I get excited about sharing easy ways to help us stay on track and eating healthy. I think you’re especially gonna love these because they will help you improve your meal and snack choices and just boost healthy eating habits and better nutrition all-around.
Some of these tips you might have heard of before, others will be completely new. At least I hope so.
When I was studying nutrition, this was one of the tips we were taught to share with our clients, and it is this: you will eat what you see.
Make it Readily Available…
I know it works for me because I get busy and when I do I become likely to just grab anything handy to snack on. For much of my life, this meant I made bad choices because they were convenient. I would grab a donut and a cup of coffee rush out the door.
These days I make it a habit to have healthy choices conveniently available for that “hungry, busy, on my way out the door” kind of gal that I am.
The thing is that this hack works equally well for people who want to gain weight, who want to lose weight, or for people who are just looking to make more wholesome food choices.
If you want to eat more fruits, keep them on the counter in clear sight…
For example, if you want to eat more fruits, keep it on the counter in clear sight and instead of just throwing an orange into your bag, instead peel it up or cut it, put it in a container, and set it on your desk to enjoy when hungry.
Make Healthy Foods “FAST” Foods by Having Them Prepared & Ready to Eat…
This rule works well for our spouse and children too. If we cut them up and put them in front of them, it will increase the chance that they’ll eat them.
Where you may have had a bag of chips in plain sight, swap them out for a bowl of healthy nuts.
Three Simple, Healthy Snacks to Have on Hand, Always…
Rearranging things in your cabinet can be really helpful too. Think about it. If you open your pantry and a bag of chocolate is the first thing you see, chances are that’s what you’re gonna reach for. So, try moving the less healthy foods to the back of the cabinet, behind healthier choices, like trail mix, or kale chips.
Make Water More Enticing…
The same thing goes for drinking our fluids, whether it’s tea or water, place it in front of you while you work or study. I increased our daily water intake just by buying a pretty pitcher and keeping it filled with water in the fridge.
Occasionally, I add some lemon and cucumber slices, a sprig of fresh mint from the garden, and a little bit of Stevia. It’s clean, refreshing, and tastes great!
Little things like this can increase the chances that you’ll reach for water and stay hydrated throughout the day.
When my nieces and nephews came to stay with us last summer I wanted to make sure they drank plenty of water.
I bought each of them a water bottle from Dollar Tree and a package of Sweetleaf Natural Water Drops (sweetened with Stevia) on Amazon and let them pick a flavor for each day.
I tried to keep two full pitchers of flavored water on hand at all times, but I could hardly keep up with them. They loved it!
Keep Cut Up Veggies Crispy, & Fresher Longer…
Carrots and celery are awesome especially teamed up with a healthy hummus. But, if you’ve ever tried to cut them up ahead of time and store them in the fridge, you may have noticed they lose their crispy crunch.
There are several ways to avoid that. One way is to wrap them in a paper towel, dampen it with cold water, and slip them into a large sealed bag.
Another way is to store them in a glass jar with some water.
Either way, your veggies will stay crisp and fresh for a longer time. If you are going the jar route, just be sure to change out the water every couple of days or so.
If you’re keeping your carrots and celery together, just keep in mind that the carrots will keep longer than the celery.
I know some people worry about cutting up their veggies ahead of time, believing you might lose some nutrients. There are three factors that can cause nutrient loss, and they are heat, oxygen, and light.
In these instances, there’s no exposure to heat or light, just oxygen, and the nutrient most easily affected by this is vitamin C and sometimes vitamin E, but what you don’t lose are all the other incredible nutrients like fiber, some of the B vitamins, minerals and many more.
So, the benefit of eating pre-cut veggies, even with a little less vitamin C, far outweighs not eating the veggies at all or reaching for junkier foods instead.
Pump Up The Nutrients…
I am a big fan of nut butter and we go through quite a bit of it.
We prefer almond butter especially and as nutrient-dense as it already is there’s something we can actually do to pump up the nutrition even more.
Seeds provide a unique combination of phytonutrients and antioxidants that have amazing health benefits.
So I take a full jar of almond butter (or peanut butter) and I empty out about a third of it. I store that third in another container to enjoy later.
