Take Time for Health

By: Caroline West Passerrello, MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Owner of Caroline West, LLC.

Even the simplest definition of time sounds like something out of a physics textbook. The last thing we all need is to waste precious time trying to comprehend what time really is. Essentially, time is something we have a finite amount of in a day, but all seem to want, or wish, for more.

Time is also a barrier for many of us when it comes to meeting our health goals. You know what your health goal is, you know what you need to do to be healthy, but exactly how and when you will do it is another story. Yes, there are only 24 hours in a day, and yes we are all busy with work, families and self-care. However, if you learn one thing from this post I hope it’s that small (and quick!) changes can make a big difference in your health.

When you’re making lifestyle changes it’s important to understand that what works for one person might not work for you, and vice versa. Be realistic about your goals and remember that changes take time. Find what works for you, stick to it, and stay motivated!  Think about taking the time, rather than finding the time, to incorporate these few tips and you’re already more in control.

1. Jumpstart your breakfast routine

Mornings can be tough, but with a little planning they can be more efficient.  Choose balanced breakfasts that take less than five minutes; like adding a piece of fruit to yogurt and granola or whole grain cereal. Just like picking out your clothes the night before saves time, it is also helpful to set out breakfast basics like a bowl, spoon, or cereal box. Overnight oats are also a delicious time saver.  Jump starting your metabolism and fueling your body for your day doesn’t need to cost you any extra time in the morning!

2. Use the weekend to make the most out of your weekdays

The weekend, or your day off, can be a great way to save time during your work week. Try making a double batch of a hearty vegetable soup or chili to eat and then portion left-overs for a few lunches and or dinners during the week. In addition to time, cooking ahead and advanced meal planning can save you calories and cash too.  With less meal prep each day, you can exercise, get to bed earlier, or do something else you enjoy!

3. Eat mindfully

Whether you’re having a busy day at the office or your relaxing at home try to be mindful of what you are putting in your body. It’s easy to zone out while you’re snacking or working through lunch.  Keep healthier snacks around the house and in the office such as popcorn, fruit, pre-cut veggies or trail mix and pre-portion items that tempt you.  When possible, don’t multi-task while eating, it may feel like you are saving time but quality is just as important as quantity.

4. Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym (but if it does keep it up!)

Finding the time to exercise is probably one of the biggest challenges when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes. However, it’s important to remember that there isn’t just one way to exercise! Fit it in where – and how – ever you can. Get out of the office and take a walk during your lunch break, do exercises while you watch TV, or add a long walk with the dog to your evening routine. Doing one or all of these things could make a big difference in your health.  Additionally, research shows that small short bouts of exercise can have the same health benefits of a longer session.

(Haley Irvine, Adagio Dietetic Internship Student assisted in writing this blog)

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