Easy, Healthy Shortcuts For Super-Busy People - Part 2
Hello again! Yesterday I shared 3 of my favorite strategies for sneaking some more healthy goodness into your crazy-busy life.
If you missed it, you can check it out right here.
Today, I’m finishing up my list with a few more tips to help make your healthy lifestyle easy - and second nature.
Continuing from where we left off……
4. Almost Anything Can Be A Sandwich.
Do you have whole grain bread?
Do you have hummus?
Do you have some stray vegetables - raw or cooked?
If you answered YES to these questions, then YOU, my friend……have a healthy, filling, fast, easy sandwich.
Bonus points if you also have some lettuce or other greens to throw on there.
The whole grain bread gives you healthy carbohydrates and filling fiber. The hummos gives you ‘good’ fat and calcium (from the tahini) as well as protein from the chickpeas. And the vegetables give you antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. It’s a win-win-win.
And all you need to keep in the house is good bread, hummos, and greens.
It’s quick, satisfying - and portable.
5. Double Up.
I make double batches of almost everything I cook - so that we have even more leftovers for the rest of the week. You would think that I’m cooking for 8 people - but it’s only my husband and me. It may look ridiculous, but I spend less time cooking in the long run and we always have healthy options for lunches and dinners if there’s limited time later on - or if we just don’t feel like making anything.
I also do this when I’m cooking up grains, like brown rice or quinoa. Always make double - or even triple - what you need for a particular recipe, and then you’ll have cooked grains on hand for a quick meal later on during the week. This is a huge time saver. If you’ve got a whole grain ready-to-go, you can make a meal from almost anything else.
Seriously - heat up some brown rice, nuke some frozen peas and top it with some ready-made guacamole and lettuce and - bam - you have a very healthy dinner. Is it gourmet? No. But it’s very quick, VERY tasty - and it gets the job done.
6. Don’t Exercise. MOVE.
Many people get tripped up by the idea of ‘exercise’. I know it’s not always possible to travel to the gym, spend an hour in an exercise class, and then travel home. It does suck up a lot of time.
You have options here.
When it comes to exercise, MORE isn’t always better - or even necessary. It’s the quality of your exercise - not the quantity that really matters. 20-30 minutes a day of moderate movement/exercise is enough to provide benefits to your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and, in turn, your longevity!
Any time you’re moving your body, it totally ‘counts’. So, for example, chasing your kids around the yard does indeed count as ‘exercise’ - even if you’re not wearing workout clothes. So does walking home from work at a brisk pace, or taking the subway stairs two at a time, or doing squats while you’re on the phone in your office.
It’s easy to come up with a whole host of excuses not to go to the gym - but you can still find little ways, here and there, throughout the day, to MOVE and use your body. It all adds up to better health and longevity. Your muscles don’t care if they’re doing push-ups at the gym, or in front of the TV.
If you can make time for an hour-long workout, that’s wonderful - but please don’t fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking. You can still USE your body all day long - and even 10 minutes of dancing around the living room is much, much, MUCH better than nothing.
7. Include Yourself In Your Plan.
Would you send your child on an all-day field trip without lunch or snacks?
Would you send your pet to the pet hotel without also sending food?
Would you go on vacation and leave your plants unwatered and your fish unfed?
Of course not! And yet many of us routinely walk out the door without thinking ahead to what WE might need in the way of food. We don’t plan for ourselves.
Think about your day. Where do you need to be? Where are you going to wind up? When are you going to eat? What will your options be?
If there is any uncertainty about when or where you’re going to eat - TAKE CONTROL. Pack snacks - a small bag of nuts, a healthy snack bar, a piece of fruit. Never let yourself be hungry - and never let yourself be caught at the mercy of a hectic schedule. If you can remember to get dressed every day, or brush your teeth, or put on deodorant, you can remember to pack an emergency snack!
Another point: You are going to need to eat food every single day of your life. Every few hours. This will always be true. And though this truth may sound funny and obvious - many of us live in a state of constant surprise that we’re hungry or that dinner needs to be made.
It sounds silly, I know, but I start thinking about dinner at around 10am. What am I going to make? Do I have what I need? What’s in the fridge? How much time will I have? Am I going to feel like cooking? Depending on my answers to those questions, I either go shopping if I have time, or I decide which leftovers to reheat - or we eat a frozen meal. But I try not to let myself be surprised or caught off guard by the fact that we need to eat in the evenings. A few moments of forethought and planning goes a very, very, very long way.
As I said yesterday, the biggest ‘shortcut’ to living a healthy lifestyle is understanding that anything and everything counts. With each choice you make, you are either moving yourself closer to a state of health, or further away. Ultimately, your health will be a result of the choices you have consistently made over time.
To your health!