Refrigerator full of healthy food with text overlay: 8 Ways to Make Healthy Behaviors Convenient

8 Ways To Make Healthy Behaviors Convenient

“I start out great and am able to maintain my healthy behaviors for awhile, but then life gets in the way. Before long, I find myself making excuses not to work out or I start going through the drive-thru on the way home from work, and before long, I give up completely.” Does this sound like you? Why is it so hard to form healthy behaviors that ‘stick’? One reason is that we depend too much on motivation. If we really want to make lasting change, we need to make healthy behaviors convenient.

That way, we don’t have to depend on motivation, which can wax and wane. We can set up our environment to make healthy behaviors easier and encourage us to keep going.

In the post What Is Environmental Wellness we talked about ways to make our environments support our health and wellbeing. When we talk about environment in this context, we’re not just talking about our surroundings. We’re also talking about the ‘systems’ we put into place to help us.

Making Healthy Behaviors More Convenient

1. Plan your meals.

Meal planning isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it’s the one thing that makes the most difference for my family when it comes to healthful eating, so I do it. Of course, making it easy to do is key to actually sitting down and doing it, so I use a weekly fill-in-the-box meal planning worksheet.

Once the meal plan is done, it’s easy to make your shopping list. Just put anything you need for all the meals on your plan, and your list is practically done. All you have to do is add the ‘extras’ like cleaning products, paper goods, etc.

2. Organize your pantry and refrigerator.

When you’re looking for something healthy to eat, how easy is to find something in your fridge or pantry? If everything is scattered all over the place or tucked out of sight, it may not get used before it goes bad. A little organization goes a long way.

As I mentioned in the post I Tried Hello Fresh, I really loved being able to pull the bag of ingredients out of the fridge and having everything I needed for the meal I was making. I decided to adopt that idea and now when I get home from the grocery store I put the ingredients for each dinner meal in its own bin. Then I just put a Post-It Note on the bin with the name of the meal. All I have to do is pull out the bin and I have all my ingredients right there.

Fruits and vegetables in refrigerator with text overlay: "If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food." ~Errick McAdams

3. Make healthy foods readily available.

When you’re hungry, what’s the first thing you’re going to grab? Chances are, it’s the thing that’s going to take the least work and/or time to prepare. We can make it easier to eat those foods that are going to support our wellness goals by making them the ones that are most convenient.

For instance, keeping cut-up veggies and some hummus, fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts, and other nutritious foods right up front where you’re most likely to see them can help you grab those instead of something like a candy bar or chips.

Another thing I do with my bins is to have a ‘snack’ bin that has the cut-up veggies and hummus in it in small containers so I can just pull it out and have my snack ready in about two minutes.

It can be helpful to prepare any salad greens you buy as soon as you get home from the grocery store also. Because my energy levels aren’t always the greatest due to fibromyalgia, I just wait until I make our first salad. When I get ready to make our salads, I just cut up all the lettuce that we bought, wash it and give it a spin in the salad spinner. Once it’s ready, I put it in gallon Zip-Loc bags with a paper towel and put it in the produce drawer.

This usually keeps it fresh for the whole week, and it makes it really easy to make a salad. I already have the other cut-up veggies in the snack bin, so I can just grab everything and toss it together quickly.

4. Cook ‘extras’ of healthy foods.

When you’re cooking, it’s easy to just cook a little extra and store the rest to use later. Because we eat so much chicken, quite often I’ll cook a value-sized package of chicken breasts in the crockpot and use them for several meals over the next few days. That makes it easy to have a protein for salads or to use for healthy grain bowls, rice bowls, etc. You can also make extra whole grains like brown rice or quinoa and freeze for later.

5. Keep workout gear right where you’ll see it.

Whether it’s laying your workout clothes out the night before or putting your sneakers in front of the door, having your gear right where you’ll see it will remind you of the exercise routine you’re trying to establish.

Another thing that can be helpful is to strategically place exercise equipment where not only will you see it often, you can just pick it up and use it for a couple of quick exercises. It doesn’t have to be an eyesore – you can just tuck it in a basket in the corner to keep your room from looking messy.

