Preparing your own meals is an important part of creating a healthy eating routine. The speed which our lifestyles seem to dictate, means that often meals are eaten ‘on the hoof’ and we end up eating at irregular times and snacking on foods that are neither particularly healthy nor nutritious.
How do we avoid this – do we adopt the latest diet fad? Do we buy the latest diet book? Or follow the trendy diet guru online? We can do any of these however at the end of the day, it’s our habits which will dictate our level of health.
The first meal of the day is important, and taking time to eat a good breakfast kick starts your metabolism, helping you to burn calories throughout the day.
Taking time to eat slowly, rather than rushing all of your meals can also make a huge difference. The benefits of slowing down when you eat include better digestion, better hydration and a greater satisfaction with your meal. You may even feel fuller quicker and for longer.
Home-prepared food and cooking from scratch rather than dining out, or getting ‘take outs’, is also much healthier. More than half the food we now eat is highly processed and can contain very high levels of sugar and salt.
Not only is it bad for your waistline, but, it is also bad for your gut which impacts on both your mental and physical health. A diet of ‘ready meals’ can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety. Therefore taking time to try out new recipes and cook with a variety of foods can make meal times more interesting. If time is the issue, practice a few simple nutritious meals at weekends that you can return to in the week. Take a look at some of our superfoods which can support healthy meal choices. And our personal favourite home recipes:
Limiting late nights can also have a beneficial impact on your health.
Studies have shown that adults who habitually sleep less than six and a half hours per night are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Even with a healthy diet and regular gym time, an earlier bedtime can be a huge plus for your longevity.
Reading before you go to sleep allows your muscles to relax and slows down breathing, leaving you feeling calmer. Compare this to using tablets, smart phones, laptops or other electronic devices in bed. These devices delay your circadian rhythm, and suppress the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, which in turns makes it more difficult to fall asleep. So for healthier sleep, ban them from the bedroom.
Setting time aside to give yourself a break every day is another way of creating healthy routines.
- Split up physical activities throughout the day – 10-minute workouts
- Walk children to and from school
- Walk during your lunch break, and spend time in fresh air. Try different routes, and on occasion, why not take another colleague, and discuss business projects as you walk.
- If you take the bus to work, get off a stop early so you have to walk the last part.
- Park a little further away from office and walk the remainder of the journey.
- Stand while talking on the phone.
- Take stairs instead of lift.
- Rather than sitting at your desk and saving up documents to put away altogether in one go, take the opportunity to stand and move from your desk regularly.