Healthy habits improve the quality of life over time and reduce the risk of disease and illness. It’s hard to change your lifestyle all at once; it is easier to set small goals. It is equally important to give up bad habits or negative behaviors that affect our health. Changing habits is a complex process that involves several stages. Sometimes it takes some time for changes to become new habits.
If you don’t know where to start, consider monitoring basic health behaviors, such as sleep, eating, hydration, exercise, and stress management, and see what areas need to be improved and how.
I want to give you some tips for how you can introduce small habits that lead to a healthier version of yourself. Don’t try to do everything at once, just take it slowly, be patient and you will see the results.
- Make a shopping list before going to the supermarket. During the weekend, plan ahead out all of your meals for the following week and make a shopping list based on what you are going to eat. Make sure you stick to the list when you are at the store. Don’t buy unnecessary products just because you might need them. If it is not on the list, it means you don’t need it!
- Eat at the kitchen table. Respect meal times and eat quietly, sitting at the table, not standing, and not in the car. If you pay attention to what you do, you are not distracted, and you are not on the run, the chances of eating more than you need decrease. Food must be chewed well before being swallowed.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. We often choose to eat unhealthy snacks, because we are hungry and do not have time to prepare something to eat. Try to always have fresh fruits in your kitchen, so you won’t be tempted to eat less nutritious foods. When you get hungry in the first part of the day, a portion of fruit is ideal. When it comes to an afternoon snack, one of my favorite combos is veggies sticks and hummus.
- Have emergency healthy snacks on hand. Try to keep some fresh fruit on the table in your kitchen or even in the drawer at the office. This way, you will see them before you get to the high-calorie snacks or candies. Bring a banana to work or keep a bowl of grapes or cherries on the table. Dried fruits can be a good choice if you stick to one handful serving size.
- Organize your fridge contents. Make sure that the vegetables and fruits are the first things you see when you open the fridge. We tend to grab whatever is the closest when we open the fridge out of boredom, to have a quick snack. This will make you more likely to choose vegetables and fruits, and forget about the chocolate bars.
- Choose the right food containers. Sealed packaging for ingredients – easy-to-wash silicone bags or containers in which you can store ingredients. These bags keep them fresh and crispy for a long time.Sealed packaging for ingredients – are easy-to-wash silicone bags or containers in which you can store ingredients. These bags keep them fresh and crispy for a very long time.
BPA-free microwave containers – BPA is a chemical used in the production of plastics and at high temperatures can have negative effects on our body. Therefore, choose BPA-free plastic packaging and containers.
Containers suitable for the freezer – not all containers can be stored in the freezer, as they can crack at very low temperatures. However, there are special, frost-resistant containers that are ideal for cold food storage.
Food organizers – practical plastic or glass organizers, in which you can put all the food at once. Thanks to them, you can separate in a bowl the garnish or sauce, the main course.
- Get a reusable water bottle. We are all aware of the importance of drinking enough water during the day. Reusable water bottles are a very good option when we need to stay hydrated and, at the same time, protect the environment.
- Make sure to stand up at least once an hour. Take a break of 5 minutes for every hour spent sitting in a chair. Get up from your chair, have a glass of water, talk to a colleague or just walk around the office.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you have a habit of taking the elevator every time you have to climb even two floors, it’s time to give it up. Climbing stairs is an excellent physical exercise if you want to tone your muscles, improve your circulation and gain endurance. Five minutes of climbing stairs can burn up to 150 calories, so the next time you have a few more floors to climb, stop calling the elevator.
- Take a 20-minute walk every day. Walking is an ideal way to get some exercise when you can’t do an intense workout because it helps you burn calories, strengthens your leg muscles, and improve your mood.
- Don’t use the car when shopping for groceries. When you only have a few things to buy, avoid taking the car and walking to the store. You will feel the change, especially if you are one of those who created the stupid habit of getting behind the wheel even if the supermarket is on the corner. Besides the fact that you will save time because you will not have good minutes to find a parking lot, you will be more active: carrying your shopping bags home will strengthen the muscles of your arms and back.