Are you struggling to find the time to work out or prepare healthy meals during the week? Are you putting off physical fitness to accommodate your workload? Instances where you put your work before your health may not seem like a bad idea in the beginning, but you will realize the importance of keeping fit as your body changes with time. In order to continue to pursue the active lifestyle you currently lead, you must make some lifestyle changes right away! If you are considering the shift to living a healthier life, here are five no-fail, simple strategies that will help you stay on track:
Don’t Skip Your Breakfast
Eating breakfast is important as it revs up your metabolism, thus sustaining energy levels and aiding in blood sugar management through the day. It also has a positive effect on your mood. If you don’t have the time to prepare breakfast every morning, you can go for low-prep or no-prep recipe options such as fruit and plain Greek yogurt, a slice of whole grain toast with almond butter and sliced bananas on top, over night oats or smoothie bowls.
Prepare Easy-to-Eat Meals
If you are going to be working all day, a few snacks here and there won’t suffice. And eating out everyday can turn out to be quite expensive in the long run. So, allocate sometime in your day to work on your meal prep. Go for simple lunches like chicken salad with brown rice, tuna sandwiches, egg rolls, etc, that are not only easy to prepare, but also easy to consume. Smoothies are another great portable meal option that is packet with nutrients and essential vitamins. With the increased availability of functional food storage options like the air-tight, non-plastic containers, specialized smoothie bottles and storage containers with built-in vacuum pumps, it has become even easier to carry meals on-the-go without having to worry about spoilage or spillage.
Make Smart Food Choices
Avoid processed and packaged food as far as possible. This also includes all foods that contain white flour such as white bread, white pasta and white sauces. Since white flour is highly processed, the fiber and nutrient quotient is significantly lower. Choose brown bread, wild or brown rice or other whole grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat instead, as it helps you maximize on the benefits your meal can offer.
Aim to eat at home-cooked meals as far as possible, but in cases where it is absolutely unavoidable, look for steamed, baked, poached, roasted, broiled or grilled food options. Do your best to avoid foods with the words fried, crispy, escalloped, pan-fried, sautéed or stuffed as such words are used to describe foods which are high in fat and calories. Pro Tip – If an item calls for one of these options, ask the food item to be grilled or baked instead.
Coffee must be your morning fix for that much needed energy kick, but what you might not know is that it does more harm than good. Excess coffee overloads and dehydrates your liver, while increasing the risk of blood sugar irregularities in your system through the stimulants present in coffee. Your liver is your body’s detoxifying organ, and if overloaded, it can increase chances of diseases, sluggishness and weight gain. Thus, it is best to avoid it altogether or at least limit it to small quantities.
Set Meal Frequency to Enhance Portion Control
It is best to eat multiple portions through the day as opposed to binge eating whenever you’re hungry. Eating frequently will not only help you gain a better control over your portions but also helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Pro Tip – To understand how much food your body really needs, eat until you feel are sufficiently full, no more. If you feel the need to eat more, give it ten minutes. If you are still hungry after ten minutes, eat a little more. Over time you will be able will be able to notice how your body responds to different types of foods and food quantities, allowing you to further develop your diet plan and portion sizes.
Apart from using the techniques mentioned above, make it a practice to follow an active, or rather, a pro-active lifestyle in whatever way possible, even if it means taking the stairs at work or biking to work instead of driving. And last but not the least, remember to be reasonable with yourself, understand your abilities and set targets accordingly. With time, you will not only be able to tell the difference but will also be able to feel it!
Nora White is the digital marketing manager for SANS. She has been an advocate of a healthy lifestyle for over 2 decades and loves to keep herself updated with the latest in clean eating and green living. When not at work, you can find her at a hot yoga class or writing to educate and help her readers come one step closer to a healthier lifestyle. In her free time, she loves to travel with her husband and two boys, and hike with friends.