Being “healthy” doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to just eating salads and avoiding ice cream forever. In fact, that’s the exact opposite of what you should do. Healthy eating is all about balance. It’s about finding ways to incorporate nutrient-dense foods in your diet while also still enjoying the foods that you love. Yet even though this sounds simple, it can seem daunting at first. Which is why we put together a list of healthy eating hacks to get you started.
By following these healthy eating hacks, you’ll be able to effortlessly change the way you eat on a daily basis. You’ll feel full, satisfied, and even be able to drop a few pounds. The key is to have a plan. If you plan out all kinds of healthy meals to eat during the week, you’ll easily see success. So here are a few healthy eating hacks to get you going, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
Incorporate fruits or veggies in every meal.
An easy way to boost the nutrition (and fiber) of any of your meals is by incorporating fruit or vegetables. Even a simple side salad with a bowl of pasta or berries topped on your morning yogurt will make a huge difference for your health. You could also add your fruits and veggies into some of your favorite meals—like scrambling eggs with some spinach, or adding warmed apples on top of grilled pork chops.
If you’re not sure which fruit or vegetable to pick, avocados are a great option to fall back on. Not only are they the best food to eat to feel full, but they are stuffed with dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats. This means after eating avocado you’ll feel full for a longer period of time after your meal! Here are 8 Avocado Health Benefits That Prove It’s a Perfect Weight Loss Food.
Make swaps with high-fiber foods.
Speaking of fiber, the best thing you can do for your body is incorporating more fiber into your diet. Fiber helps with your overall digestion, helps to ward off autoimmune disease, and can even assist in weight loss. An easy way to add more fiber to your diet is by doing a few simple swaps. Swap out white sandwich bread with slices of sprouted whole-grain bread. Reach for whole-wheat pasta, tortillas, and even pizza crust. And you can even swap out some of those sugary cereals with cereal that’s rich in fiber! Here are 20 Different Ways to Eat 28 Grams of Fiber a Day.
Potatoes are a great option.
If you’re questioning another side to have with dinner, reach for potatoes. Not only are they low in calories and high in fiber, potassium, and even protein, but they also are considered the best appetite suppressant! According to the Satiety Index of Common Foods, potatoes have the highest satiety levels compared to any other foods. It leaves you feeling three times as full compared to a slice of bread!
Surround your meal with “healthy friends”.
Craving a cheeseburger? Chicken nuggets? There’s nothing wrong with incorporating your favorite foods into your diet. An easy way to enjoy them and still keep your meals healthy is to surround your meal with “healthy friends”. This concept comes from Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, who recommends adding a few healthy items to your meal to round it out and keep you feeling full. Incorporating fruits and vegetables is an easy way to do this. Or if you want a side of fries, why not make a big chicken salad the main meal to pair with it?
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
In his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Micahel Pollan, a journalist and professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, recommends for readers to “stay out of the middle of the supermarket” and to “shop on the perimeter of the store.” If you think about it, the perimeter of practically every grocery store has those fresh foods like produce, meats, and even dairy products. If you’re choosing foods from these sections, your meals will likely be healthier because of it. Speaking of the store, here are 6 Recent Changes at the Grocery Store You Need to Know About.
Plan to have some snacks.
Who doesn’t love to snack? Being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t snack anymore. You just have to be smart about it! Plan for those moments that you’re going to want to snack by picking out a few of your favorite healthy snacks. Popcorn, bowls of fruit, nuts, yogurt, cheese sticks, even hard-boiled eggs, are all great options for snacks you can prep. There’s also a myriad of healthy snacks you can buy at the store like from our list of 50 Best Healthy Snacks to Buy for Weight Loss.
Stock your freezer with healthy foods.
You’ll likely have days where you don’t feel like cooking, and we don’t blame you! After a long, hard day, taking time to cook in the kitchen can feel utterly exhausting. Plan ahead for those moments and stock your freezer with some healthy frozen meals. You could even stock up on frozen veggies that can steam right in the microwave for easy sides as well!
Eat dessert. Yes, really.
It’s okay to have a sweet tooth. By trying to ward off our cravings for something sweet, it’s likely we will indulge in food elsewhere—causing our calorie counts for the day to go through the roof. Instead, plan on having a dessert, and choose something you really love. Our list of healthy dessert recipes is a great place to start because they are pretty low in calories and sugars! Or you could even stock up on a few of these desserts under 150 calories to satisfy your sweet tooth without totally overdoing it.
Plus, by giving your body a little something it craves—like chocolate, yum!—you’ll feel satisfied and even more prepared to have a successful day of eating ahead.