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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

5/28/2013-Nutrition in a Crunch


One thing I know: "There just aren't enough hours in the day, or enough days in a week." I feel like I'm constantly saying this. There is just too much life to live and never enough time to do it! As a nutrition professional, this is the excuse I hear the most for not exercising and eating healthy meals on a regular basis.Most likely we have the time; we just haven't quite learned how to manage it successfully. I believe the term is "priorities."

Prioritizing and time management is an art form, really. As I try and find time to fit in all of my current life's demands (a full time job, studying for my dietitian's license exam, training for Reebok Crossfit Games Regionals, and planning my September wedding single handedly) it's amazing that I find time to sleep....which I make sure to get 8 hours of a night. So add that to the list, as well. Not that I'm the poster child of managing priorities, many say mine are off (as I drive the gym on a flat tire...maybe I am wrong on that one), but when you make time for things you always have time for them.

The bottom line is if you are not consistent with the process of regular exercise and smart eating, your likelihood of accomplishing your goals slips further and further away... in fact, when you skip anywhere from a week to a day it can be like starting all over; the old "my diet starts on Monday" line.

You know you need to eat healthier, but it might be difficult finding time to shop and cook when you have a hectic lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can clean up your diet while keeping pace with your obligations.

Hydration

Water is essential to a healthy diet. You need water to maintain many bodily functions, and you should replace what is lost on a daily basis. Eating healthy foods can increase your fiber intake, making additional water consumption necessary to prevent constipation. Buy a reusable water bottle, preferably an aluminum or BPA-free type, keep it filled and take it with you throughout the day. Water can help keep you feeling full.

Veggies Made Easy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, recommends 2 and 1/2 cups of vegetables per day, based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet. When it comes to vegetables, fresh is best for obtaining maximum nutrients. When you buy them, chop them up immediately, placing them in containers to take to work. This way they are less likely to spoil, and you are more likely to eat them.

Fruit Fun

Fruits, with their sweet flavors, are easy to love. Based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet, the USDA recommends 2 cups of fruit per day. Toss a handful of blueberries or raisins into your cereal, or cut an apple in half for a snack. Apples, pears, cranberries and oranges taste great in fresh salads. Again, cut them up after you buy them. Mixing them together in containers can provide you with easy, on-the-go snacks.

Whole Grains

Always a favorite, breads and other carbohydrates come prepackaged for your busy life. Choose whole grains, especially those with seeds added. Pita pockets can be a handy way to pack your veggies for lunch; with your vegetables already cut up, you can add them to the pita and sprinkle on your favorite dressing. You can even keep extra pitas in the freezer. Cook brown rice and refrigerate the leftovers, which can be added to veggies, sauces, meat or fish at other meals. Keep whole-wheat crackers in small baggies for portion control.

Dairy

The USDA recommends 3 cups of low-fat or non-fat dairy products daily. Organic, low-fat yogurt is readily available in single servings. Take a container of your pre-cut fruit along with some yogurt for lunch or a snack.

Meats and Fish

Cooking meat and fish takes time, but it does not have to be a chore. Some stores have all-natural chicken and fish pre-marinated, making cooking easy. If you buy chicken or other meat in bulk, open the package to separate out individual pieces for freezing. If you have one night to cook, try roasting a whole chicken, then cut up the pieces and freeze or refrigerate for a week. Wild Alaskan salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, comes in cans. You can easily pop one open to make salmon salad, or you can just add the salmon to one of your vegetable pitas.

With just a little extra thinking ahead and a few extra minutes preparing, you may find yourself overcoming the huge obstacle of time crunches. I know it seems petty, but every little bit helps!



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