Sometimes it’s the little things that count. Try these simple but clever hacks to help you lose weight and feel healthier, with relatively little effort.
1. Plan ahead
We eat whatever’s available when we’re hungry, and often what’s available isn’t a healthy option. Keep healthy, non-perishable food in your bag, your car, your desk drawer at work and anywhere else you’re likely to get hungry.
Going out for the day to a place with abundant junk food? Prepare your favorite healthy lunch and take it with you.
2. Swap it out
When it comes to nutrition, often there’s a healthier alternative that tastes just as good. You just need to get used to it. Try reaching for the trail mix instead of the potato chips, using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, swapping olive oil and vinegar for a creamy salad dressing and treating yourself to frozen yogurt rather than ice cream.
3. Go nutrient dense
You can improve your health by eating nutrient dense foods that are high in nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) but low in calories. According to Authority Nutrition, nutrient dense food include salmon, blueberries, kale and even dark chocolate.
4. Drop the diet drinks
Chemical packed diet drinks are considered a very unhealthy option by many nutritionists. Despite their lack of calories, diet drinks make you fat. Experts suggest the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks may interfere with your metabolism and trick the body into thinking it’s getting sugar, causing it to pump out insulin. This may be why some research has linked diet drinks to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
5. Make water your go-to drink
Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your health and lower your overall calorie intake. If you find it boring, add a slice of lemon or lime and give yourself time to get used to it. If you usually drink sodas and juices it will take a while to stop craving the sugar.
6. Make ‘on the side’ your default
Most of us overdo sauces, dressings and ‘extras’ like butter and sour cream. Always ask for it on the side and use as little as you need to enhance the taste of your food.
7. Go plant based
My favorite piece of nutritional advice is from Michael Pollan:
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
You don’t have to go vegan, or even vegetarian, but by including lots of plants in your diet, you’re keeping your body full of nutrients and limiting unhealthy fats and sugars. The other parts of this snippet of advice are simple too. Eat food (not chemicals and additives) and not too much of it (just stick to sensible portion sizes).
8. Replace food (with something better)
If you and your friends always meet for a meal, or a coffee (usually accompanied by a donut or three) consider mixing it up. Meet at the beach to go surfing, at a club to go dancing, or at an art gallery to look at beautiful paintings.
9. Change your habits
Getting healthy can be as simple as replacing an unhealthy habit with a healthy one. Replace vegging out in front of the TV after dinner with an evening walk, or lunch at your desk with a stroll around a nearby mall. Small changes add up over time.
10. Invest in a tracking tool
Consider getting a tracking device, such as a Fitbit, that monitors your daily activity. They can be surprisingly motivating. You’ll find you push yourself to walk extra steps each day or do more exercise, just to see your numbers going up.
11. Find a hobby you truly love
If it’s an active hobby, or one that gets you out in the fresh air, that’s great, but according to an article in Forbes, any hobby can be good for your physical and mental health.
These hacks will help you feel healthier in no time, as long as you’re consistent. No strict diet or punishing gym regime needed.