We all promise ourselves we’ll try and eat better. We’ll cut out the fast food–which we know is horrible for us–cook more at home, and try to watch our calories. Of course, it’s never that easy. We’re busy, and we tend to just grab what we’re used to eating when we’re at the grocery store. As they say, old habits die hard. Check out these simple tricks to eat healthier and get a jump start on your well being.
If you start small, you’ll find yourself eating better in no time. Just follow some of these simple tricks and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, thinner you in no time!
1. Change the Way You Snack
Salty, sugary foods are pretty bad for us. We know that. Instead of snacking on candy bars or wrapping up your meals with ice cream or cake, try this tip for introducing more good foods into your habit, while still having the ability to snack. If you replace all the ultra-processed foods in your fridge and pantry with some of the items below, you’ll find that you’re eating healthy in no time–if only because these are the treats you’ll reach for when you need a nibble.
- Replace salty chips and crackers with low-salt or unsalted nuts. Nuts have lots of protein and healthy fats and work great for snacking. Mixed nut blends often include dried fruits for a bit of sweetness without all the calories, sugar, and salt that help pad your waistline.
- Think of eating yogurt for dessert. Like ice cream, yogurt is sweet, but unlike ice cream it doesn’t have nearly the salt, fat, and sugar. Get a Greek vanilla or plain yogurt and mix in your favorite berries for a delectable treat that’s low in fat and high in fiber and nutrients.
- Fruits and veggies are your best friends! Replace candy bars and other fatty foods with the fruits and vegetables you love( carrot sticks, broccoli, apples, oranges, peaches, etc.). This is probably the hardest habit to break early on, because our bodies become addicted to all that salt and sugar. But if you can go a week or two snacking on fruits and vegetables, you’ll suddenly realize that sugar snap peas didn’t get their name on accident. And an apple will satisfy your sweet tooth as well as any candy bar ever has.
2. Use More Olive Oil
A lot of us still cook with butter. Yes, some recipes can’t survive without it, but you’d be surprised how many can. Start looking for recipes that call for olive oil or other neutral oils such as canola and only use what you need. These oils work especially well in the pan–so don’t bread and bake that chicken, cook it with a splash of olive oil for a healthy meal that has far fewer calories than something cooked with butter.
3. Eat Less (especially meat)
Do you know it can take 30 minutes for the stomach to send a signal to the brain that it’s full? By that time most of us have already finished eating way too much food over the entire course of the meal. Start lowering your portions–and begin with the meat. Most of us only need about 4 oz. of meat per meal. That’s about half a chicken breast, New York steak, etc. Try cooking one chicken breast for two, or saving half of the cooked breast for a pasta sauce the next night.
By cutting down on meat, you do your body huge favors in terms of future heart disease, cholesterol, and energy. While you cut down on meat, load up your plate with leafy greens, mixed vegetables, and other healthy sides. Always buy frozen or fresh produce. Canned produce includes salts, preservatives, and other ingredients that make them much less healthy. Then season your vegetables with salt and pepper or get creative with other spices in your rack to find ways to liven up your meals without having to add butter or other unhealthy ingredients.
4. Switch to Whole Grains
Now this one is tough, and you’ve heard it again and again, but if you start switching to whole grains–and I’m talking in everything–then you’ll get a lot more from your carbs without wasting any of them (which often leads to fat). Buy whole grain bread, whole grain rice, whole grain pastas. Once you make the switch, you’ll notice that you have loads more energy and can still eat healthier carbs without a lot of pesky weight gain.
5. Drink More Water
This one is another super simple change that’s hard to implement. Juice and soda really doesn’t do much for us. Coffee has some health benefits, but to keep from becoming dehydrated, you’ll definitely want to drink even more water.
It’s really as simple as this: water doesn’t have any calories. Juice and soda have plenty. Even if you drink diet soda, recent research has shown that it still stimulates the body into thinking sugar has just been introduced to your body, which has been shown to lead to diabetes. The best way to lose weight fast and start improving your health is simple: drink more water. Whether you’re eating out or staying in, drinking water will help get you back in shape fast.
And those are just a few tips on subtle changes that can make a world of difference for your health. As with any change to your regimen, you’ll want to introduce these slowly. And it’s OK to cheat every now and then with a glass of juice or a candy bar. The goal is to create better habits by slowly introducing them in ways that make it hard to cheat. So get rid of all those salty snacks and stock up on fruits and veggies next time you visit the store. You’ll find that at just about every meal you eat healthier in no time!