Healthy Eating: My Ways to Making it Fit

Printed with permission from the Cooper Institute.


Does it ever seem like you just don’t have enough time to do all you need to do—or want to do? Unfortunately, there are only so many minutes in an hour, hours in a day, and days in a week.  In our busy and fast-paced lives, it’s often difficult to accomplish all we have to do in the time we have available.  This is especially true when it comes to finding the time to make healthful lifestyle choices.
Dr. Lester Breslow, who recently died at 97, found that a 60-year-old who followed 7 behaviors would be as healthy as a 30-year-old who followed fewer than three. The seven:

  • exercise at least moderately
  • eat regular meals
  • maintain a moderate weight
  • eat breakfast
  • don’t smoke
  • drink in moderation
  • sleep seven to eight hours

Living healthy without the need for medications and doctor visits is quite appealing (not to mention less costly).  Knowing that managing weight is based on balancing calories “in” with calories “out”, eating healthier is one of my major goals.  Since it works best to break down goals into smaller steps, this month I am focused on eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables on at least five days each week as confirmed by recording my food intake on my daily log sheet (click here). Did you know that people who set goals are almost twice more successful than those who don’t? My log helps me monitor if I am on track to meet my goals.
As a working mom with little free time, eating healthy needs to be easy.  I have found that planning ahead and buying what I need at the grocery store helps set me up for success. Here are some other things I have learned that help me fit healthy eating into my day when faced with a busy schedule. To meet my goal of eating at least five servings of fruits and veggies:

  • For convenience, I keep healthy snacks such as baby carrots, dried mangoes and individual servings of pineapple on hand at home and work.
  • I have a list of healthy eating options that are close to work and home like the yummy salad bar at the local grocery store or the restaurant next door that serves delicious vegetable soup.
  • Knowing how important breakfast is (number 4 on Dr. Breslow’s list), I start the day with a small glass of grapefruit juice and a piece of fruit with my whole grain cereal or toast.
  • I plan my meals and snacks ahead of time so I have the ingredients on hand or know exactly what I will pick up on the way home.
  • I also keep a stock on hand of healthy prepared meals and food products, such as frozen entrees, precut veggies, canned fruits (in 100% juice), and frozen lunches with veggies  to help save time.

I plan on becoming a well 60-year-old and maybe even a well 97-year-old one day!  What are some of the ways you fit healthy eating choices into your busy day?

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