooms, bell peppers (red or green), chopped spinach, 2 minced garlic cloves, and onion. Sauté veggies until tender. While they are cooking, whisk 12 eggs and 1/4 cup water together. Pour eggs over the veggie mixture. Cook until the bottom is set, and lift the bottom of the frittata from the pan to allow egg mixture to run under and further cook. When the edges are set, either broil an additional two minutes to set the top, or flip the frittata and cook the top in the pan. Throw on cheese and chopped green onions and dig in.

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                      13. Breakfast Burrito

                      These tasty burritos are an easy and fun-to-assemble treat for the entire family. Mix 1 cup cooked black beans with the juice from 1/2 a lime, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp paprika. Then, whisk 4 eggs together with 2 tbsp of milk and a dash of salt and pepper, and scramble on an oiled skillet. When eggs are cooked, heat up the bean mixture and flour tortillas in the microwave. Layer the bean and egg mixture together on the warm tortilla, then add avocado slices, feta cheese, salsa, and arugula, wrap up and enjoy!

                      14. Veggie Kabobs

                      Veggie kabobs are one of my favorite meals when grilling out with the family. There are many ways to grill veggies. Most recipes call for an overnight marinade, which greatly adds to the flavor of this dish, but also to the time involved to make it. So, for the purpose of efficiently, we will stick with a simpler, yet still delicious approach. You can create a quick marinade with 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, a dash of salt, 1 tsp of honey, and 1 tbsp on olive oil. Mix your marinade up and then toss your veggies in to coat them. My favorite veggies to make into kabobs include baby bella mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes, tofu, and pineapple. Thread veggies onto metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden skewers and grill for 6 to 10 minutes – depending on your desired degree of doneness. When finished, you can drizzle any remaining marinade on the kabobs.

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                        15. Salads

                        Though many people don’t think of salads as a main dish, I have often made them my complete meal. Most people consider salads as a few iceberg lettuce pieces and two grape tomatoes. Not the salads that I make! My main greens consist of a combination of spinach, kale, and arugula. I then throw in tomatoes, avocado, olives, diced onion, bell pepper, cucumbers, sprouts, broccoli, dried fruit (cranberry is very good), and some type of nut (usually almonds or walnuts). You can also throw on chick peas, boiled egg, or black beans for added protein. I even make my own dressing by blending up 1/2 a cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 tbsp salt, and honey to taste (I usually do about 1/4 cup honey).

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                          16. Fancy Grilled Cheese Fig Sandwich

                          Everyone knows grilled cheese is a favorite fast kid snack. But, adults can enjoy a more fancy version of an old favorite with a few healthy additives. Take two slices of your favorite bread, add about 3 dried figs thinly sliced, a spoonful of chopped walnuts, two spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, two slices of brie, and two slices of mozzarella. Add a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of truffle salt. Top with the other slice of bread and press in a panini press or grill on a skillet until the bread is browned on both sides and the cheese has turned into a gooey mess of goodness.

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                            17. Fruit Parfait

                            Easy and healthy. What’s not to love? Take 3 cups vanilla yogurt (I always use yogurt with probiotics included to help with digestive health), one cup fresh or defrosted strawberries in juice, and 1 pint of fresh blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, and granola, and alternate layers in your parfait cup. You assemble the cups by starting with yogurt at the base, the fruit next, and the granola last. Then begin the layering again until the parfait cup is full. Enjoy immediately to keep the granola crunchy. You can even treat yourself to some whip cream on top – if you dare!

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                              18. Toast Pizza

                              If you love pizza but don’t have the time to create a large Italian masterpiece, you can do a faster version by using toasts in just mere minutes. Just cut your bread diagonally and brown one side. Then, spread the non-toasted side with tomato puree, a dash of minced garlic, and mozzarella and feta cheese. You can also add veggie toppings like mushroom, onion, bell pepper, basil, spinach and pineapple. Stick the toast back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and enjoy.

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                                19. Vegan Crepes

                                I love berry crepes, and these are so easy to make! To make the crepes, simply combine 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar and wisk together in a bowl. Then, add 1 cup almond or soy milk and whisk together until smooth. Heat up a pan and spray with cooking spray. When it’s hot, pour in about 1/4 of the mixture into the center. Make sure to rotate and angle the pan so you cover the entire area to make the crepes thin. You can tell when the crepe is done when you can easily move it around the pan. At this point, you can flip it to cook the other side. You want both sides lightly browned. While the crepes are cooking, combine fresh berries (I love blueberries, strawberries, and black berries) in a bowl and crush with a masher. Add 1 tbsp of maple syrup to the mixture and continue to crush until they are mashed together well. When the crepes are done, simply add the berry filling and roll the crepes together. You should be able to make four with this recipe. Take any left over berry mixture, drizzle over the top of the crepes, and serve.

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                                  20. Tahini With Veggies

                                  You can find tahini in most grocery stores. It consists of ground up sesame seeds and olive oil. I often add honey to tahini and use it as a nutritious veggie dip. You can dip carrots, bell pepper slices or okra for a very nutritious snack or side. It’s a fun way to give raw veggies a kick.

