Incorporating Healthy Eating Habits Into Your Busy Schedule

DATE: Apr 21, 2017 
AUTHOR: Susanna Scherer RDH

Life is busy! When you're sprinting out the door, it may seem easier to grab a bag of chips than it is to wash an apple. But falling into these habits is generally not healthy. Making eating right a priority will have a positive impact on your workday and your personal life. Here are some easy steps to help you incorporate healthy eating habits into your hectic schedule.

Plan Ahead

If you find yourself at the store without planning ahead you will probably make unhealthy impulse buys. ChooseMyPlate, a great resource sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may help you stay organized by creating shopping lists of the items you actually need. Creating a list will also help you avoid purchasing items that you don't need, such as those in the snack aisle. Also, when you are at the supermarket, try to stick to the perimeter of the store. That's where you'll almost always find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy and bread.

Start Your Day Right

It has been said many times before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast gives you the fuel you need to go about your day. While grabbing a frozen waffle may be your breakfast of choice, there are other quick options to get your body going in the morning, including:

  • Try boiling some eggs the night before and store them in the fridge ready to go as you head out the door.
  • Keep fresh fruit, such as bananas, within reach.
  • Smoothies are a great morning option provided they aren't loaded up with added sugars, because they offer essential vitamins and minerals to fuel your day.

Stick to Your Plan

Breakfast may be the most important meal, but do not forget about the others! Check out these tips to help you stick to your healthy plan all day long.

  • Snack time. When thinking about snacking during the day, consider nuts, cheese, plain yogurt or fresh fruit. These will offer a boost of protein. Stock up on healthy prepackaged snacks, such as individual packs of nuts or hummus and pretzels. These options offer a healthy portion that may help prevent over-eating. They are also easy for busy dental hygienists, setting you up for healthier eating habits throughout your day.
  • Lunch. Bring your lunch from home. This will help you avoid ordering out with coworkers, which can lead to unhealthy choices. In addition to helping you avoid unhealthy options, bringing your own lunch is usually more cost effective.
  • Dinner. Plan dinners that are well-balanced with a variety of proteins, whole grains and veggies. If you are not confident in your cooking skills and are strapped for time, consider subscribing to an online food service. These companies pick out meals for you, ship the ingredients right to your door, and provide a step-by-step recipe. It takes the guess work out of meal planning during a busy work week.

Encourage Your Team

Ask your whole team to commit to eating healthy with you. If you can get the other dental hygienists, assistants and even dentists in your office to eat well with you, you will have more luck staying on track, and you'll be accountable to each other. Encourage everyone to contribute to and share a fruit or healthy snack bowl. Instead of a gumball dispenser, fill the dispenser with nuts. In the break room, leave fresh fruit out that has already been washed and is easy to grab, such as grapes or berries. This way, between patients, everyone can grab a handful to fuel up.

All those goodies that appear in break rooms can be very tempting! Eating the cookies and doughnuts patients bring in for you may leave you feeling sluggish. Avoid eating those and stick with the healthy options you have brought to the office. When you have planned ahead you will have food options that you enjoy and that can help keep you on your toes and feeling your best.

Takeaways

  • Plan ahead to help adopt healthy eating habits.
  • Utilize online resources to make grocery lists and meal plans to simplify healthy eating.
  • Choose snacks that will fuel your day, such as nuts, cheese, plain yogurt and fresh fruit, and work together with your whole office to eat right.

Why It's Valuable

Many dental hygienists work a very busy schedule; some don't even take a proper lunch break. It is important to fuel your body so that you can power through the afternoon slump. Additionally, it is important to eat healthy as it will have a positive impact on your overall health.