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By: Arena Ellis

There have been times where I have found myself unable to eat my lunch until 4:00 P.M., leaving me hangry, distracted, and truthfully, less productive. Sadly, I know that I am not alone in this. Working 40+ hours a week and having a life outside of the office can make it difficult to make healthy food choices. Even with the best intentions, being busy can often hinder our ability to eat healthy.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re looking to change up your unhealthy eating habits.

How to Make Healthy Food Choices

Prepare

Adding yet another thing on your to-do list to prepare food might be the last thing you’ll want to do. In this case, being prepared will only help you, not hurt you. To help prepare, consider looking at your calendar. This is something I like to do a week in advance, as well as a day in advance.

Looking at your calendar a week in advance will give you an idea of any lunch dates or dinner plans. If dining out, this will give you the opportunity to look at a menu in advance to decide on healthier choices. Meal prepping for the week is another great way to choose healthier choices. Looking at your calendar for the week will give you an idea of how much food to prepare in advance and can help prevent waste.

Looking at your calendar a day in advance can help prepare you for schedule changes. There will always be situations that come up where plans are changed or cancelled. However, looking at your calendar proactively can help you be less blind sighted and resorting to the drive-thru. 

RELATED: 4 Reasons Why You're Always Hungry

Schedule Time

Similar to looking at your calendar in advance, scheduling time to eat can help with healthier choices. This doesn’t necessarily mean blocking time out in your calendar. However, if that’s something that will hold you accountable, try it out! Knowing when you have breaks in your day will give you an idea of what times to have lunch or incorporate snacks in your schedule. It will also give you an idea of what kind of meal/snacks would be appropriate. (If you have a big meeting at 1:00 P.M. and your only window to eat is right before that, maybe skip the garlic hummus or onions on your salad).

how to eat healthy

Don’t Skip Eating Altogether

Being healthy does not mean skipping meals. By skipping meals, this will lead to being hangry. The possibility of devouring a whole bag of chips or binging on food at night increases tenfold. Being prepared by knowing your schedule and knowing your windows to eat can really help with you not skipping meals.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Start Incorporating Intuitive Eating

Switch It Up

Eating healthy does not mean that you must eat boring. Often, if we only plan to eat the same thing day after day, being excited about your meals will become hard, making the choice of takeout more enticing. Switching up your options every other day can really help with making it seem like you have a variety in your diet. Don’t be afraid to add seasonings and spices to your food. This is a great way to add flavor to your food without the extra calories. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s is a go-to staple of mine when it comes to seasoning and helps keep my food from tasting bland.

Portion Control 

Have you ever had a meal for lunch and felt like you needed to snooze right after? This is where you need to be mindful not only of what you are eating, but how much you are eating. A heavy lunch will make you feel lethargic, leading to an afternoon slump and low productivity. Even if you’re eating something healthy, eating too much can also have this effect.

Being prepared can only help you, not hurt you. These tips are not only easy to implement, but can help you become a healthier, and less hangrier, version of yourself.