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                                    21. Guacamole Salad

                                    You can never go wrong with guacamole. However, here’s a twist on turning the traditional dip into a more hearty salad. Mix up 1 pint of halved grape tomatoes, 1 15-oz can of black beans, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 minced jalapeño pepper (seeds removed), 1/2 tsp freshly grated lime zest, one tsp salt, fresh ground black pepper, 1 diced yellow bell pepper (seeds removed), 1/2 cup diced red onion, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, and 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper. When you are ready to serve, peel and remove the seeds 2 two ripe Hass avocados, dice them up, and fold them into your salad.

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                                      22. Pita Sandwich

                                      If you use whole wheat pita bread, this is a very nutritious meal. Hummus, made from chick peas, is very healthy. You can buy both easily from most grocery chains and eat them together in a more simple version, or make pita sandwiches. I spread hummus generously inside the pita pocket, then throw in spinach greens, olives, onions, tomato slices, salt and pepper, avocado slices, and alfalfa sprouts. It’s an easy way to eat your veggies in a tasty package.

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                                        23. White Bean Sandwich

                                        I like to heat up 1 cup of cannelloni beans with 1 red bell pepper (seeded and cut into strips), 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan for about 8 minutes. Then, take a ciabatta loaf, cut into fourths, and make a small divot in the bottom half of the loaf and put 1/4 cup of the bean and pepper mixture in the divot. Then, add some sliced mozzarella, arugula and basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Easy to make and so filling!

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                                          24. Portobello Burger

                                          Mushroom burgers are some of my favorite veggie variations on the classic hamburger. Simply take a greased cookie sheet and place a large portobello mushroom cap rubbed in olive oil on the oiled surface. Cut the stem off, and add garlic salt and pepper to both sides to taste. Bake eight minutes. Then, remove from the oven, add shredded cheese of your choice, and pop it back in for a few more minutes until the cheese melts. Throw it on a hamburger bun with all your favorite hamburger toppings (I like Ranch dressing on mine), and dig in!

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                                            25. Kale and Cauliflower Pasta

                                            Kale is the king of greens! I always try to find ways to work it into recipes, as it is a powerhouse of nutrition. For this easy meal, cook any penne pasta according to package directions. Chop up 3 or 4 pieces of kale and slice up 3/4 of a cup of cauliflower. Sauté the cauliflower for 5 minutes with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Then, add the kale with an extra tbsp of oil, and cook for a few minutes until it’s slightly wilted. Then, add pasta and 1/4 cups of grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

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                                              26. Avocado Pasta

                                              This recipe is very healthy as the sauce doesn’t need to be cooked, and you get all the fresh micronutrients from your food. Simply cook 6 oz of your choice of spaghetti or angel hair pasta according to the package directions. Then, make the sauce in a food processor. Remove the skin and throw in the meat from one pitted Avocado, juice from half a lemon, 1 to 3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves. Process until your sauce is creamy, then toss in the al dente pasta and serve immediately.

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                                                27. Veggie Fried Rice

                                                This is a staple in our home. Cook brown rice according to the package directions. Then, stir fry your favorite veggies in olive oil. I often use broccoli, squash, carrots, peas, corn, onion, mushroom, and kale (put kale at last after everything is cooked). Season with garlic salt, wasabi powder, and soy sauce to taste. While cooking, I move my veggies to the outside of my pan and scramble an egg in the center for added protein. Finally, pour your cooked brown rice in with your veggies and fry together a bit longer, stirring frequently. Add soy sauce, and enjoy.

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                                                  28. Southwestern Veggie Pizza

                                                  Mexican and Italian meld together in this little gem. Preheat the oven to 450F. Take a pre-baked Italian bread shell (Boboli has a nice version) or use pita bread, spread 1/2 cup sour cream over the shell, then top with 3/4 cup chunky salsa, 1/2 cups black beans rinsed and drained, 1/4 cup green onions, and 4 oz of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses mixed together. Place pizza in oven until the cheese is melted, and serve with additional salsa or sour cream if desired.

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                                                    29. Veggie Curry

                                                    Who doesn’t love a good curry? This veggie version is fast with many spices to tempt the taste buds. First, take 20 fennel seeds, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, and a few cardamon seeds and place them in 1/2 cup boiling water to soak and get flavor into the water. Then, set aside. In a large pot boil about 4 cups water, throw in 1 peeled and cubed medium-sized turnip and boil for 5 minutes covered. Throw in 1/2 large cauliflower chopped into florets for 3 minutes more. Then, add chopped up green pepper (seeds removed) and cook for 1 minute. Next, put in 1 cup of frozen peas for an additional minute. Drain away the boiling water until you have about 1 cup of water left in the mixture. Move the vegetables to one side of the pot and add all the spices into the water (1 tbsp each of garam masala, ginger powder, and cumin powder; 1 tsp of paprika, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, and 1/2 tsp chili powder). Then, put in 1 small tub or 1/2 large tub of hummus (about 1 cup), add 1/2 cup tomato puree, and 1/4 cup of garlic puree. Finally, take 1/2 cup of the soaked 20 fennel seeds, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, and a few cardamon seeds that you set aside at the beginning and pour into the mix. You can take out the cinnamon stick if you wish. Put mixture on low heat for 2 minutes and mix together. Finally, add 1/4 cup fresh-chopped coriander stems and a few pieces of stem ginger for garnish. It’s an amazingly flavorful way to end your day!

