Healthy living is important to my husband and I even when the craziness of life ramps up, we still try to prioritize it. With differing work schedule, added projects, and a lot of travel, this season, our conversation as we were driving back into town one weekend turned to how we could physically care for ourselves in the best way possible amidst the madness of this month. We committed to being intentional about doing 3 things together this month.
All 3 are simple, practical and easily adaptable if you’re looking for a framework to guide your healthy living in this holiday season.
When we’re busy and on the go, my husband will drive through sonic while I spend the day snacking away with no balanced meals. Neither are good so we committed to eating three balanced meals per day, avoiding snacking or fast food for meals.
It takes discipline, planning ahead for meals and intentionality with what I buy at the grocery store but its been worth it.
Here’s a simple break down of what meals look like for us;
Eggs: They’re quick and easy to whip up, rich in protein and satisfying. You can be as plain as you want, just scramble them up with a little salt and pepper, throw some feta or goat cheese in to give them a rich creaminess or if you have the time, you can get fancy and make omelets with peppers, onions, spinach and cheese, the options are endless! It’s a great start to any day especially if you add a slice of whole gran bread with almond butter!
Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts: always a great stable, its quick, easy to eat on the go plus it’s filling and dense with nurients.
Granola, fresh fruit and kefir: I’ll admit my husband is not a fan of Kefir but if you’re not afraid to try it, you may be surprised. KefIr is a fermented dairy product that is high in probiotics, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B12 (energy!). It comes in different flavors but if you go with something other than the plain, watch out for the sugar content. Kefir is great paired with granola or another cereal but once again, just be mindful of the sugar content.
Anyone a fan of left overs?! I’m all about some left overs. When I’m planning and cooking meals, I will usually make enough so that whatever we’ve eaten the night before is our lunch for the next day.
If not left overs, chicken salad is one of our lunch staples. I season the chicken well and substitute the mayo with greek yogurt, pair with with some sprouted grain bread or a handful of crackers and you’ve got your lunch. Being that I’m a snacker, lunch often also includes an apple with some kind of nut butter (almond, cashew or just plain old peanut butter) or slices veggies and hummus.
It an attempt to conserve carbs, we tent to avoid bread and pasta when we’re cooking. Quinoa and either brown rice and wild rice are our go-to’s for grains. Whether I’m cooking rice or quinoa, I cook it in chicken, beef or veggie broth to give it a nice flavor. With quinoa, a few of our favorites (that are super easy to make!) are lemon herb quinoa or roasted asparagus and goat cheese quinoa.
For protein we usually have some kind of fish or chicken. I know a lot of people shy away from fish because it can be expensive but I buy it at Costco and get a better price buying a bigger quantity. Buying a larger quantity isn’t a problem if you freeze it so I’ll freeze it in portion sizes for two so its easy to pull out and make just enough for that meal. Fish is one thing I do not make extra for to eat left over the next day, its just kind of weird left over and smells terrible in the microwave. Our go to for tilapia is to blacken it on a cast iron skillet. It’s crispy, savory and perfect with rice or quinoa and a side of veggies.
2. Break A Sweat
The idea of waking up at 5am to hit the gym sounds horrible to me and most I would imagine. Trying to squeeze it in after a late meeting and dinner with a friend after an exhausting day at work where you know you won’t be able to give 100% can seem so pointless. I’m kind of an all or nothing person when it comes to working out but what I’ve found is that you don’t have to run 5 miles or have a two hour sweat sesh.
You just need to break a sweat.
Even if you only have thirty minutes, hit that treadmill! You’ll be surprised, you can pound out a few miles in that time and it’ll be totally worth it. Only have 45 minutes? That’s great because you can get a solid weight lifting workout in in that time. If you have the luxury of a little more time hit up a kick boxing class after work or do a yoga class a few days a week. Depending on your job and flexibility, your lunch hour may be a great time to use as your work out hour. Even if you don’t want to or aren’t able to get to the gym over your lunch break, go on a walk for half of your break or climb the stairs in your office building. It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate, start small and break a sweat.
3. Turn It Off
Maybe you’re the ‘one more episode’ kind of person with Netflix or maybe you’re like me where you get in bed and go to check email once more and an hour later you’ve thoroughly perused all your social media channels, bought a few Christmas present on Amazon, pinned a new recipe you want to try tomorrow night and made a list of all the errands you need to run tomorrow. Suddenly your 9:30 bedtime that you were so excited about (and proud of yourself for holing to) is down the drain.
Turn it off.
It’s so tempting to click that button in the bottom right corner to start the next episode, its so tempting to pick your phone back up after you’ve plugged it up to charge but don’t do it! Turn it off and go to sleep, your body will thank you in the morning.