1. Meal prep – the hottest trend in clean eating
Why it’s important:
Meal prep is all the rage right now on health and fitness blogs and foodie instagrams alike. The great thing is, you don’t have to be a fitness addict to do it, and it saves both time and money throughout the week. Knowing what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat is a key component of a balanced diet, and, in this way, knowing how to prepare the right meal is essential to achieving your health goals. Plan out your meals in advance for the week with a calendar, then get in the kitchen. While it may seem like a daunting task on a lazy Sunday afternoon, your Thursday morning self will thank you!
One of the big perks to meal prepping is the money you save because it reduces the amount you go out to eat! Preparing your meals at home can cost as little as $10 a day to prepare, which is nothing in comparison to a meal at a restaurant that can be over $30 a person! You can especially save money if you’re a smart shopper and buy a few staple items that you can cook in large batches and use in a number of different ways.
Don’t forget about the freezer! Prepping and freezing meals also helps cut back on waste! If you find yourself throwing out lots of perishable food at the end of every week, this is yet another way meal prepping helps you save some bucks! Grab some sealable bags, throw in some meats, veggies, spices (whatever you desire), throw them in the freezer, and you’ll have some ready made meals to heat up in a crock pot or pan.
The nutritional benefits from meal prepping should also give you incentive to pull out the tupperware containers, and plastic bags. It allows you complete control over portions, ingredients, and grams of fat. You’ll also always be prepared with something healthy to eat for when you’re hungry rather than deferring to the convenience of a McDonald’s binge. Help your metabolism, and help your wallet!
Some meal prep ideas to get you started:
-Double up your dinner and save the rest for the following day
-Roast a tray of your favorite veggies for salad additions
-Choose raw-or no bake snacks such as almonds, fresh fruit, or home-made protein balls
-Make a large soup and freeze in portions
-Boil eggs for the week ahead of time and eat throughout the week as a healthy snack or addition to any meal
-Grill plenty of chicken breasts for the week ahead of time and store in the fridge
-Buy pre-washed salad mixes
-Cook a big pan of quinoa or brown rice and put it in the fridge to add to your meals throughout the week
2. Make the most of your office space
Do you sit at your desk staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day? Was the only time you got up in the last hour to get a snack from the break room? The typical office worker may spend up to 15 hours per day sitting (authoritynutrition.com). Today’s society is built around sitting, even if you don’t have an office job: in the car, at the kitchen table, in class, on the toilet seat… What many people don’t realize is that sitting can have some serious negatives consequences on your health.
Sitting limits energy expenditure and means that you are conducting less non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which includes standing, walking, and even smaller activities like fidgeting. Without non-exercise activity thermogenesis, the risk of weight gain is high as you are burning less calories. Studies have also shown that remaining in a seated position for long periods of time leads to muscle degeneration, spinal strain, poor circulation, unclear thinking, and organ damage (livingly.com).
So… What can you do about this? How can you minimize the damage done? The good news is there is an easy way to increase wellness at work and create an active workplace. Utilize the furnishings in your cubicle!
-Exercise in your seat! While this may sound like an oxymoron, this can actually help you burn some serious calories at work. For example, a great exercise you can do sitting at your desk is leg raises. For those looking for a more low key exercise, ankle circles are another good option. Anything that keeps you moving!
-Stretch in your seat! Your muscles tighten up when you sit for too long, which can weaken your muscles as well as give you cramps. The muscles that especially suffer from sitting are the chest muscles, psoas, and hip flexors. There are stretches you can do to target each muscle group from your chair- talk about a great typing break.
-Get a better chair! The Herman Miller Aeron chair is engineered specifically to help your posture and allows you to sit comfortably for long periods of time. The seats come with adjustable arm rests, adjustable seats, and height adjustable lumbars, allowing you to customize the chair to get the support needed to keep your spine straight and minimize slouching. They are also engineered specifically to eliminate back pain, with built in spinal and pelvic support. The cherry on top is that they are extremely comfortable: from the mesh back and the mesh seat to the leather arm pads. Beverly Hills Chairs sells refurbished Herman Miller Aeron chairs so you can get all the benefits at a lower cost.
-If you want to eliminate sitting over all, you could also look into getting a standing desk. Studies show that using a standing desk at work can lower blood sugar levels, especially after lunch or a big snack. Many standing desks are adjustable, so you can change the height of the desk whether you wish to sit or stand. These sit to stand desks are a great addition to the workplace to promote a healthier lifestyle.
3. Always take the stairs
What elevator? Burn calories and elevate your heartrate by taking the stairs at every opportunity. Your heart, lungs, and your waistline will thank you. The continuous movement of your legs and hips when you’re climbing a flight of stairs leads to an increase in your heart rate and deeper breathing, which subsequently increasrd the blood flow to the rest of your body. Stair climbing also burns more calories than just walking, and doctors recommend stair climbing as an ideal aerobic exercise to increase the function of your immune system, and lower your risk for diabetes.
4. Hydrate right!
Ditch the coffee and replace it with hot lemon water in the morning to start your day the healthiest way possible.
Starting your morning off with warm water can help flush out the digestive system and keep your body hydrated. This can also lead to a boost in energy levels throughout the day.
The liver restores and regenerates during the night, and drinking water in the morning ensures that the liver can perform these jobs effectively. There is also evidence that lemon juice stimulates healthy stomach acid production. Thus, drinking lemon water in the morning can lead to both a healthier liver and lymph system.
-Immune system boost:
Lemons contain Vitamin C and potassium, and drinking water first thing in the morning allows the body to absorb these vitamins most effectively. Vitamin C has also been shown to help reduce the effects of stress!
By flushing out the body, improving the digestion, and providing the body with Vitamin C, lemon water can lead to smooth and healthy skin as collagen production is stimulated and toxins are flushed away.
-Maintain a healthy weight:
Researchers have found that drinking water first thing in the morning increases the metabolism and helps the body maintain a healthy weight.
5. Take a deep breath
Breathing exercises can relax your muscles, improve oxygen delivery, lower your blood pressure, release endorphins, and improve detoxification. It can also increase energy and alertness, and release stress. The best part is, breathing exercises can be done anywhere: at your desk, in the car, or before bed. It’s an easy, quick, free way to improve your health throughout the day!
The physical reaction you get when you’re angry is tied to health problems like cardiovascular disease, insomnia, high blood pressure, indigestion, increased infections, and autoimmune disease. By knowing how to properly take deep breaths when you’re upset, you can reverse your body’s reaction and calm down, improving your mental and physical health.
The Optimal Exercise:
-While either sitting or laying down, start relaxing your muscles. Tune into your body and figure out where you’re holding the most tension. Try to release it.
-Counting to 5, inhale slowly and deeply, feeling the air fill your lungs and your abdomen.
-Exhale, again counting to 5, emptying your lungs and relaxing your muscles.
-Repeat this exercise for several minutes, counting to 5 and focusing solely on the breathing and the counting.
-Restart the day feeling refreshed and reenergized!