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                                                      30. Avocado Variations

                                                      There are few things as simple and fulfilling as an avocado. It’s packed with great heart-healthy fats and nutrients. You can slice this fruit in half, pop out the seed, and fill it with several variations. I sometimes drizzle either soy sauce or sunflower seeds on top of the fruit. You can also put an egg inside the hole the pit left (you may need to scoop out a bit more avocado flesh to widen the hole) and bake the avocado and egg at 425F for 12 to 15 minutes (depending on egg size). Then, take it out from the oven and season with pepper, chives, and salt.

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                                                        31. Broccoli and Parmesan Soup

                                                        Broccoli has so many benefits, from cancer fighting antioxidants to high calcium content. It’s easy to see why researchers call this vegetable a super food. Here’s an easy recipe to make sure you get more broccoli in your diet. Bring two cups of water to a boil, and add two heads of broccoli (chopped up), a small piece of Parmesan rind, one tbsp of soy sauce, and one tbsp of lemon juice. Cover and simmer for eight minutes until the broccoli is tender. Puree in blender until smooth. Garnish with extra Parmesan savings, salt and pepper.

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                                                          32. Spinach and Strawberry Salad

                                                          This is a sweet summer salad loaded with iron from the spinach and phytonutrients from the strawberries. Simply wash a bag of spinach and hull and quarter a pint of washed strawberries. Toss in 1/3 cup sliced almonds, sliced cucumber, and avocado. Make the dressing in a bowl or blender by combining 1/2 lemon (juiced), two tbsp white wine vinegar, one tbsp olive oil, one tsp poppy seeds, and 1/3 cup sugar. Blend or whisk together and drizzle over your salad. Toss to coat and serve.

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                                                            33. Veggie and Goat Cheese Roti

                                                            Roti is one of my favorite Indian foods, and this version is fast to prepare and enjoy. Mist and heat whole wheat roti per package directions. Spread goat cheese over the bottom of each roti. In a separate pan, stir fry red peppers, canned chick peas (about half a cup), red onion, zucchini, mushrooms, and eggplant (cut into bite-size pieces) until tender. Spread veggie mixture on roti, keeping the sides clear for easy roll up. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Roll up the roti and secure with toothpicks. Cut each roll in half along the diagonal line and serve.

                                                            Veggie Roti

                                                              As you can see, fast food can also be fit, healthy food. Give these quick meals a try to create the highly nutritious and succulent meals your family will love!

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                                                              Sarah Hansen

                                                              A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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                                                              Last Updated on March 30, 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)

                                                              Feeling tired all the time?

                                                              Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                                                              I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                                                              Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                                                              If you’re tired of feeling tired, 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 feeling tired all the time 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]

                                                              • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                                                              • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                                                              • You may get 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.
                                                              • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                                                              • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                                                              • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                                                              • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                                                              Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                                                              Unfortunately, yes!

                                                              Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                                                              Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                                                              Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                                                              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 root cause of 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 issues 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.

                                                              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.

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

                                                              Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                                                              But 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 (source: Science Direct).

                                                              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. But 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.

                                                              Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                                                              So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                                                              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[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                                                              If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                                                              And that is 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.

                                                              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

                                                              So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

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

                                                              In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                                                              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 exercise 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.[6]

                                                              And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                                                              But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                                                              L — Living Healthy

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

                                                              So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                                                              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.

                                                              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. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

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

                                                              2. Unwind

                                                              Do something to relax.

                                                              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.

                                                              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.[7]

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                                                              Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

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

                                                              E — Exercise

                                                              Many people know that exercise is good for them, but 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 lifestyle.

                                                              As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                                                              My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                                                              That made sense to me.

                                                              So, I decided to swim.

                                                              I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                                                              Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                                                              Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                                                              So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in 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 because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                                                              A — 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.

                                                              Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                                                              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).

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                                                              Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                                                              1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                                                              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 count to 7 mentally 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, long exhale 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.[8]

                                                              Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                                                              N — Nutrition

                                                              Diet is vital for beating fatigue – 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.

                                                              Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, 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.

                                                              Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                                                              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 your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                                                              3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green 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 such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                                                              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 such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                                                              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 multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                                                              The Bottom Line

                                                              If you are tired of feeling tired, 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 including:

                                                              • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                                                              • Regular Exercise You Love
                                                              • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                                                              • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

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

                                                              More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                                                              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] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                                                              [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                                                              [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                                                              [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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