With so many dieting fads and dieting plans out there, it's really tough to know what's actually involved in healthy eating. The more you research, the less clear it becomes. Even more questions seem to pop up; Is sugar bad? What carbs are ok? Is there a way to lose weight without dieting?
Don't worry, the way to eat healthier is actually pretty simple and straight forward. It involves eating mostly fresh, whole foods, most of the time. Of course you can get more specific than this but if what you're looking for is balance or a way of eating you can maintain long term, that is all you have to remember.
Now there are small things you can do to be EVEN healthier. I call these hacks because they're so simple yet effective that they can feel almost like "cheating" to get ahead in your wellness. (This is the good kind of food cheating though, right?)
If you consistently follow the 10 healthier eating hacks below, you'll get ahead without having to track, count or even give up much!
Skip foods with sugar or salt as the first three ingredients on the label (beware of other names for these as well such as x, y.) Ingredients are listed in order of % content so if those are within the first three ingredients...you're getting a whole lot calories without a whole lot of nutrients.
By reducing sodium, you will immediately start reducing bloating and improve your overall digestion, not to mention the long term benefit to your heart, lungs and kidneys. The recommended maximum daily intake of salt is 1 tsp per day. I know how crazy that sounds. If you look at the packaging or many foods, you'll see that you easily exceed that amount with just a meal or two each day. The solution is to buy whole foods as much as possible AND replace table salt with other seasonings. Onion powder and garlic powder are great options as they give that same umami flavour that we love from salt.
I really don't believe in the 80/20 rule for wellness BUT it is definitely a helpful measure when it comes to liquifying your food. As you may already know, you're likely to consume more calories when your food is in liquid form vs. solid. (You probably wouldn't eat 1 banana, 2 apples, 1 cup of milk, 1 handful of spinach, etc. in one sitting but you could easily drink all of it.)
Fruit is extremely healthy but it can also contain a significant amount of sugar. Sugar is not bad, however, sugar in excess is a problem. You can control how much sugar you have in your smoothies by reducing how much fruit you put into them. By putting in more veggies, you'll be able to find a better balance.
Technically, this is a drinking not eating hack BUT by having a full glass of water with every meal you'll accomplish a few things: hydrate, avoid empty calories from sugary drinks and eat less overall. Having a glass of water with each meal will also force you to slow down and pace your meal better, allowing your body more time to digest your food and signal to your brain that you've had enough so that you don't overeat.
Piggybacking off of the last health hack, drinking water BEFORE you eat is a great way to regulate food intake and indigestion. Having water before a meal will help you determine how hungry you genuinely are - or whether you're just experiencing a craving. Additionally, you're more likely to eat less if you've fully hydrated before starting a meal.
If you've ever tried going on a no-oil diet before, you'd quickly realize just how much oil we put on everything - from cooking to salads. The biggest usage is usually when baking or sautéing food. That's why a great hack to reducing your oil usage is to use spray bottles. Now, you don't have to get the controversial expeller kind, you can easily buy a separate spray bottle and pour your oil into it.
It's common to cook with aluminium foil as you avoid messy clean-ups. The problem with foil, like many baking trays, is that you need to grease them. This can add unnecessary oil to your diet (even when using the spray bottle.) A great way around this is to use a roasting mat for many foods such as veggies. Bonus? It's reusable, making it a more eco-friendly alternative.
For every meal you make, have a container nearby to put extra food in IMMEDIATELY. This accomplishes two things: 1) you get an extra meal for later in the day or the next day - yay for meal prep! 2) you will feel less compelled to finish everything. This way your portion sizes will be much more reasonable!
Cutting down/out dairy is a quick way to remove much of the sugar and sodium found in your daily diet. You might not think much about the cheese you sprinkle on your salad or add to your eggs but it all adds up in a big way. Have a look at the package next time you're in the store and you'll see what I mean! Additionally, modern methods of production used for dairy products can cause bloating and indigestion for many people. That means that reducing dairy could not only make you look lighter but also feel lighter.
Seeds are the powerhouses of nutrients. You can get complex carbs, protein and healthy fats just from these babies. The best part? Seeds are so tiny and require no cooking or prep so all you have to do is add them to your favorite meals. This is an easy hack to get more nutrients in your day without having to think about it much!
Are you ready to get fitter and healthier but short on time and need some extra support? The Rio Project could be a fit! If you're prepared to commit to training regularly, eating healthier food and building stronger habits, YOU will see change unlike what you've done before. There is no dieting, calorie counting, high impact exercises or running, just smart choices that add up. Each Rio Project includes:
You ready to finally get stronger, fitter and healthier on your own terms? Learn more about the Rio Project here. Note: Project classes are limited in size as there is A LOT of individual attention. If the next Project is full, just get in touch so that you can learn quickly about the next one: email@example.com
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