7 easy steps for healthier living

Beginning a new work-out plan, eating healthier, a new diet or even attempting a lifestyle overhaul can be daunting. The busier you are the harder it may seem to change habits without requiring an extraneous amount of energy and effort. Change requires effort but small, simple changes tend to create longer, lasting habits for everyday living.

Here are seven suggestions to try for healthier living

1. Start with a balanced breakfast, at least five days a week. If you don't want or can't eat healthy meals throughout the day, a strong start to your day is the way to go. A trio of a vegetable/fruit, a low carb grain and a protein is good rule of thumb. Ever wonder why avocado toast with an egg on top has been so popular? It's super easy and fulfills all three. So does Greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Find a few variations of what you like and stick to it.

2. Add three vegetables or fruits to your daily diet. And no, French fries don't count. It's a lot easier than you think. Eat a fruit as part of your breakfast or as a snack, top your lunch with half an avocado, and add a vegetable side to dinner. If you hate eating vegetables, start by picking vegetables and fruit that aren't' strongly flavored. Example: a romaine lettuce salad is going to be easier to eat instead of kale or arugula salad. Smoothies, not juices, can provide some of your vegetables and fruits. Technically three serving isn't that big of a jump since you're supposed to be eating five to thirteen servings of vegetables a day.

3. Take a multivitamin. If you're not eating enough servings of vegetables and fruits, there is a likelihood, you're not getting all of the nutrients your body needs. There is no shame taking adult Flintstones or gummy vitamins.

4. Replace one sugary drink with water or a green tea. There's nothing good a soda does for your body. If you need the carbonation, try sparkling water. If you need the caffeine, coffee or tea does the trick. If you can't drink it straight, try honey, raw sugar or other natural sweeteners.

5. Start exercising in small bits. If you have time, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk instead of the taxi. Plank during commercial breaks. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends either 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, along with full body strength training two times a week. If that sounds like a lot, start with doing 20 minutes of body weight workouts every other day. Add three 15-minute runs or walks. Or take a class like spin, yoga, Pilates or etc. twice a week. Find a time commitment and schedule that can be incorporated into your schedule. Exercise will give you more energy and better nights rest. It's science.

6. If you can't give up booze — completely understand— limit the amount of drinks you have. Beer tends to have a higher caloric count; so two beers can quickly add up to 300-500 calories on top of your food. Calories in mixers add up really quickly. So if you must have a drink, try to limit how much you drink in a week. Figuring out how much you drink in one week and splitting that in half is a good start.

7. Learn to relax, cause mental health is important, too. Don't read answer messages for 30 minutes. Engage in your favorite past time. Or just chill.

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