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3 Crucial Tips to Make a Healthier Grocery List (That Works Every Time)

Unhealthy foods just seem to be everywhere, from your favorite hawker stalls, to even right next to the health foods section at your nearest supermarket in Singapore. And with a hectic schedule that leaves you drained, they can be even more tempting to buy.

This is the challenge of creating a healthier grocery list, which can be especially difficult if you’re just starting out on your commitment to a proper balanced diet. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult.

In fact, there are a few tips you can use to get you started on buying healthier groceries:

  1. Have realistic expectations on the foods that you’ll actually eat

Even though you want to try out lots of different foods when you’re just starting out, there’s a good chance you won’t like some of them. The last thing you want in your fridge is something that you don’t like, simply sitting there until it spoils.

Trying out just a few new foods each time you go grocery shopping is a great way for you to introduce yourself to the vegetables and fruits you’ll like.

If you’ve mostly stuck to processed foods during every grocery trip and need a drastic shift on what you buy, think of the healthy foods you’re most familiar with instead of the ones you’ve simply heard about. 

  • Keep your list organized

Your grocery list is your best friend that keeps you from mindlessly putting items in your cart, and even keeps each trip stress-free.

There are many ways you can keep it organized. For instance, you can do so depending on the way the groceries section of your nearest supermarket is laid out. Another way to organize your list is by breaking it down into categories.

These categories can be based around food types, such as vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, or even condiments and beverages.

If you’re really having trouble avoiding the sweets that you’re used to having, you can also avoid leaving any space for these desserts on your list and prioritize the fruits and vegetables first.

  • Stick to the plan

Now that you have your grocery list, stick to it! It’s there for a reason, and it’s to keep you from having to spend impulsively based on discounts, promos, and advertisements in the supermarket.

If you still find yourself getting sidetracked (deep discounts and eye-catching displays can be quite hard to pass up), ask yourself if the item fits into your meal plan. If it doesn’t, move on.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of ways to plan your grocery shopping to include both healthy foods and even the occasional dessert if you fancy yourself a sweet tooth. But by going into the supermarket or grocery store with a clear purpose and intention, you’ll find that shopping for your meal plans doesn’t have to be too time-consuming or confusing.

Why You Should Practice Being More Mindful (and How it Can Help You)

In a world that’s now more connected than ever, it can be too easy to lose yourself and simply go through most of your life on autopilot.

When this happens, your attention is absorbed. Your mind is wandering, you’re not really “present” in that moment, and as a result, you’re unable to appreciate the full beauty of what life has to offer.

You can easily end up becoming more anxious and stressed when doing this in the long run. However, there’s good news – you can start taking control by practicing mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply “taking the steering wheel” of your attention. It’s the exact opposite of being on autopilot, where instead of simply being passive, you’re aware of your thoughts and feelings, as well as what’s going on around you.

Being mindful also has the following benefits:

  • It reduces negative and destructive emotions,
  • It helps you sleep better and improve your sense of well-being; and
  • It makes you less compulsive and less likely to form and addiction.

With mindfulness, you not only hold your attention consciously and more immersed, but you also observe and pay attention to your own experiences without judging or labeling them in any way. This gives you more freedom and opens up more options for you.

Mind as Muscle

Your attention is one of your most valuable assets. But when there’s no end to attention grabbers, you need to train your mind as a muscle to actively focus only on the things that matter right away.

The good news is it doesn’t take a lot to start training your mind to take more control of your daily experiences more fully, instead of simply watching them go by like a passive observer.

In fact, here are a few tips you can take to start being more mindful:

  • Write down the things you’re thankful for. Focusing on the positives instead of the negatives trains you to look for positive sides and solutions in the long term.
  • Take a few deep breaths. Concentrating on your breath sounds easy enough, but it can get really tricky if there’s something you can’t get out of your head. However, it does help you focus on the here and now.
  • Take ten minutes to do nothing. Take the first few minutes when you wake up in the morning to not do anything, but simply sit on the edge of the bed and be there in the present.

Conclusion

It’s true that you can’t change every situation to be in your favor. If you find yourself somehow struggling to get anything done, or simply feel burnt out and feel passive, being on autopilot sounds easy enough, and mindfulness difficult.

Consciously being more aware of yourself and what’s around you will take time and practice, but when you put in the effort to take control of your own life, the result will always leave you happier and change the way you see the world.

5 Great Desk Ideas to Install for Your Cozy Space at Home

Even though you do your work at your office, that doesn’t mean you won’t be needing a place to work at home, whether it’s scanning emails, paying bills, or simply just surfing the internet or reading books.

And while you don’t have enough room for an office, you definitely have enough room for at least a small desk that you can squeeze into your home in a clever way.

Here are seven great small desk ideas for your equally small HDB flat in Singapore:

1. The Floating Window Desk

Get the most out of your natural light by turning your windowsill into a functional workspace with enough room below for you to essentially store whatever you think you’ll need in an emergency.

Having a wall-mounted desk not just simple to install, but also a great space-saver that will go perfectly with any look or theme you want to achieve for your home.

