4 Health Tweaks You Can Easily Introduce to Your Daily Routine

Are you looking at 2020 wondering how you will implement changes to your health goals? Feeling overwhelmed already? This year look to simplify changes by making small tweaks in your current routines and add little increments to your health behaviors for maximum success.

Guest Post By: Jennifer McGregor

Well-intentioned health goals are a dime a dozen. Everyone always has something that they want to achieve, whether it’s losing 20 pounds or running a 5K. For many, reducing stress is also a compelling objective, especially those in high-stress occupations like caregivers. Regardless of what your goals are, know that it takes more than just good intentions to meet them; you need action, too. Thankfully, with strategic tweaks here and there, you, too, can incorporate solid health practices into your daily routine. Here are a few to get you started.

Choose the good.

The fulfillment of any health goal invariably starts with one thing—making good choices. In fact, mindfulness is known to not just improve your physical health, but also your mental well-being, too. 

No doubt, the thing that particularly benefits from this is your diet. The practice of mindful eating means listening to your body’s signals—that is to say, eating when you’re hungry as opposed to bored and knowing when to stop. Not only that, but it also means consciously choosing to consume food that’s healthy and nourishing, cutting back on processed food rich in sodium and sugar, which would be particularly beneficial to caregivers prone to stress and conditions like hypertension. Another way to eat healthier (and less) is to order healthy options from a meal delivery service because with pre-measured ingredients, you can control portion sizes

Beyond just your diet, being mindful means making choices that truly serve you and your body, too. This can be as simple as going to bed an hour earlier to get more quality shut-eye, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Move with intention.

Of course, regular physical activity is a must for just about any health goal. And it’s hard not to see why with the many known benefits of movement. Its physical perks such as weight loss and improved immune and lymphatic systems—to name just a few—are common knowledge, but even more interestingly, movement also enhances brain health, elevates your mood, and reduces stress.

While the idea of movement inevitably brings to mind exercise, there are other ways to go about it, too. This could be anything from stretching to dancing to gardening. Indeed, simply being on your feet will already do wonders to your well-being holistically, so it’s great practice, therefore, to always make it a point to move.

Prioritize relaxation.

As rewarding a vocation as caregiving is, it also leaves you vulnerable to feelings of overwhelm and frustration, making caregiver stress a real problem. This is why it’s doubly important for caregivers to make relaxation and stress management a priority. 

Doubtless, the easiest way to go about this is to introduce relaxation techniques to your routine, such as meditation and deep breathing. It’s also a good idea to make it a point to go on a break and take time to do something you love, like reading or pursuing a hobby. Going on vacation is another way to relax. Even a staycation in your own city will do wonders for your overall well-being. 

Allow indulgence.

In the same vein as taking downtime, you should also give yourself a license to indulge from time to time, as long as you make it worthwhile. For example, partaking in your daily red wine is one indulgence that’s really good for you as red wine is chock full of antioxidants that protect you from a plethora of diseases, as well as anxiety and depression. Hiring a health and lifestyle coach is another, as you could certainly benefit from a customized health plan, plus it helps to have someone hold you accountable.

Suffice it to say, health goals are just ideals when you don’t have concrete steps to follow through on them. Thankfully, being healthier need not be earth-shattering. So start making small changes and see the difference.

Photo Provided by Author: Jennifer McGregor via Upslpash.com. Image URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/VKnjdEesFxw ~ Image Credit: Photo via Unsplash.com

Easy Red Cabbage & Carrot Coleslaw

This is a great side dish and goes with all sorts of main dish dinners. It is hearty enough to stand as a main dish for lunches or a small dinner. It’s easy, quick, and tasty.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Red cabbage – green would work just fine too
  • Carrots – shredded or sliced
  • Thai fish sauce enough to coat the cabbage and carrots (or you can skip and just use the tahini)
  • Toasted Sesame seeds with Olive Oil for toasting – you can also use tahini, and skip roasting
  • 1 lime for juice
  • Salt and pepper

The Cooking Part …

  • Heat olive oil (just enough for your sesame seeds)
  • Drop-in sesame seeds and stir to coat, allow to roast on stovetop
  • Chop or shred carrots and cabbage, toss in a large bowl
  • Pour in fish sauce and stir
  • Add the roasted sesame seeds and olive oil
  • Slice lime in half and squeeze juice over the mixture
  • Salt and pepper to taste – less is more here because it will sit and intensify as the flavors blend in the dish. You can always add more to serve. 

What to serve with …

You can add rice vinegar to this recipe if you would like a tangy flavor. It is a great side dish for any Asian BBQ, soup, or dumpling. It’s also great with tacos, sandwiches, or hamburgers. Serve warm to add another dynamic alongside a fish dinner or pork chops. I served with Fish as a main course. AND it’s great as a solo dish, too. Make a batch and eat off it all week. 

Easy Pesto

Ever wonder would could be an easy option to spice up a lot of different foods? Try Pesto. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that took me, seriously, about 5 minutes to make.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Garlic – peeled
  • Nuts – if you want them, pine nuts are the usual, but you could use walnuts or pecans instead.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

The Cooking Part …

I just made this the other night – it was quick, easy and great for days. I like a lot of garlic and we did not use any nuts in our pesto blend.

First, peel the garlic cloves. I put about 3-4 in my blend. Put in a food processor or blender and chop. Then pull the basil leaves off the stems, add to the food processor and begin to blend on low. While blending add some olive oil to the processor. Add just enough oil so that it blends well, but is still chunky. I add salt and pepper to taste. Done. Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week or so.

What to serve with …

I added mine this week to spaghetti  squash for a fantastic side dish. We eat it on crackers, cucumbers, with tomatoes and cheese, eggs. The options are endless if you like basil and garlic 🙂

Quick Fried Lemon Tilapia

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Whole lemon – 1 per fillet
  • Tilapia fillets – enough for each person eating. 1 serving is typically 3 oz

The Cooking Part …

Add olive oil to your pan and heat. When the oil is hot, add your tilapia fillets. Cut lemon in half, and squeeze half over the fillet. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, not too much here. Fry on one side for about 5 minutes. Then flip. It should not take long, but use a fork to make sure the fish is cooked through and flaky. Flip as needed to keep the sides browning but not burning. 

What to serve with …

Kale salad with grape tomatoes and rice like I did last week, or serve with any kind of rice or salad you like. I also like my fish with veggies like broccoli, green beans, or potatoes. Enjoy!

Simple Power Snacks – Avocado and Sunflower Seeds

This super simple snack packs a punch and lots of energy for the rest of your busy day.

I am not a great cook, I’m good when I want to be, but honestly my mind is usually somewhere else and following recipes is really, really hard for me. Any distraction – 3 kids, the dog, a friend, a flower – and boom, we are having “blackened” food again … usually without the Cajan part. So I started making my food simple. Really simple. I wanted healthy and easy.

Ingredients:

  • Avacado
  • Roasted and salted sunflower seeds without the shell

The Cooking Part …

  • Cut the avacado
  • Remove the Seed
  • Sprinkle the sunflower seeds on top – about a handful or so
  • Spoon it out of the avocado shell and eat it
  • You can add salt, pepper, garlic salt, chili powder, etc for some extra flavor and spice.

What to serve with …

This goes well with all sorts of stuff: tuna fish, tomatoes, salads of all sorts, crackers, celery