I often write about your career moves but over the next few months we are going to be discussing your personal health management and the stages of that. You need your health in order to enjoy both your career and your life.

Stress and lack of time are 2 big factors for not taking care of ourselves the way we know we should. Here are 7 easy steps to eating healthier no matter how busy you are:

1.) Take some time on the weekend and put together a list of healthy recipes for the week. Go to the grocery store for what you need and prepare meals ahead and freeze them. Then you don’t have to worry about dinner, it is prepped and ready to put in the oven when you get home. You can do the same with preparing quick, easy, snacks if you desire them also.

2.) Water is super important to every part of our body and especially our minds. When you are dehydrated you will experience more headaches, feel fatigued, have muscle cramps and even dry skin and hair.

3.) Sometimes we need to stop at a gas station and just grab something because we are starving. Go for healthy options such as nuts, fruit, yogurt, dark chocolate, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter sandwich, energy bars that contain over 10 grams of whey, hemp or pea protein, and healthy caffeine such as unsweetened ice tea. Of course a bottle of water is always a good option.

4.) Eat like a queen at breakfast, a king at lunch, a pauper at dinner. Breakfast is important to eat within an hour of waking to get your metabolism going. Lunch should be your largest meal of the day to keep your energy up throughout the rest of the day and also give you time to process the meal in your system. Dinner should be your lightest meal and before 7:30 pm if possible so that the food isn’t sitting in your system still when you go to bed.

5.) At each meal practice eating until you are only 80% full. You don’t want to be so full you feel like you are going to explode. Meal times are usually about 4-5 hours apart from each other but start to tune into your body and see when you are hungry as well as what satisfies you. Do you need a snack between meals? Do you need to eat more protein? Your body will tell you what it needs. Journals help to jot down what you ate and what you felt like afterward, when you were hungry again, etc. and that will show you what is best for your body for fuel.

6.) Many restaurants will adjust their menu and/or cooking methods if you simply ask them. Here are some of the best places to go and why as well as some tips:

Chipotle – Sustainable food choices, hormone-free meats, local produce with a customizable menu. Choose salads or hard shell tacos, skip the burritos since the large tortillas pack a hefty amount of processed carbohydrate and fats.

Rubios – Plenty of grilled meat/fish options and a semi-customizable menu.

Subway – Their salads are the healthiest option. The more veggies you eat the better.

Burger places – Consider swapping out the bun for a lettuce-wrapped version, ditch the fries and order a side salad, and drink water.

Panera – This restaurant has a lot to offer in terms of healthy options such as salads and lettuce steak wraps. If you are really craving a sandwich go with a half sandwich on their sourdough bread and pair it with a half salad or soup.

Olive Garden – Consider their apricot chicken with broccoli. If you’re craving pasta go with the ravioli and skip the added cheese on top.

Chili’s – Grab the guiltless menu and enjoy the salmon or the steak with a hearty side of vegetables.

Applebee’s – Also has a lighter menu so order from those dishes and swap out the rice/pasta for extra veggies.

Starbucks/Peets/Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – Grab yourself a cup of coffee without creamers or sweeteners. You get the full effect of antioxidants this way without the extra calories. A 12-ounce cup of black coffee contains only 5 calories. However, once sweetened and flavored that same 12-ounce cup of coffee can jump all the way up to 210 calories. Unsweetened tea is also a good option.

7.) Have Fun. There is no “right” way to eat for everyone. Get curious about how you are eating and how your body is feeling. Then have fun looking into new options, trying new foods or preparations and explore the way your body feels after changes are made. You may be surprised at how easy this can be and how much fun it really is…especially when you feel better, sleep better and have more energy!

If you have any questions or want to chat just reach out to me!