2. The DIY Desk Riser

If you’re a fan of standing desks and a flair for DIY projects, you can turn a thick wooden board and pipe into a standing desk by using pipe cutter, epoxy, and a Philips head screwdriver.

The best part about a DIY project is that you can use the materials of your choice to make the design that you want in a way where you have absolute control over the process.

3. The Re-purposed Coffee Table

Do you happen to have a small coffee or side table lying around that no one uses anymore but can’t seem to throw away?

If the answer to this is “yes”, and you just happen to be in need of a table to work from, then you’re in luck. Put that small table to good use instead and make it your tiny new workstation.

4. The Closet Desk

The biggest issue concerning desks is how they can easily take up space with their various compartments. To answer that, you can incorporate drawer and table into one design by turning an otherwise ordinary closet into a viable workstation.

You can even modify a wall-mounted shelf to have a specific compartment with just the right size for a working desk.

5. The Retracting Desk

If you’re really concerned about making the most out of your space, you can choose to forgo the table entirely and simply have the board bolted to your wall, along with a hinge that lets you lower and raise it as needed.

Aside from just having a retractable desk, you can also utilize the bottom of the board as décor or as a functional board for Post-it notes.

(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

How to Label Your Circuit Breakers Properly

If you’re having trouble working your circuit panels at home, it might be because they’re not labeled properly and can cause confusion as a result.

This can make resetting tripped breakers difficult, since you would have to spend more time figuring out which one to reset instead. To keep this from happening, creating your own directory and labeling your breakers properly will make everything much more convenient and even save you time in case of an emergency.

Mapping Out Your Circuit Breaker

If you have specific appliances at home that require a lot of electricity, such as dryers and washing machines, there’s a good chance they’re already labeled for convenience.

However, if your circuit breaker panel isn’t already labeled (or labeled properly), you can start right now by switching them off one at a time. If you switch off a breaker and find a particular appliance that won’t turn on, you have found its dedicated circuit.

Another way to do this is by looking at the numbers printer on the circuit toggle lever, as these numbers are the usual ampere ratings for different appliances and devices.

When checking outlets, be sure to use a non-contact voltage tester and stick each probe into each outlet slot. If the tester lights up, then it means that there is still an electric current in the outlet.

Making Your Labels Understandable

Avoid using nicknames! Using nicknames only you or those living in the unit as you can understand, such as your roommates and family, will make it difficult for other people to know which breaker controls which circuit.

Instead of using vague labels, such as “(X)’s Room”, use ones that are more easily understood, such as “Master Bedroom”, or “Kitchen”.

Keeping it Permanent

To make sure that that no one gets confused over which breaker controls which circuit at home, label your panel with something clear and permanent.

It’s definitely a bad idea to use a pencil, but you can use a pen instead or even a permanent marker or a felt-tip pen.

If you feel that your handwriting isn’t legible enough, you can choose to have your labels printed instead, or use a dedicated label marker to keep your labels neat and as legible as possible.

Keeping the Circuit Directory

It’s not enough to just label your circuit panel and leave it at that. You also need to write everything down on a sheet of paper or a notebook and keep it somewhere dry or safe where it won’t be lost. This will be your “back-up” copy that you can use in case of emergencies.

5 Things to Avoid if You Don’t Want to be the Annoying Tourist

Anybody who has ever travelled, locally or abroad, has probably committed at least one of these travel sins. If, however, you are travelling for the first time, keep these tips in mind and make sure to avoid them, so you won’t be the annoying one of the bunch.

  1. Insensitive to Cultural Practices

The saying “When in Rome, do as Romans do” is true not just in Rome but to every place you visit. It is always important to be sensitive to the traditions and cultural practices of the place you are visiting. For example, cherry blossoms in Japan are treated preciously, and these trees bloom for only a short while before the flowers fall. The last thing you would want to do is to speed up the falling by shaking the tree just to get the perfect Instagram-worthy photo.

  • Noisy Traveler

We get it, it’s exciting to be in a new place for the first time, especially when you’re travelling with friends. But be considerate especially when you’re at the airport or in the airplane. While you and your squad are having the best time of your lives, others would want to take advantage of the flight to get some shut eye.

  • Being Glued to Devices

What is the point of taking a break and traveling with your family, friends or your partner if you are just going to be on your phone instead of living in the moment? There is a lot more to enjoy in your destination than just creating the perfect photo. Besides, too much picture-taking can be a safety hazard—you might accidentally fall somewhere for taking selfies or your phone gets robbed from you. 

  • Inappropriate Dressing

Show the locals some respect, especially when you are visiting sacred places, like temples and churches. Try not to justify your freedom of self-expression through the way you dress when you are supposed to be well-covered up. Reserve your short shorts, crop tops and flip flops for the beach.

  • Being Late on Group Tours

If you are going on a group tour, remember that those people who will be on the same group paid the same amount of money as you, and most likely they want to do everything stated in the itinerary. When your guide tells you to return to the bus after an hour, be respectful to your fellow members and return to your group on time. If you wish to take your time in every destination, make your own itinerary and tour the place privately.

Hopefully, this list is just a laughing matter to most of you and that you already know these must-avoid things when travelling. But if it’s your first time to travel, keep these tips in mind to avoid being the annoying tourist.

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