We have an actual workout room downstairs, but I keep a basket with my yoga mats and props right in the family room where I spend the most time. I also have my exercise videos right in my TV cabinet. It’s a great reminder that I want to exercise and an easy way to get a quick workout done.

6. Schedule your workouts, quiet time, or meditation time.

Treat your workout, quiet time, meditation time like you’d treat a business meeting or doctor’s appointment – put it on your calendar. Making an appointment with ourselves is key to ensuring we follow through with our intentions.

7. Plan to take a ‘movement break’ every hour.

We spend a LOT of time sitting these days – we sit at the computer, we sit during meetings, we sit as we watch TV in the evenings…. We can help fight the effects of too much sitting by getting up once an hour to move around a little. Whether it’s going out for a quick walk, doing a couple of squats or stretches, or just walking around the office for a few minutes, moving every hour can help us get more movement into our day.

For more small ways to get more movement into your day, check out 21 Small Ways to Move More.

8. If you travel, book a hotel with a workout room or carry a ‘mobile gym’ with you.

It’s really easy to throw a couple of resistance bands into your suitcase. They don’t weigh much or take up much room, but they can help you get some exercise in while you’re away. Toss these and a list of bodyweight exercises in your bag and you’re good to go.

These are just a few of the ways we can set ourselves up for success when it comes to healthy behaviors. There are many things we can do to make our environment support our wellness goals. We just have to find the things that are going to work for each of us.

This week, let’s ask ourselves:

Teal background with white conversation bubble that reads, "What are some specific actions I can take this week to make my healthy behaviors more convenient?"

When we’re working toward our wellness goals, we can’t depend on motivation to keep us going. If we want to support a healthy lifestyle, we have to be in it for the long haul. Motivation will be high at some times and in the toilet at others. Finding ways to make our healthy behaviors convenient can keep us doing them even when we’re not feeling particularly motivated. This can be critical to developing healthy habits for life.

What are some of the things you do to make your healthy behaviors convenient and keep you going when your motivation wanes? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

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Refrigerator full of healthy food with text overlay: 8 Ways to Make Healthy Behaviors Convenient

21 comments

  1. We had a small “market” that carried mostly organics. It had a front that could open, which would have made things safer now. Sadly, a huge company bought the controlling interest, built but didn’t open 25 new stores, and dumped their stock. The market was bankrupt and closed. Virtually no supply of organics available. We have hopes that the farmer’s market in the adjoining county might be safe eventually. It is very crowded.

    1. Oh George, that’s such a shame! I’m sorry to hear your safe place to get organic food has closed. The fact that the buyers never even opened the stores adds insult to injury, doesn’t it? Do you guys have a Publix near you that delivers? I haven’t been to one since we left Florida, but it seems I remember that they used to carry organics foods. We’re very lucky; our Kroger here has a good selection of organic produce. Our farmer’s markets around here are just too crowded for me to feel safe going even though they’re outside. I hope you’re able to find a safe place to get the healthy foods you need my friend. I hope you and Sandi are staying safe and well. Blessings to you!

      1. ‘‘Twas Kroger what bought our market chain. Yes, Publix is unbeatable, which is the reason we have so many and so little of anything else. The Publix that we like is a bit smaller and has an awesome crew. The managers tell us they get all the organic they can, but like everything else supply is spotty. This store has fresh veggies and seems to be getting more. I’m not a fan of GMO “foods.”
        The nearby farmers market is wonderful but is racked a d stacked with people. Our local farmers market is re-opening tomorrow, and we are going to take a look. Already scouted out the obscure ♿️ parking spaces.

      2. Oh man, I hate to hear that! It’s disappointing to hear that a store chain that I like so much ended up costing you guys your market with nothing to replace it. Like you, I’m not a fan of GMO foods nor the pesticides they use on conventional produce. Of course, sometimes we can’t find organic, so we buy what we can. I hope you had a good experience with your farmer’s market and were able to get some good stuff.

