You don’t have to wait until the new year to decide to implement healthy habits in your life.
Creating Healthy Habits in the Home
From the kitchen to the home office, there are simple ways you can nurture the health of your mind and your body.
Where Healthy Habits Start
Choosing to change your habits is the first step toward success. If you’re not sure you can stay motivated on your own, you can invest in resources to help. Whether it’s a trainer, nutritionist, or even an app on your phone, having accountability can be essential to creating sustainable habits.
Healthy Grocery Shopping Habits
Meal planning may sound like a drag, but it’s actually a great way to save money and live healthier. When you know what you’re going to eat for a number of your meals, you’re less likely to impulse buy fast food throughout the week. But how do you get started with healthy grocery shopping and meal planning habits?
It doesn’t have to be boring. Meal planning doesn’t mean you eat the same seven meals every week, and then start over come Sunday. It does, however, help you use up all the food you purchase at the grocery store and potentially create portions that are best for your health goals.
Choose a Theme
If you don’t know where to start meal planning, it can help to choose daily or weekly themes. For example, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, or breakfast for dinner.
Get More out of Leftovers
No, not that old macaroni and cheese in a Tupperware. This is referring to purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and using the meat for a variety of meals. Enjoy it fresh the day of with rolls, veggies, or mashed potatoes, and then put the leftover meat into enchiladas or on a salad for another meal. Knowing what you’ll use ingredients for brings us to the next tip.
Shop From a List
Always, always, always shop from a list. Better yet, shop from home and take advantage of free or inexpensive grocery pick-up services! This way you won’t be tempted to give in to impulse purchases, even if it’s healthier foods! If you purchase produce without a clear idea of how you’ll use it for the week, chances are it will just go bad in the crisper drawer, despite your good intentions.
Before you make your list, get your weekly meals lines up and take stock of what you currently have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Look at sales available and curate your list around those deals. You can use meal planning apps, or good ol’ fashioned pen and paper to help you create your menus.
Healthy Habits in the Kitchen
The way you organize your kitchen can actually help you make healthier choices. If you don’t have space to prepare your meals, you may be less motivated to put in the effort to cook with fresh, healthful ingredients. Here are some kitchen tips for cultivating and promoting healthy habits.
Location, Location, Location
Where you put things determines how likely you are to reach for them. If the healthy foods are stuffed into the back of the fridge behind soda, containers of leftovers, or condiments, you’ll forget about them. Try to bring produce to the forefront of your mind by bringing them to the forefront of the fridge.
This applies to kitchen gadgets and appliances too. If it’s a hassle to get the slow cooker out of a cupboard and to make space for it on the counter, you’ll probably forego cooking that homemade soup and will instead pick up something less satisfying on your drive home when you realize you don’t have dinner plans. So, assign designated areas to your most-used kitchen tools to make home-prepped meals more convenient for yourself.
Speaking of organizing, try alphabetizing your spices, or other ingredients. At the very least, group like-with-like in your pantry. It will make it easier for you to take stock and prepare meals with what you already have at home.
Prep the Snacks
It’s economical to purchase wholesale-sized snacks, but how do you ensure you don’t overindulge in one sitting? Whether for yourself or your family, it can be helpful to portion snacks into reasonable serving sizes ahead of time. It doesn’t have to be too strict; maybe you pour Goldfish crackers into sandwich bags for the kids. Or, maybe you do measure out suggested servings sizes for cookies, chips, and popcorn.
In addition to readymade snacks being portioned out, consider doing the same with fresh produce. We’re more likely to grab a fruit or vegetable if it’s in manageable pieces. It can be so much easier to eat sliced fruits and veggies rather than attempting to chomp down on a whole one. This will also make meal prep easier because you already have chopped produce at the ready for when recipes call for them.
If you have your own herbs, spices, veggies, and fruits available in a home-grown garden, you can meal plan according to what you have at hand. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment growing something yourself and harvesting it.
There are a lot of tips for growing your own garden, regardless of the space you have available to you. Monster Gardens has advice for hydroponics gardening, which can be done conveniently indoors.
Healthy Habits Working From Home
More of us than ever before are working from home, which can make it hard to maintain or start healthy habits. We have easier access to snacks, less opportunity to get up and move throughout the day, and no commute to help us leave work at the office before returning to our daily life.
Whether or not you have a treadmill desk, LifeSpan Fitness has excellent advice for those who want to stay healthy while working from home. It’s about making conscious decisions throughout your day to support your physical and emotional wellbeing.
For your mental health, try implementing some of these tips when working from home:
- Get ready as if you are going into an office
- Work set hours and “leave” work at your desk when you’re off the clock
- Listen to music to create an atmosphere conducive to work – better yet, share themed playlists with co-workers
- Work in natural light (this not only helps with eye strain caused by screens, but can boost your mood throughout the day).
As with any lifestyle change, make sure to take it slow and steady. Give yourself time to adjust to new routines, and know that progress is better than perfection.