Nutrition tips for counselors and other helping professionals
As helping professionals, every day we work with individuals seeking our advice. We try to show them the importance of leading a healthy life through emotional, mental, and physical well-being. We also know the positive effects that healthy nutrition and regular exercise can have on one’s emotional and mental health. Often times however, we forget to listen to our own advice, and making good choices for our physical health goes right out the window. There is no doubt that helping professionals have a hectic schedule, with back to back appointments, phone calls, and meetings, it can leave little time to concentrate on good nutrition and regular exercise. Tending to our own physical health will not only result in a positive increase in how we feel, but it will also set a positive example for our clients. Even with a busy schedule, there are some easy tips you can follow to incorporate healthy nutrition and exercise back into your life.
Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. It kick starts your metabolism and gives your body fuel for the day. Don’t have time to make breakfast? Don’t worry; there are several healthy options that require little preparation. Breakfast items such as scrambled egg whites with salsa, low-fat yogurt with granola, trim cottage cheese with fruit, and protein/fruit smoothies are all great options that take less than 5 minutes to prepare. Need to eat on the go? Take your protein shake to go, or wrap whole wheat toast with almond butter in a napkin and go. Another great option for breakfast on the go is a breakfast burrito made of egg whites, salsa, veggies, and a whole wheat tortilla. It can easily be eaten in the car on your way to work. Making healthy choices at the beginning of the day will set the tone for making healthy choices come lunch and dinner time. Say bye-bye to those deceitful little powdered donuts, and hello egg whites and spinach!
Choose healthy snacks
It may seem tempting, buying prepackaged or fast food items, especially when you may only have ten minutes in between meetings, but I’m here to tell you there are several options that are just as quick and better for you! A recent study was conducted in which I consumed 17 almonds and timed myself. The results were astounding, with the total time of consumption taking only 2.24 minutes (eating at a moderate pace), and a total caloric intake of only 200 calories. This highly scientific study proves that healthy and quick snacks do exist. Some other great options for healthy and convenient foods are fresh fruits, pre-cut vegetables, whole wheat bagels, any raw and unsalted seeds/nuts, pre-made salads, kale chips, etc…the possibilities are endless. If a larger meal on the go is what you desire, kick the double bacon cheeseburger for a sub sandwich packed with vegetables, hold the mayo. There are a lot of great alternatives to all of the unhealthy fast food and prepackaged items out there.
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine
Even if you don’t have time to make it to the gym every day, you can still incorporate exercise into your daily routine. How is this possible you ask? Here is how: Bike to work, do yoga/pilates in your office on your lunch break, go for a walk while you eat your lunch or while on a conference call, take the stairs instead of the elevator to your 7th story office. Heck, you could even jump rope your way to the restroom. I don’t recommend the latter, but I think you get my point. Exercise can be incorporated throughout your day to day activities.
As helping professionals, we should lead by example, and embody a healthy individual. Being a healthy individual not only includes emotional and mental health, but physical health as well since it greatly impacts the others. By taking care of all aspects of your health, you can have a greater impact on those you are working with.