Eating. It’s such a big deal in almost everyone’s lives – for various reason—unfortunately.
Obviously, we all have to eat—even busy people. For most of us, there’s a time issue – just not enough time in the day for shopping, preparation, and cooking for every meal. Leading to more ready-made meals, which are high in fat, salt, and sugar content. Even when you plan ahead, sometimes it just doesn’t work out for whatever reason – it’s life, right?
Not having a plan (or having a plan that falls through) leads to more visits to restaurants, especially at fast food establishments. This of course, means eating foods high in fat and calories that lack important nutrients.
So, the real dilemma is how healthy we are going to eat each day.
Do we have the bandwidth focus on what we eat as a specific course of action in our busy day?
Or will we allow what we eat to go by the wayside as we consume more fast food and other unhealthy choices?
The answer–of course–is up to each individual. But it is possible to adopt healthier eating habits – every if you are busy. These tips for a healthier diet here are very easy to implement. It just takes a bit of forethought and planning. Taking care of your health will result in a more productive day’s work and a longer life!
7 Tips for a Healthier Diet
1 Always have breakfast
Breakfast gets little respect! It’s often the most skipped meal of the day, but it’s also the most important meal of the day. There have been questions about the importance of breakfast – with the increase in intermittent fasting – but research has suggested that breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight and tend to eat a healthier diet overall. So, eating a healthy breakfast is a good way to start your day.
What constitutes a healthy breakfast? Foods rich in fiber. Fiber-rich foods make the feeling of being full last much longer, therefore reducing the tendency to snack. Foods like oatmeal, whole grain cereal, fruits, and vegetables are good selections. Protein from eggs is also a great option in the morning.
However, foods with a high sugar content and low-fiber (doughnuts and pastries) aren’t—and can lead to cravings by mid-morning.
2 Expand Your Diet Options
It’s okay to have a hamburger or other greasy favorite from time to time just as long as this only makes up a small part of your overall diet. As almost any nutritionist would tell you, “it is all about balance”.
You should start eating more healthy greens, nuts, grains, beans, and the other foods in life that we so often push to the side in favor of the tastier treats. Try incorporating a grain or bean that you are less familiar when preparing your meal – you might find a new favorite!
3 Portion Sizes Do Matter
To be a healthier eater, you also need to learn to read nutritional labels. They can tell you plenty about the food that you are about to eat. Unfortunately, many of us don’t really pay all that much attention to those labels. The packaging can be deceptive as well. We believe that we should eat the amount of food that comes in the package, when that’s often several actual servings of that particular food. That means that you consumed more calories, sodium, etc. than you originally thought –oops!
It’s best to eat the suggested serving size of any food and make sure to literally pay attention to how much you are eating.
4 Eat Slower
Your meals are not a race; you can slow down while you are eating. Think about the speed of your eating and the reasons why you’re shoveling down food in the first place. It’s a good idea to include a few things like drinking water or socializing to slow down the pace.
Eating more slowly allows your body time to realize that it’s full in the first place. Drinking fluids (not sugary sodas) helps to fill you up faster, and drinking water is important for your overall health. Those things matter when it comes to eating less and in more healthy ways.
5 Make better food choices at restaurants
When at restaurants, choose the healthy options. Many menus now include the calorie counts for each entree on the menu – if not, you can often ask your server. Some restaurants have that information elsewhere on site.
If there are no calorie guides available, you can stick to this rule of thumb when ordering: meats should be grilled, potatoes boiled or mashed, and vegetables steamed. Soups are good as entrees and select fruit for desert. Obviously, the occasional splurge is acceptable, but following the basic rule of thumb will keep you on track.
6 Watch alcohol intake
Many people use alcohol to wind down after work, and it’s tempting to join your work colleagues for happy hour. While an occasional glass of wine won’t do any harm (and some studies even suggest that there are health benefits, Remember that alcohol is just empty calories. The over-consumption of alcohol can also have a negative impact on health in general.
7 Plan ahead
Most people are used to planning in advance to get things done. Eating healthy requires the same type of planning. Everyone’s schedule is different, but it should be possible to carve out some time to plan for meals.
Meal planning and prepping has become very popular – if you can set up several healthy meals for your family ahead of time, it would also take the pressure off at meal time. Weekends could be good days to use some time to prepare and plan meals. For this, plastic containers are a must for storage.
If possible, try to shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your home or workplace. This saves a lot of time shopping and lessens the risk of splurge purchases. When shopping, choose whole grains, fresh produce, and lean fresh meats. To save time, most stores have options like rotisserie chicken which can save cooking time and be a healthy protein source for meals.
These tips can get you a good portion of the way towards a healthier relationship with food. Fortunately, if you take these concepts and incorporate them into your life, it will become second nature and easier to do on a day-to-day basis.
Most of these tips are incorporated in my life already – some not by my doing. I can’t drink alcohol and have to eat breakfast because of my medicines. However, meal prepping…
I tried meal prepping. Bought the containers and got started – I used my children as my test subjects LOL.
I made little banana pancakes with protein vitamin powder in them and included some fruit and turkey bacon. Packed all of the little containers with breakfasts for both kids…
Only to realize that our side-by-side fridge couldn’t accommodate 10 containers of meal prepping! What did they say about good intentions? Anyway, a new fridge is on my list for this year.
How do you manage meal times in your lives? Tell is about it in the comments.
Loving Life—The Reboot!