Busy people don’t have to be unhealthy people. You can keep an active busy lifestyle and still get the exercise and nutrition you need for optimal health. Part of living a healthy lifestyle no matter what your lifestyle is like is making the conscious choice and commitment to it. Start becoming conscious of the unhealthy habits you currently have and aware of what triggers these behaviors. For example, if you are running late from work, have to pick up the kids and get dinner for your family, how many times do you opt for ordering pizza or driving through a fast food restaurant? Or if you get an energy lag in the afternoon do you head for the vending machine for a soda and candy bar? You get the idea. Find where, when, and why your unhealthy habits happen and decide you are going to make changes.
Tips and Tricks for Eating Healthy
You can find lots of great tips that don’t take any extra time to do that can help improve your eating habits in Mindless Eating, a book by Cornell University professor Brian Wansink. Here are a few from him and other experts to get you busy people started thinking about ways to start eating healthy.
Half and Half – Not what you put in your coffee, but what you put on your plate. Fill half your plate at dinner with fruits and veggies, then you can fill the other half with other foods (hopefully healthy foods like lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats).
Make It Naturally Sweeter – Stay away from using refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Instead opt for natural ways to sweeten foods if you need it. Fruit butters or just plain mashed fruit can be used instead of syrup on pancakes and waffles or stirred into your plain yogurt. Stevia, agave, or honey are some other options for natural sweeteners.
Sow Some Seeds – Adding flax or chia seeds to foods like oatmeal or yogurt can help give them an extra nutritional punch with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Make Healthy Choices Obvious – Keep healthy snacks out in the open, in places you pass by frequently, or anywhere you find you tend to reach for unhealthy snacks. For example, do you go to the kitchen to grab a bag of chips when watching TV? Instead keep a bowl of fruit on the coffee table or just catch yourself in this behavior and make some air popped popcorn instead. If you snack in the car or at your desk at work, keep some healthy snack alternatives in your glove compartment or desk drawer. Small packages of nuts, sunflower seeds, a healthy snack bar such as this one with sprouts, greens, almonds and the powerhouse nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, or this 2 ounce shot of liquid nutrition with ingredients to renew body and mind are a few ideas for snacks that are easy to keep stashed. Put your healthy foods in large containers and unhealthy foods in smaller containers. This works on several levels as the larger containers take up more space leaving less room for the unhealthy options, they are easier to see and find when you are grabbing for something in a hurry, and they are the most obvious and therefore will get eaten first.
Open Wide and Swallow – Can’t get much easier and quicker than opening a small packet, popping the capsules inside into your mouth, taking a drink of water, and swallowing. With these packets you can do just that first thing in the morning, on your way to work, when you feel yourself draining after lunch or any time, anywhere and get the basic nutrition AFA bluegreen algae provides as well as the digestive support of probiotics and enzymes, plus the extra nutrition from wild foods such as marine and freshwater algae, tonic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains.
Don’t Leave Home Without It – Your water bottle that is! Keep a water bottle near you all day and you’ll be more likely to drink from it rather than getting up and going somewhere to get a less healthy drink. If you are just too busy to remember to take a bottle with you, keep one at home and one at the office or get one with a clamp you can attach to your belt loop, purse or backpack.
More Health Tips and Tricks
Nutrition is one of the places where busy people tend to slack, but there are other things to consider with a busy lifestyle to maintain optimal health. Another biggie is exercise. If you keep a busy schedule, then not only is it easy to grab unhealthy foods, it’s also easy to get the mindset that you don’t have time for exercise. Start changing your mind about that and look for ways to add movement into your day naturally. You’ve heard the no-brainers I’m sure like take the stairs and park further from the building, but start really getting creative and look for more and more times to get up and move. It takes just a few minutes to stand up, do 20 or 30 jumping jacks and then get back to work. If you are making phone calls, can you do a few squats or walk in place or use a speaker phone and do some arm exercises? Look at your situation, your activities and environment with the intention of increasing movement. You can also wear a pedometer type device or the newer Fitbit or FuelBand options to measure how many steps you take. Research shows that monitoring steps this way motivates people to increase their movement.
If your busy lifestyle includes a lot of travel, especially air travel, then being aware of germs you encounter can help you stay healthy. Co-host of The Doctors, Travis Stork, MD, flies a lot and advises using the air vents angled to blow the filtered air just in front of his face to create a barrier keeping germs away from his nose and mouth. That gives your immune system less to deal with and to keep your immune system in tip top shape make sure you get enough sleep. New York medical resident, Marni Hillinger, MD, makes sure she gets good quality uninterrupted sleep by letting friends and family know when she will be sleeping so they don’t call or text. Turning off your phone might be an even better solution, especially if your friends and family are busy people too and might have a hard time remembering your schedule as well as their own. And while we’re talking about the immune system and germs, here’s a tip that will only take you 30 seconds or less – put your damp sponge in the microwave for 30 seconds, throw it in the dishwasher weekly, or toss it and get a new one. According to University of Arizona microbiologist, Charles Gerba, PhD, your kitchen sponge has more germs than most things in your house and about 15% have bacteria you can get sick from.
Think about it this way – will you get more done by taking some time to take care of your health or by having to take down time when you get sick? You’ve heard the sayings about those who don’t make time to eat healthy or make time for exercise and where that leads, right? It is so true. Don’t be one of those people too busy for good health, you can have both. Just make a few simple lifestyle and nutrition changes and you can prove the old adage that you can have it all.