[adrotate banner=”26″]Did you know that life can be even more stressful when you’re at home versus when you’re at work? It’s true! Levels of cortisol–a hormone released when stressed–were higher in study participants when they were at home rather than on the job, according to a recent study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine. Some experts believe this is because the stress at work is more predictable and easier from which to walk away than is your home life, which is a constant.
Just the daily tasks of your personal time, such as paying the bills, keeping the house clean, and juggling busy extracurricular schedules can feel pretty overwhelming, and that’s before factoring in even heavier stressors–family drama, health concerns, deaths of loved ones, etc.
The last thing you want to do is complicate your life even more by stressing out about what you eat. However, that can seem impossible when you consider that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key way to overcoming stress and its dangerous side effects. Some of the most common attempts at eating right and shedding unwanted fat resort to calorie counting and weighing/measuring out your food–actions that make meals more complex. While this form of portion control is one approach, it’s certainly not the only way. Try these tips for making meals a lot more mindless, but still good for you.
- Stock Wisely: If the food you have on hand is healthy, it makes it pretty difficult to mess up your meals or snacks. When a salty, crunchy craving comes on, having roasted almonds to go to instead of a bag of chips is a perfect example of how much easier it will be to make better choices when the time comes. Fill your fridge and pantry with the right foods, and you won’t have to stress about eating the wrong ones.
- Create Convenience: If having a selection of healthy, whole foods is the first step toward eating ease, then breaking food into grab-and-go serving sizes is the next. Even with good go-tos, you can still overeat. Nuts and granola are great for satisfying hunger, as they include good fats and protein; but eating these in excess can lead to fat storing instead of fat burning. When stocking your kitchen, create convenience by bagging food or putting food into small containers. Also, slice veggies and fruits, when you just feel like a little mindless munching. When you can, plan and cook meals in advance.
- Eat with Your Hands: Instead of scales and measuring cups–which aren’t usually available when eating out–use your hands to determine proper portion sizes. Proteins and meat should be equal to the palm of one hand. Eat as many veggies as can fit in your two hands cupped together. Got for a fist size of combined fruits and grains. And add a thumb-size serving of a healthy fat, such as avocado or olive oil.
- Drink Up: If you fill up on water, or other clean beverages, your body will feel more full, leaving less room for food. Stay hydrated throughout your day, and before eating a meal or snack, drink a full glass of water about 10 or 15 minutes before eating.
There’s enough stress in your life, don’t add food to that list. What tips you use for making meals easy? Tell us in the comments!