Make Eating Healthy Easy with These 5 Tips

Whether you’re working from home, on the road, or in the office, eating healthy during the work week can be tough. It often seems easier, and cheaper, to grab a bag of chips or order fast food. But with a few small adjustments to your routine eating healthy during the work week will be easier than you think. Here are five simple tips to get you on the right track toward making healthy choices:

Prep your meals at home the night before. Prepping meals allows you to plan and control what you pack. Stock your fridge with individual-serving size yogurts, chopped veggies, or fruit for some simple side dishes. Make extra salad at dinner and throw it in a container with some protein like grilled chicken or tuna. It may take a few extra minutes to prep and pack your food the night before, but it’s worth it.

Keep healthy snacks in the office. Stock your drawers and office fridge with healthy snacks like veggies and hummus, fresh fruit, protein shakes, nuts, or trail mix. If you have easy access to the healthy stuff, you won’t be as inclined to dig into the candy jar sitting on the front office desk.

Pay a little extra for convenience. Our first tip, prepping your meals for the week, can be time consuming. If you don’t have the time to follow that tip, try picking up some prepared salads, wraps, fruits and vegetables, etc. at your favorite grocery store. It costs a little bit more, but it’s your next best option to have the healthy stuff on hand.

Choose healthier options at restaurants. Depending on your job, there may be times when you must eat out. The key to eating healthier when eating out is to stay away from fried foods and steer yourself towards fresh produce and lean protein. Most fast food restaurants these days have at least a few healthy options, such as a salad with grilled chicken. Just be wary of the extra items like nacho strips or loads of dressing that negate the healthy aspect of the salad.

Drink water. Always have a water bottle at your fingertips. Staying hydrated during the day is important for your overall health and keeps hunger cravings at bay.

Ultimately, the secret to eating healthy during the work week is to tweak your thought process by establishing healthy habits, and once you’ve done that, you’re on your way to a healthy life! By making wise choices about what you eat, and planning ahead, you’ll fuel your tank to power through your work day.

Five Things to Consider When Buying a New Vehicle

Whether you’re shopping for a new vehicle because you want to or because you must, shop in a smart and efficient way. You want to feel good about your investment. Feel confident that you got the best deal possible and that your new vehicle will get you safely from point A to point B.

The process of buying a vehicle can be daunting because there are so many things to consider. Sometimes it’s hard enough to decide what you want, let alone the price you want to pay; but the following five important tips will help you feel more confident about the purchase you make.

Shop Around. Take time to shop around at various banks for your loan. In addition to finding the most competitive rates and fees, shopping around will give you a more balanced idea about how much of a loan you qualify for. Understanding what you can afford is a great place to start.

Completing a “prequalification” with a lender is different than a “pre-approval.” Both refer to an assessment that precedes a loan application and neither one guarantees a loan, but prequalification requires less information from you, is a fairly quick and simple process, doesn’t cost anything, and gives you a good idea of how much of a loan you will qualify for.

Research Prices. Once you know your price range, research prices on at least two different vehicles that you are interested in, considering the year and amount of mileage on the vehicle. Knowledge is power and comes in handy when you’re negotiating with the salesperson.

Read Reviews. Take time to read reviews and watch YouTube videos that evaluate the vehicles you’re considering. This will give you a better idea of what to pay attention to during your test drive and what questions to ask the salesperson.

Never Buy on Impulse. Don’t allow your emotions to cloud your decisions, especially when you see something you want. Use the strongest power you have for a great deal: the power to walk away and leave the dealership! You might be surprised at how much they are willing to negotiate when they see a sale slipping away.

Use Car-Buying Services. Take advantage of car-buying services that are offered by companies such as USAA. These can take some of the stress out of buying a car— use their corporate knowledge and experience to steer you in the right direction and give you confidence in the decision you make.

Fitness and Stress Management

Stress and physical activity are things that we deal with daily, but you may be surprised at how related they are. Even a small amount of physical fitness can boost your “feel good” endorphins and act as a distraction from day-to-day worries and stressors. If you find yourself stressed on a regular basis, exercise could be a healthy form of stress management.

Exercise and physical activity increases neurotransmitters called endorphins. If you have ever heard anyone talk about a “runner’s high,” they are actually referring to the increase in endorphins they experience from the act of physical activity. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body similar to morphine without the negative effects of drug use/abuse. Endorphins are also known to act as analgesic, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as a sedative and can increase healthy sleep patterns, which are directly related to stress, anxiety, and depression.

While involved in a high paced activity, you will often find yourself concentrating on your bodily movements, rather than concentrating on the day-to-day irritations and stressors. As a result, many find themselves able to focus on tasks better, tackle projects with increased energy and enthusiasm, and have a more optimistic attitude in general.

Even if exercise has not been a word in your vocabulary for quite some time, building up levels of physical activity can have immediate positive effects on your overall wellbeing. If it has been awhile, start slow and increase as you go along. It helps to choose activities that you already find enjoyable.

Also, pencil in some physical activity on your weekly agenda; this will help you stick with goals you set for yourself. Exercise is worth the time slot in your schedule as regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels, boost self-esteem, ward off anxiety and depression, and improve sleep.

Keeping Yourself Relevant in the Workplace

Whether you just started a new position or you’ve been in the same position for 10 years, it’s important to remain relevant in your field for your own confidence as well as potential job progression. Here are a few ways to keep yourself relevant in the workplace:

  • Develop your skills: Stay updated on publications, technologies, and processes related to your profession.
  • Invest in yourself: If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, then who will? Look for seminars, trainings, and books that will develop you as a professional but not break the bank.
  • Join a professional association: Professional associations allow you to network, provide you with training opportunities, send out newsletters with valuable information, and hold conferences.
  • Volunteer: Consider volunteering a few hours a week at an association that you feel an affinity toward. Volunteering can push you out of your comfort zone and help you to grow.
  • Network: Networking is not the same as job searching. Talking to other professionals in your field helps you to grow and remain relevant among your colleagues.
  • Hone your leadership skills: Never shy away from an opportunity to lead something. This not only helps you to develop and refine skills but also creates visibility in the workplace.
  • Challenge yourself: Seek out opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone and help you to grow- even if you can’t see how it relates to your career at the time. Any confidence you gain in your personal life will translate to your professional life.

Retirement Savings: Focus on Starting Today

If you’re just beginning to put money away for retirement, start saving and investing as much as you can now and let compound interest have an opportunity to work in your favor. The more you can invest when you’re young, the better off you’ll be. If a 25 year old starts investing $75 per month, they will have more money by age 65 than someone that starts at 35 years old investing $100 per month due to interest.

  • Rather than thinking, “I will start my retirement for a New Year’s resolution,” START NOW!
  • Make sure to at least match your employers’ 401k contribution percentage.
  • Check with your HR department to see if you employer offers Roth and Traditional 401k plans and see which better suits your retirement plans by asking more questions.

Another way to start saving for retirement is to rein in your spending. Examine your budget and see where you are spending too much money and what you could start saving for the future. This will also help you to set up a realistic spending plan for when you are retired.