Working full-time, taking care of a family, and trying to be healthy is often like juggling bowling balls.  You’re pretty sure one of them is going to drop eventually; you just don’t know which one.  All you can do is move your feet out of the way in the hopes that, whichever one falls first, it isn’t going to hurt too bad.

As difficult as it can be to carve out time to take care of your health, the consequences of not making your wellness a priority can lead to living a less-than-healthy life.  If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, for instance, the World Health Organization reports you’re at risk of life-threatening conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer. 


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At a minimum, you likely don’t feel your best if you’re not as healthy as you can be.  Physically, you may notice that you fatigue easily or that you’re not as focused at work.  Other signs of living an unhealthy lifestyle include feeling stressed and anxious a lot of the time, struggling with depression, and experiencing other emotions that make both work and home harder and less satisfying.

Fortunately, by making just a few changes to your diet, you can begin to improve your health, ultimately feeling better mentally and physically.  Here are my three essential tips that can help you do just that while still managing to work full-time and take care of all of your other obligations:

1) Eat breakfast

While it may be tempting to just grab a travel mug with coffee and head out the door on your way to work, your body needs nutrients after not eating since the night before.  If you don’t have time for a mini sit-down meal, at least grab some Greek yogurt, a protein bar, an apple, or a little bag of trail mix that you can eat in the car to give you energy to start your day and kick-start your metabolism.  As a bonus, eating breakfast can also help you control your weight by making you less hungry at lunchtime, reducing the likelihood that you’ll overeat.

2) Eat more vegetables

NBC News indicates that as many as 87 percent of the American population doesn’t get the amount of vegetables that they should.  So, if you’re in this percentage—and it's likely you are—this tip is for you.  One way to get more veggies is to consume more salads either as meals or side dishes.  (This can save you a lot of fat and calories if your lunches are typically spent dining out.)  You can also add vegetables to your favorite dishes or casseroles.  Some people prefer juicing as a way to get their recommended amount of veggies, and it's especially helpful for those living a super-busy lifestyle because juicing isn't terribly time-consuming.  But really, it doesn’t matter how you add vegetables to your diet, just do it.

3) Plan ahead

You wouldn’t go into a meeting at work without reviewing the agenda and preparing the information that you’ll likely be asked for, would you?  Well, the same type of planning can also benefit your health.  This means having healthy foods on hand and taking the time to prepare them so they’re easy to grab and go.  Yes, it does take a little bit of time, but the payback is increased energy and a longer life span.  Additionally, you may end up with more money in your checking account, because planning meals and bringing your own snacks reduces the likelihood of you dining out or spending cash at the vending machine.

Make these three changes and you’ll be well on your way to greater physical health and mental clarity.  It doesn’t get much better than that.


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