Then, to the larger jar, I add a couple of spoonfuls of some seeds.
You can use whatever you have on hand. I use sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, coarsely ground flax seeds, chia seeds, lightly toasted sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Mix them in and store it in the fridge.
My family loves it on celery sticks. So, I cut and fill celery sticks with the nut butter and store it in a closed container, right at eye level, in the fridge for a quick snack.
And if you can’t tolerate nut butter, you can still have some seeds on hand and add them to smoothies, oatmeal, salads, or healthy parfaits.
Healthy Smoothie Hacks…
Here is a hack for smoothie lovers. Simply fill a few Tupperware containers with the ingredients you need for a smoothie and that way when you’re looking for a morning pick me up just pop into the blender, no chopping required, add a splash of plant milk, some greens (spinach is a versatile choice), or nut butter, press the button and enjoy.
This is also an awesome way to use up leftover fruits that are at their peak ripeness. But if you’re already a smoothie aficionado you might find you’ve gotten into a boring routine of making the same thing over and over again.
Make Your Smoothies Even MORE Nutritious…
I have two ingredients that I want to recommend. These are nutrient-dense additions to your frosty drink and trust me, you can’t even taste them in there.
First up is frozen zucchini. And this is especially great for people who can’t tolerate bananas or just don’t like the taste of them. Because it gives it a similar creaminess but without that banana flavor.
And the second one is cannoli beans. These are packed in protein, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and you won’t even know that they’re in there!
So if you’re looking for a new twist to your smoothies give these two a try.
Not an Apple a Day, But Berries, I Say…
You’ve heard the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Actually, this something that berries are more apt to do.
An apple, for example, has 60 units of antioxidants, whereas a cup of berries offers 650 units.
I try to eat at least one or two cupfuls of them a day.
I know fresh berries can be expensive when they’re not in season so in the colder months we opt for frozen berries. And did you know that frozen berries in many cases are more nutrient-dense than fresh berries? It’s true.
Fresh berries are picked before they are ripe because they will ripen during transportation, but this means they were picked before they developed optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which they get from being in the soil.
Berries destined to be frozen, on the other hand, are picked at optimal ripeness when they’re most nutritious.
Cook With (Nutritious) Herbs & Spices, Easily…
Second to berries, herbs and spices are the foods highest in antioxidants.
There are many foods we can make even more wholesome just by spicing them up.
Take, for example, a bowl of whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and broccoli which has150 units of antioxidants. But, by adding one teaspoon of dried oregano that number doubles up to 300.
This one example of how powerful spices can be and many spices come from fresh herbs.
If you have fresh herbs on hand (like rosemary and thyme) you can pick them, chop them, and place them in an ice cube tray with some water.
I then transfer the cubes into a Tupperware container. These will retain their flavor and nutrients for 1 to 2 months.
Add these cubes to soups or stews or pasta sauces. It’s a great way to add some flavor to dishes plus some extra vitamins minerals and antioxidants.
Add a Super-food, Stealthily
Here is one of my favorite healthy hacks.
I simply add fresh spinach to my meals as they are cooking. Spinach is an amazing Superfood.
You can add super huge quantities and in just a few minutes that big pile of greens cooks down to a small amount and it hides well in dishes like soups, casseroles, and breakfast hash.
Three Simple, Healthy Snacks to Have on Hand, Always…
What about when you’re hungry for no reason but you just want something to snack on?
Or maybe you’re legitimately hungry but you don’t have the energy or patience to figure out what you want to make.
For times like those, I have learned to keep items on hand for 3 of my favorite, quick snacks. These take only minutes to put together and are healthy alternatives that are satisfying and taste great.
1. Medjool dates filled with nut butter
2. Sliced apple dipped into a plant yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and stevia, or with a bit of maple syrup stirred in.
3. Hummus on rice cakes topped with fresh spinach, diced onion, tomatoes and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
These wholesome snacks not only limit hasty unwholesome decisions but provide simple and tasty nutrient-dense energy boosts.
You Got This!
It takes a bit of planning to get started at first, but soon it becomes routine and you will realize how easily you can provide healthy choices for yourself and your family, and have them readily available for instant (wholesome) gratification.
Mangiamo! (let’s eat!)
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