Thursday, January 14, 2016

Easy Tips for a Healthy 2016

Life is short... so why not be happy? Make 2016 your best year yet.
It can be easy, in the wake and wash of time, to forget how to be happy. It often seems that we have too many priorities that don’t play well with our own well-being, and we ignore our physical and emotional needs to our own detriment. But as the new year opens, there are a few small things we can do to make sure we’re getting the most out of 2016. For a healthy, more rewarding life, think about some of these ideas and how they could improve your year.


Learn when to let go.

If you are like me, you sometimes ove-ranalyze things and hang on to them much longer than you need to. I want to stop doing that and find the right time to remove something from my thoughts. Remember that holding grudges and bearing ill will towards other people really doesn’t do anything—not for them, and certainly not for you. You can’t change other people and many situations are simply going to be outside your control. And that’s okay. If you find yourself becoming worked up about something that isn’t worth your energy, try focusing that energy on something positive: learn a new skill, write it down and throw it away, or engage in a creative outlet you enjoy. Just get it out!


Do more with your day.

As much as I hate to admit getting up early is a key to success, it is. To get the most out of the year, start with each day! Get up early and give yourself time to do chores, relax, read, or eat a good breakfast before you head out the door. Instead of lounging on the couch after work, do a bit of volunteering. You’ll have more time to get things done and you’ll feel less stressed about doing them.


Make time for the people and activities you love.

I need a lot of time to myself to feel energized, so I always try to schedule time to hang out with me (I’m very good company). I take myself to a movie or dinner or just relax and do other things I like to do, like read or cook a big meal. Those things might not be right for you, but think about what things make you feel energized and happy. Is it hiking? Is it video games? Whatever you like to do, leave yourself time to do them every week. It’s even better if you bring a loved one along or plan a time to catch up.


Eat real food.

There’s something tremendously rewarding about eating a meal you cooked yourself. Make a concerted effort this year to eat well. I don’t mean you need to cut out all junk food forever or force yourself to eat only Swiss chard, but stepping up your nutrition game and eating better will make you feel better. I could never give up my crispy Pop Chips, but I will supplement them with a side of garlicky spinach!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Why You Definitely Need More Sleep

Well, for one thing, sleep is amazing! It’s one of my favorite states of being. If you’re a busy person with lots of responsibilities and places to be, it’s likely that you’re not getting all of that delicious sleep you need. As we’re about to start a brand new year, now is a great time to put sleep higher up on your priority list. You’ll be glad you did in the long run: sleep helps heal you, body and mind; it helps ward off disease; and it’s an important part of aging well! Here are some suggestions about getting better sleep, and why you need it.

How much sleep is necessary? 
Depending on where you are in life, the amount of sleep you need may change. If you have school-age children, the Sleep Foundation recommends that they get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers should get between 8 and 10 hours, and for pretty much everyone over 18, the suggested range is 7-9 hours of sleep. But too many people just don’t get enough, and it’s estimated that 100,000 traffic accidents and 1,500 deaths are the result of sleep deprivation every year. Yikes!

What’s so great about getting enough sleep? 
Everything! The right amount of good sleep contributes to overall better health, better mood, and better physical fitness. Insufficient or poor sleep can sometimes lead to serious problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. More, getting enough sleep can help ease chronic pain because your body has more time to heal. Some researchers even think that getting good sleep can supplement medication for pain.

Personally, I’ve found this to be true as well. When I’m not getting enough sleep, the chance that I’ll wake up with a migraine is significantly higher—so getting in a full night of beauty rest ensures that my days are happier, less painful, and more efficient.

How can I sleep better? 
Getting enough sleep isn’t necessarily just about the hours: it also has a lot to do with the quality of sleep you’re getting. This is why it’s so important to make sleep a priority! Do your best to get a good sleep schedule going that allows you to go to bed when you’re tired, and stick with it. It’s also important that you find the right sleep environment for you: the right amount of light or darkness, sound, temperature, and your bed all play an important role. Be mindful of what you eat and drink before bed, too.

So start the New Year by deciding how much sleep you should be getting and creating a plan to make it work! Sleep is the great equalizer, so make sure you’re getting your equal share!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tips for Eating Healthy on the Plane

It can be really tricky to eat mindfully when you’re tens of thousands of feet in the air, but it is possible! Depending on which airline you take and where you’re going, you may actually have some healthy options! A recent survey compiled a list of which airlines have the healthiest food, and some of them seem pretty tasty. So if you’re considering taking a flight somewhere, see if you can get on board with these airlines and their scrumptious menus. And if you can’t, never fear--you can always pack your own!

The survey was conducted by Charles Platkin, a nutrition professor at Hunter College and City University of New York. Platkin investigated 12 of the major airlines in the U.S. with 10 criteria in mind, like whether the airline offers low-calorie meals or items that are actually nutritionally redemptive. He looked primarily at meals available for domestic economy-class passengers.

So which airlines came out on top with the healthiest in-flight options? Virgin America claims the top spot on the list, as they were the first airline to offer nutritional information about the food they serve. Virgin America’s meals are also all low-calorie: the average calorie count for a meal is a happy 408, and many options are also high in protein.

Just behind Virgin America is Delta Airlines, which has really turned its food game around recently. Delta also provides nutritional information for some of its choices (though not all), with plans to expand the release of that information next year. Some of its food options are made by Luvo, a company that makes healthy frozen meals.

The following three places are assumed by Jet Blue, Air Canada, and United Airlines. However, the two losers in the health category don’t offer anything Platkin would even recommend eating: neither Hawaiian Airlines or Frontier Airlines offer nutritional info or anything good to eat at all. "The worst offender [on Hawaiian] is the Island Princess Mele Macs, which are candied macadamia nuts that contain a staggering 1,120 calories," says CNN.

Happily, you’re not out of luck if you’re flying on one of the airlines whose food isn’t as good. Platkin expects that airline food will continue to change and improve as companies seek to respond to consumer interest--and demand--for healthier food choices. Until then, you can always pack plenty of healthy snacks for the flight, like fruit and nuts, sandwiches, or crispy veggies with a nice dressing!

Do you have a favorite in-flight snack? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!