This week I’d like to share with you my
Top 10 habits for a healthier life
I try to do these everyday:
1. Enjoy and savour your morning coffee
Drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day has been linked to longevity and numerous other health benefits. Ideally it should be black without added sugar (syrups etc) and cream. I do have mine with milk as I want to keep my calcium levels up.
To increase the longevity impact more, enjoy your coffee with friends and family. Recent scientific research has shown that regular, social interaction is the highest predictor of longevity, over and above other factors such as smoking, drinking, diet and exercise. Coffee morning anyone?
This habit makes me really happy, as anyone who read my 30 days without coffee challenge will know!
(additional information: science confirms coffee can add years to life)
2. Get a four legged friend
Having a pet provides valuable companionship and purpose i.e. ensuring your pet is well cared for. If you have a dog you have the added bonus of ensuring you develop a regular walking routine.
3. Be conscious of your portion sizes
Whatever foods you decide to eat, always eat in moderation and stop eating when you are nearly full. The Japanese call this hara hachi bu.
I’m not a big fan of calorie counting but I realise that sometimes this can help in assessing portion size. I’m more interested in the nutritional value of what I am eating.
4. Sit down at the table to eat meals,
with family and friends as much as possible. See my No 1 parenting tip post for my reasons why.
5. Remember to find time for fun
As adults it’s so easy to forget about finding time for fun. We are so wrapped up in the day to day hustle of life, paying bills, parenting, working etc that the fun side of life gets forgotten. Try to set aside time to just relax and do something you love – playing with the kids, exercising, hobbies, anything. This is my No 1 goal for this year.
6. Have a sleep routine
There is more and more evidence to show that sleeping plays an intrinsic role in weight gain, as well as mental health, immunity and general wellbeing. Try to go to bed at a regular time each night and equally get up at the same time each morning. Limit exposure to electronic gadgets at least 1 hour before bedtime, as the light they emit affects your melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
7. Try to move as much as possible
We all know that sitting at work and driving for long hours everyday is detrimental to our health. So, try to find ways to move and stretch yourself throughout the day. Walk whenever you can, take the stairs, bend and stretch when doing your chores.
8. Eat 7 or more vegies and fruit portions per day
This one habit can lower your risk of premature death by 42%. I start my day with a bowl of mixed fresh fruit, snack on nuts and dried fruit during the day and add lots of salad or vegies to my evening meal.
9. Get out the house every day
If you’re a stay at home Mum/Dad/Carer or work from home it’s important to get out and interact with others, i.e. school run, dog walk etc at least once a day if possible. Feelings of isolation have been shown to have a detrimental effect on mental health and general wellbeing.
10. Have a meal plan
Planning your meals for the week ahead will help you stick to your healthy goals. If you have a particularly hectic life, then also set aside a meal prep/meal making day so that food is ready for the week ahead.
All of these habits are part of regular life for people living in the Blue Zones of the planet. These are areas recognised as places where the inhabitant’s longevity and health exceeds that of other countries/places in the world.
This week’s meal plan:-
- Chicken piri piri, sweet potato wedges and rainbow coleslaw
- Pulled pork, rosemary roast potatoes and chilli cabbage
- Leftover pulled pork in a peanut and sweet potato casserole
- Sausage and vegetable tray
- Homemade burgers and salad
- Quiche and salad
- Salmon wrapped in prosciutto and salad
(Some of the recipes for this weeks meal plan can be found in Tesco’s free January 2018 magazine)
I hope you all have a wonderful week.
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