      3. Sorry for the delay. My spine decided I’d been sitting on it too many years and rebelled. Ah, the joy of paraplegia! 😎 We didn’t get to the farmers market, but we did get some organic Florida fruit last week. Yea!

      4. I’m so sorry to hear your spine has been rebelling George. I was just thinking about you guys the other day and wondering how you were doing. I hope you’re doing better now, and that your spine will be more cooperative from here on out. Ooh, Florida fruit….. that sounds wonderful! That was one of the many great things about living down there. Blessings to you my friend!

      5. Thank you Terri. That means a lot. Something is sending signals that are getting messed up as they try to get through the roadblock on the spinal cord. I have a call in to the doctor! 😎Thank you again!

  2. These are great tips! I keep telling myself to get up and move around every hour and drink a glass of water. Then 2 hours will go by before I notice! I’m planning to set a timer on my phone as a reminder.

    1. Thanks so much Michelle! I know what you mean about the 2 hours going by before you notice….it happens to me too, especially when I’m working. Setting the timer on your phone sounds like a GREAT idea! Sending hugs your way sweet friend!

  3. I love your following hint Terri,
    “Because my energy levels aren’t always the greatest due to fibromyalgia, I just wait until I make our first salad. When I get ready to make our salads, I just cut up all the lettuce that we bought, wash it and give it a spin in the salad spinner. Once it’s ready, I put it in gallon Zip-Loc bags with a paper towel and put it in the produce drawer. This usually keeps it fresh for the whole week, and it makes it really easy to make a salad. I already have the other cut-up veggies in the snack bin, so I can just grab everything and toss it together quickly.” A great idea for my FM energy levels too!
    New year’s blessings my friend,
    Jennifer

    1. Thanks for sharing Jennifer! I’m so glad you found that tip useful! We have to find those little ‘work-arounds’ to make things easier, don’t we? I hope your new year is off to a great start sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

  4. Making healthy foods available is a great tip, something I tell my clients is to grow their own veg in whatever space they have. All you need are a few pots and you start all sorts.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Mark! Growing your own veggies is a fabulous tip! As you said, you can grow all sorts of things in pots if you don’t have garden space. Thanks for stopping by and for following. I look forward to getting to know you!

  5. I said it before and I’ll say it again, your timing is impeccable. I was just thinking about this topic. I was eating healthy for awhile because of my GERD condition and then the pandemic hit. I then started eating what’s conveniently there and not caring about how it will affect my condition. Now that it’s a new year, I’m getting back to my ways and trying to discipline myself more to eating healthy. Your suggestions are really on point!

    1. Thanks so much Mark! I’m so glad the timing worked out, and I’m glad you found these suggestions helpful. I just always think if we can find ways to make our healthy behaviors easier, we’re more likely to stick with them. I hope you and your family are staying safe and well my friend. Blessings to you!

  6. A mobile gym is a great idea if you’re out and about. I really do think there’s a lot to be said for convenience when it comes to healthy habits. Not just eating and exercise, but things like taking our medications and supplements too. If things are hard to get to, fiddly, annoying, easy to forget or time-consuming, we’re less likely to bother and we’re less motivated to do or use those things. Fab suggestions, Terri. xx

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Caz! You make such a great point about making EVERYTHING wellness-related easy, not just eating and exercising. You’re so right about those meds and supplements – I’m the world’s worst when it comes to remembering to take my supplements. I have to put them on my kitchen counter next to the coffee pot. I’m definitely not going to forget my morning coffee.😂 I hope you feeling as well as possible sweet friend. Sending hugs your way!

  7. You’re so right about keeping the workout gear where we’ll see it! I dress in it in the morning and then I feel obligated to exercise that day 🤣 Otherwise, I would feel terrible changing at the end of the day out of it, not having done any activity. I’m liking walks at the moment and bundle up as it’s cold out. Great tips here, Terri!

    1. Thanks so much Christy! That’s a great tip about going ahead and getting dressed in your workout gear first thing…. I’m glad you’re enjoying your walks. I had been walking up until the last week or so, but it’s too cold out there for me right now, so I’ve been doing other workouts instead. I hope you’re staying safe and well sweet friend!

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