Whether you’re keeping your New Year’s resolution alive or looking for a few new additions to add to your health and wellness repertoire, we’ve outlined five essentials to keep your body and mind in check. Some of our recommendations are as simple as staying hydrated, while others require you to set aside a little time for yourself (which is easier said than done, we know, but we’re here to help).
1. Plan Your Meals
When you’re living on-the-go, convenience is critical. It’s all too easy to slip into the groove of grabbing a slice of pizza at work or nabbing some fast food on the way to your next meeting. But quick eats don’t have to come in the form of saturated fats and sugar.
To help eliminate the temptation of the drive-thru, take some time on Sunday night to meal prep. Start by finding a few containers that make grab-and-go lunches and dinners easier to prepare. We recommend using glass Mason jars, as their nonporous surfaces don’t absorb food colors, smells, and germs, and they’re often both dishwasher and microwave-safe. Plastic, on the other hand (especially plastic wrap), is contributing to significant environmental issues and may even leak endocrine disruptors when microwaved, according to research by Harvard Health Publishing.
To prep foods that are packed with healthy nutrients, aim to prepare:
- Layered salads with oil and vinegar dressing
- Parfaits with yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola
- Chopped and washed fresh vegetables (celery, carrots, cucumbers)
- Trail mix with nuts, seeds, legumes, and dried fruit (look for no added sugar)
- Overnight oatmeal with fruits, seeds, or nut butters
2. Drink More Water
Staying properly hydrated is vital to every system in your body. From your brain to your bladder, water helps regulate processes that transport nutrients, rid your body of bacteria, and jump-start your metabolism. To help ensure you’re drinking enough fluids (especially water), find a reusable water bottle that you can carry everywhere.
Once again, we recommend using a container made of glass over plastic. Not only do you lower the risk of ingesting BPA and other plasticizers, but you’ll be doing something good for the environment and saving money. In fact, Business Insider found that, on average, bottled water is a whopping 300 times more expensive than tap water. And, if you’re worried about chemicals in your city’s water, invest in a microfiltration purifier.
3. Make Smoothies
While you don’t need to jump on the bandwagon and throw your entire pantry into the blender, you can mix up a concoction that breathes life into your breakfast. In fact, many of the ingredients found in smoothies are great for your health. Fruits and juices provide vitamins and plenty of fiber, and yogurt adds much-needed protein and calcium.
What’s great about smoothies is that the sweetness of the fruit can easily mask the bitterness of any vegetables or add-ins. For a hearty boost of nutrients, try blending in fresh veggies like spinach, kale, and other high-iron leafy greens, or antioxidant-heavy powders like matcha. While it may change the color, you probably won’t even notice any difference in taste, and you’ll feel great, too.
4. Stay Motivated
According to Mayo Clinic, long-term stress and inactivity can lead to severe health problems, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, and weight gain. Instead of letting sluggishness weigh you down, introduce a motivational Mason jar into your routine.
First, cut out 20 to 30 strips of paper and write a down short and actionable idea on to each one to get you up and moving. Then, choose a specific, recurring time to complete an activity, such as during a commercial break or just after you use the bathroom. Be sure to keep the jar on your kitchen counter to make sure you don’t forget about it! Some examples include:
- 10 sit-ups
- 20 push-ups
- One-minute squats
- 20 jumping jacks
- 15 tricep dips
- One-minute high knees
- One-minute lunges
- 20 bicycle crunches
5. Make Your Own Dressing
Many store-bought dressings are packed with added sugar, preservatives, and unnecessary ingredients. Shake things up by making your own dressings and sauces with Mason jars, which store well in the fridge.
Remember, you don’t have to be a five-Star Michelin chef to create delicious foods at home. All you need is a little time and guidance. If you’re interested in trying something new and finding flavors that will make your meals pop, take a look at this white fig balsamic vinaigrette recipe.