10 Healthy Tips for a Busy Lifestyle
Jacqueline Ho | July 31, 2014
Between a full-time job, taking care of the kids and running errands, it often can feel like you barely get a minute to yourself—let alone have time to fit in a workout. But with the right game plan, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle despite a hectic schedule. Here 10 tips for staying healthy and happy while on the go.
Plan meals ahead of time
If you don’t plan your meals ahead of time, you’re more likely to splurge on a restaurant meal or skip a meal, which is unhealthy and can slow down your metabolism. Try setting some time aside over the weekend to write down a grocery list and meals for the week. Easy-to-prepare ideas include casseroles, salads and most anything you can throw in a slow cooker.
Sometimes hitting the snooze button one too many times or rushing to get to work in the morning doesn’t allow you enough time to eat a proper breakfast. But preparing the most important meal of the day doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Try making overnight oats or a green smoothie the night before so you can just grab and go in the morning.
Keep healthy snacks around
When hunger strikes in the middle of the day, what do you do? Chances are you reach for a snack from the closest vending machine, which probably isn’t all that healthy. Prevent mindless snacking by having healthy snacks on hand—at work, in the car and in your bag. Healthy snack ideas include nuts, baby carrots and hummus, homemade granola and rice cakes with peanut butter.
Drinking water throughout the day can help you stay energized throughout the day and also help suppress feelings of hunger. If you find it difficult to drink the recommended amount of water—about 8 glasses a day—try adding fruit to your water or drinking seltzer or green tea.
Don’t sit all day
Even if you are active and exercise regularly, sitting all day can lead to a slower metabolism, weakened muscles and increased risk of developing various health problems. Reduce the negative effects of sitting by getting up every hour or so to stretch or take a quick walk break. You can also try swapping your chair for a swiss ball, or try using a standing desk.
Do your workout in the morning
After a long day at work, it is easy to make excuses or feel too tired to take on a workout. Avoid falling into a rut by getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning. Benefits of working out in the morning include revving up your metabolism for the rest of the day, increasing mental focus and boosting your mood and energy levels.
Limit alcohol intake
Hitting up a post-work happy hour with your co-workers or having a glass of wine when you go home might seem harmless enough, but even a small amount of alcohol can affect your health. Drinking alcohol can negatively affect sleep quality, decrease productivity and lead to weight gain.
Find small ways to exercise
If you’re unable to schedule in quality gym time, you can still find small ways to exercise throughout the day. Park your car far away from work and take the stairs, try doing squats or sit-ups while watching TV, or if you’re cooking dinner, try doing standing push-ups against the counter while waiting for a pot to boil. Another good idea is to do a quick exercise routine before showering or going to bed.
Avoid late-night eating
Studies show that eating at night isn’t bad in and of itself; rather, many people tend to consume most of their daily calories at night, which can lead to weight gain. Avoid consuming too many calories at night by not skipping breakfast, eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables at every meal and by taking a walk or relaxing in a bath instead of snacking at night.
Have a bedtime
Not getting enough sleep can have a spiral effect on your health—it can make you more stressed out, feel more hungry and make you less likely to exercise or be productive. Try to stick to a set schedule and go to bed around the same time every night, and aim to get about seven to eight hours of sleep.