9 Sneaky Little Ways To Get Healthier — No Matter How Much You Work

Written by Erin Oprea

During the lunch hour, many people resort to going to the nearest fast-food joint for a quick meal. This usually leads to carb- or salt-heavy foods that can make you feel sleepy or bloated. Then the rest of the day drags on and you're more likely to hit an energy slump mid-afternoon. You know what I'm talking about. Well, it’s time to drastically change how you approach your lunch hour.

First, you need to get into the routine of packing healthy, energy-filled foods — and combining that with a quick, lunchtime workout. Below are some easy lunch suggestions to get you started and three exercises that require no equipment and hardly any space.

1. Here are a few healthy lunch options that are easy to put together the night before:

  • Whole wheat tortillas: Fill them with hummus and avocado.
  • Rice paper: This is a great alternative to tortillas and can be filled with delicious vegetables.
  • Whole wheat bread (Ezekiel bread is a great option): Spread some almond butter on the slices.
  • Low-sugar Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Veggies dipped in hummus
  • An apple with low-sodium string cheese

Be sure to drink water during lunch as well. Unsweetened iced tea or adding fruit to your water are also healthy options.

Keep these words in mind when shopping for your lunch: low-sodium, low-sugar, and reduced carbs. Also, if you’re going into work with a packed lunch, don’t put it in a boring brown bag. Buy yourself a really nice lunch box and advertise your healthiness!

2. Here is a quick list of workouts you can fit into your lunch hour:

These are all designed to get your heart rate up and provide you with strength training within 30 minutes. Walking for your warm-up is a great way to start; however, your new goal is to get to the point of jogging for the whole warm-up/cool-down period.

  • Walk/jog around perimeter of building for 10 minutes
  • 30 seconds of squats
  • 30 seconds of push-ups (on knees if needed)
  • 30 seconds reverse lunge on left leg
  • 30 seconds reverse lunge on right leg
  • 30 seconds triceps dips on a chair/curb/bench/picnic table
  • 1 minute plank on hands
  • 30 seconds side plank on right elbow
  • 30 seconds side plank on left elbow
  • Rest briefly and repeat two more times without initial jog, hydrating throughout
  • 5-minute cool down, slow jog around the building

Here is another option:

  • Walk/jog for 10 minutes
  • 1 minute of jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds of squat and jumps
  • 1 minute of sit-ups
  • 30 seconds of jumping lunges
  • 1 minute plank on hands
  • 30 seconds of high knees
  • 1 minute of mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds of push-ups (on knees if needed)
  • Repeat once without initial warm-up
  • 5-minute cool-down, slow jog around building

Or if you bring your jump rope …

  • Jump rope for 2 minutes
  • 1 minute of squats
  • Jump rope for 2 minutes
  • 1 minute of push-ups (on knees if necessary)
  • Fast jog for 2 minutes
  • 1 minute of bicycle crunches
  • Fast jog for 2 minutes
  • 1 minute of lateral lunges (30 seconds each side)
  • 5-minute cool-down

This isn't an all-or-nothing proposal. If all you can manage is a quick 10-minute walk around the block and a few of these moves — that's okay! Work up to one of these full workouts over time. Try to get a co-worker to join so you can motivate each other. Remember to hydrate before and after your workout — no matter how long it is!

If you're looking for other short workouts you can do anywhere, try these:

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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