When it comes to meeting your health and fitness goals, your best bet is to rely on a booty of nutritious meals straight from your own kitchen after ensuring your other healthy habits. You know, food habits can directly affect your fitness. So, it is of first importance. Now, let’s see how can we maintain a fitness friendly food habit while we’re on the fly before diving deep into rewarding healthy manners.
A Sandwich Shop or Deli:
Shops that offer the option of building your own sandwich are the best bet, since you can choose a healthier, whole-wheat style bread and omit typical add-ons like butter, mayo, and heavy cheese. Don’t be fooled by salad options: just because the “S-Word” is involved, doesn’t always mean you’re getting the healthiest choice.
Tim Horton’s or Subway be the great alternatives to bringing your own meals, but be mindful of each ingredient in the salad. If the chicken is deep- fried, breaded, or dripping in oil, beware. Likewise, a heavy coating of cheese, as well as cream-based, fatty, or extra sugary dressings take away from the nutritional potential of the salad.
Go for lean cuts of meat like turkey, chicken, tuna, or lean ham and load up on the fresh veggies. When in doubt, stick to the basics: complex carbs as a base, lean meat for protein, and plenty of vegetables. Mustard and vinaigrettes are reasonable choices as toppings; use discretion when topping your sandwich.
Avoid salami or fatty cuts of meat, or egg, tuna, or chicken salad, which often involve copious amounts of mayo. Lastly, be sure to mind the portion size as well. Chances are the 6-inch sandwich and a tall glass of water will be as satisfying as a foot-long. If you grab a foot-long, eat half and save the rest for later.
A Grocery Store:
Often, grocery stores will have a meals to go section full of options for mobile eating. Vegetables are usually few and far between in regular fast-food areas, but grocery stores, being what they are, will usually have some on hand. Often, the prepared foods section will have packs of pre-cut raw veggies on hand. What I like to do is grab a small bag of pre-cut veggies and a portion of tuna from the tuna aisle. The variety of tuna available usually includes tins with an easy-tab option; if at all possible, look for ones with reduced sodium that go easy on the oily add-ons.
The beauty of the grocery store is really the variety of whole foods. Feel free to mix and match to create an on-the-go meal solution of veggies and lean protein; if you can, forgo the creamy ranch dressing in favour of a flavorful hummus spread. Fresh fruit is always a safe bet as well if you seek some natural sweetness. Prepared sandwiches are fine, but again, be mindful of what goes into that sub.
Avoid: the pasta salads, since the dressings are unreliable in terms of fat content, and the ratio of simple carbs to protein is often completely unbalanced. The “salads” themselves are usually out of proportion too, and offer little by way of healthy protein or darker greens. This goes without saying, but avoid the temptation of the pizza and deep-fried food counters nearby; your thighs will thank you for it later.
A Coffee Shop:
Depending on the chain, a coffee shop might offer healthier alternatives such as broth based soup, lean chili, or sandwiches. Follow the previous guide when choosing your sandwich and opt for a chicken noodle or vegetable soup. Chili offers a healthy dose of protein and lycopene from the tomatoes.
However, beware the fat and salt content, so tread carefully. Grab a banana and fat free yogurt with a low sugar content or cottage cheese. Some chains, like Starbucks, even offer oatmeal. If you choose this, skip the sugary add-ons and have it plain with a banana for natural sugar and fiber.
Avoid the sugary drinks and opt for black coffee or coffee with skim milk if you do have a cup. Muffins, cookies, and other sweets are a haven for fat and over excessive amounts of sugar, so steer clear of these sinful items.
Your Local Sports Nutrition Store:
If you’re in the vicinity, grab a nutrition shake or bar for a quick and healthy snack. These items are designed to not only fuel your body but to help it get its recommended dose of protein and carbs. There are many varieties that can assist you in sticking to your goals, like the low carb variety. Now, you can check out reinforcement for some other habits.
Positive Reinforcement For Your Healthy Habits:
Do you think only maintaining your food habit is enough to ensure your fitness? Ever have a hard time sticking to your new and complete healthy habits? Give yourself some incentive to keep up the hard work by throwing in some positive reinforcement for your better choices. Instead of punishing yourself for slipping up– (the tenets of negative reinforcement), it can be more beneficial for you to enact a rewards system for making good fitness choices; you go to the gym and get in a killer workout, and you’re met with a reward.
If this rewards system sounds familiar, you’re totally right in thinking so. Just to make the fact more clear to you, pet owners may use the same principles to enforce good habits in their subjects. You say “sit,” Lassie obeys, and you give her a treat. I know, I know, we’re not animals, but the basis of this rewards system can actually benefit you in your fitness journey. I mean, let’s be honest. If you end up being more motivated to get active and live a healthier lifestyle, who’s really going to argue any pet-human comparisons? Check out how you can use positive reinforcement to help those healthy habits stick:
Choose an appropriate REWARD:
Food tends to be an easy reward for good behaviour, since it offers titillation and instant gratification for your senses. However, we’re trying to avoid the idea of eating just for the sake of it, so choose a non culinary type of treat as your reward. Perhaps you really enjoy How I Met Your Mother, or another similar sitcom.
After getting active or meeting your workout goals for the day, reward yourself with a relaxing half hour of TV. Since it may seem counterintuitive to reward getting active with staying sedentary, vow to only watch as long as you’ve been active. In other words, don’t lounge longer than you’ve been jogging. Keep it to about a half-hour, and you should be set.
Other reward alternatives could be browsing a magazine, buying a New York Times and completing the Sunday crossword puzzle, having a lengthy catch up with a friend, and so forth. Any activity that stimulates you and brings you pleasure is an effective treat or reward for your healthy behaviour.
Think about different (but healthy) ways to pleasure your senses. You love visual art, so taking the time to work on that new project of yours could be a good gift to yourself for getting active. Pampering yourself with mani-pedi is also a fun idea as a reward.
“Do” and you shall receive:
In order to qualify for your reward, you need to follow through on whatever behaviour you wish to enforce. Make it to the gym this evening? Hi-five! You’ve succeeded and earned that half hour bubble bath of “me” time. Did you run those 5 kilometers you had as a goal this week?
Congrats! Let’s take a trip over to Chapters and check out the new Best Sellers list. What’s important is that you make good on your goal, whether it’s to get to the gym four times this week, to participate (and finish!) a 5km run this weekend, or avoid the office donuts for a full workweek.
After completing your goal, it’ll feel doubly good since you now have something else to look forward to. Sticking to your healthy habits is a reward in itself, but you’ll also have that window shopping date with your best bud to motivate you to get fit as well.
If you follow through on your goals, be sure to gift yourself with that reward. This action-reward sequence needs to be consistent in order for it to stick. Eventually, you’ll come to associate exercising with the pleasure you draw from your reward, and you might find that it’s easier to get motivated to get your butt in gear.
If you’re running out of ideas on how to reward yourself for meeting your goals (in which case it means you’re being consistent with your good habits–bravo! ), don’t fret. If you find that something in particular is working well, it’s okay to stick to that as a reward.
Perhaps you find that the sequence of going to the gym, then taking a break to work on your personal art project is becoming a positive routine that you’d like to stick to. Maybe you find that taking a bubble bath after a hard workout is a great incentive to both get active and take the time to pamper yourself. Whatever works, stick to that as well.
Do you enforce a type of rewards system for good fitness habits? If so, what kinds of rewards do you gift yourself with after meeting your goals? Feel free to share with us and hesitate to enjoy fitness together.