New Year, New You!

8 Jan

A new year brings the opportunity for change. It was almost a year ago that we decided to start living a healthy lifestyle. It is not uncommon to hear people question why we are on a “diet.” However, we are not on a diet. We’ve come to realize that diet’s typically do not work because once a person gets the desired results they usually just go back to their old habits. A healthy lifestyle is a way of life. It may seem like a challenge, but it’s really not! With the new year we encourage everyone to make their lives a little more healthier! Here are a few suggestions we have to help you get started 🙂

1. Always keep a healthy snack in your purse! You never know where you may be when hunger strikes. Having a healthy option (or two) in your purse allows you to have a healthy snack instead of having to grab something from a fast food restaurant or gas station. It will also save you money! You can find good snack options at a gas station, but they won’t come cheap. Most are overpriced, leaving you more likely to buy something else. Some of our favorite snacks to keep stashed in our purses or car are Luna granola bars and individual serving packages of almonds. We usually try to grab snacks that have at least 6 grams of protein or more. This way the snack will hold us over even longer and we are staying full instead of being hungry again an hour later. Our mom used to not carry snacks with her anywhere she went. Now she has taken our advice and leaves granola bars in her car. She has told us how often those snacks come in handy. I’m glad she took our advice. Come find one of us anytime, anyplace and I guarantee you I will have some sort of snack option on hand. Sometimes we will even pack baby carrots, an edamame nut blend, or a packet of sugar free tea or crystal light energy. It can easily be added to a bottle of water if you need an afternoon boost. We love being prepared for anything!

2. On Sunday night sit down and take a few minutes to make a meal plan for the week ahead. Once you do this, try and stick with it. We do this each week, and we assume that some people may think it is a little weird that we plan out all our meals. However, planning ahead allows us to eat healthy while also making sure that none of the food we purchased at the grocery store goes to waste. We tend to buy a lot of fresh produce that we do not want to see go bad. Things can easily become hidden in the back of the refrigerator as well. Planning allows you to save time, money, and know that you have healthy ingredients at home ready to be prepared and eaten.

3. When planning to go out to dinner with friends and family, search online for the menu before getting to the restaurant. This way you can figure out what you can order that looks healthy on the menu and you won’t have to get stressed out trying to figure out what to order on the spot in a short amount of time. Most restaurants also offer nutritional data online so you can find out how many calories you are actually consuming. You would be surprised at how many items on a menu can sound relatively healthy, but are actually the opposite. Looking up the menu online can’t hurt. It is also important to realize that most restaurants will also let you customize your entree. You are paying for the meal and they want you to be happy with it. You can easily ask for no butter on your vegetables, the dressing on the side of the salad, or anything else your heart desires. It can never hurt to ask!

4. Make large quantities of food at once and then divide it up to eat later. We suggest this because we know that some people hate to cook. We do not have this problem! But, if you are one of those people we recommend cooking and baking on Sunday night for your entire week! This works for people who are always on the go and do not have a lot of time to prepare healthy meals Monday through Friday. Here are some suggestions of how you could do this. You could make a large batch of healthy muffins and then take one for breakfast or a snack throughout the week. You could also make a large pot of vegetable soup and take a serving for lunch all week. Another idea is to make mini baked oatmeals in mason jars and leave them in your refrigerator. Throughout the week you can grab one for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are pretty versatile, and who can turn down baked oatmeal? There are really so many ideas! If you have any questions on recipes, please do not hesitate to ask! We would love to help anyone who wants to start eating healthier. Email away..

5. If you are invited to a potluck or party at someone’s house, bring a dish you would enjoy eating. This way you are guaranteed that there is something there that will satisfy you, and you can show others how easy it is to eat healthy. We went to a Christmas Party this holiday season, and brought along a do it yourself “Chipotle Salad”. We had brown rice, romaine lettuce, fresh salsa, and black beans. Each topping had their own container so each person could choose what they liked on their own. This way we had something there that would keep us full (protein from the beans and rice) and we could share this easy recipe with others. We also brought along a healthy dessert (a box of angel food cake + a can of crushed pineapple) that was such a hit. No one could believe it was healthy. We love sharing our creative ideas with others, so they can see that healthy foods just aren’t so complicated after all.

6. Keep moving. If you can walk somewhere and it’s nice out, WALK. I know it is kinda challenging to get yourself out and about during these cold winter months but on that nice afternoon, get outside. 10 minutes is better than 0. Afterwards you will feel great about it. Take the stairs if possible. Get up and move every hour if sitting at a desk all day. Keep your metabolism going. It’s kinda sad to see kids who stay inside playing video games and watching T.V. all day long. When we were kids we were playing throughout the neighborhood all afternoon long. Encourage others to get moving too. Meet your friends for a stroll in the park. Take a short bike ride with your significant other. Walk the dog around the block. Any movement is better than none.

7. Make simple changes. You cannot change your entire eating habits overnight. Whole wheat pasta instead of white. Natural peanut butter instead of the original. Wheat bread instead of white (or wheat bread that looks white bread to trick the kiddos). Frozen yogurt or light ice cream instead of Ben and Jerry’s. Brown rice instead of white rice. Almond milk instead of 2% milk (or even switch to skim milk). Special K or Fiber One cereal instead of a sugary one. Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt (extra protein and nutrients). A protein bar instead of a candy bar. Water or tea instead of soda. Milk in your coffee instead of half & half. Sweet potato fries instead of original fries. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate (more antioxidants). 100 calories sandwich thins instead of hamburger buns. Opt for a lighter version of your favorite coffee drink instead of the one made with whole milk. Bake or grill food instead of frying it. Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

8. Drink more water! Water increases energy, promotes weight loss, flushes out toxins, maintains regularity, improves skin complexion.. check out this article for even more reasons on why it’s important to drink water and how you can start drinking more water yourself. Our suggestion, always carry a reusable water bottle with you. TJ Maxx has so many cute ones, and so does Target. You can even find a cute one at Walmart.. they are everywhere!

http://www.dumblittleman.com/2007/07/9-great-reasons-to-drink-water-and-how.html

These are just a few suggestions we have to help everyone start living a healthy life! If anyone has additional ideas, please share. We know these are only a few, but will keep you filled in on other healthy lifestyle tips as they come to us. You know what they say.. you learn as you go.

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