By Suzanne Farrell
Have you ever wondered how some people maintain their weight and healthy lifestyle with ease while others are overwhelmed on where to start? Why is it that healthy habits come naturally for some and not others?
When it comes to health, adopting good habits is essential. However, changing habits and behaviors for the long term can be difficult. In my experience, adopting small changes over time is a key to long term success. Learning to cut through complicated steps and simplify how to implement a healthy habit is often referred to as a health hack. Below are 10 examples of great health hacks!
- Keep a food journal. Studies show keeping a food log or diary, and recording what you eat, can help you lose weight and keep it off. There are many apps available to help easily track your food intake, but even just keeping a pen and paper is helpful.
- Drink up! Drink more water that is. Staying hydrated is one of those tried and true health hacks. Staying hydrated promotes a healthy weight by improving overall metabolism, energy levels and appetite control.
- Toss the temptations. Remove the junk food, cookies, cakes, candy and more from your pantry and fridge. Keep your kitchen stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient rich foods. Keep these foods visible and easily accessible. (Think veggies cut and ready to eat eye level in the fridge or fruit on the counter.)
- Spice up your morning cup of joe. Try replacing the sugar and cream in your coffee with a dash of cinnamon. Not only is cinnamon calorie free, but there are many health benefits associated with cinnamon. Cinnamon has been found to help reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides as well as serve as an antioxidant to help boost immune system. For flavor, try sprinkling cinnamon in your coffee grounds before you brew.
- Less is more. Switch to a smaller plate size and you could reduce overall calorie intake by 20 – 30%. Also, when heading out for a treat, opt for the smaller version of the real thing vs a larger size. It’s all about portion sizes!
- Choose fresh. Generally speaking, fresh foods will have a higher nutrient density content with more fiber and less sugar than packaged or processed counterparts. Can’t always access fresh fruits or vegetables? Check out the next health hack.
- Stock your freezer. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, soups, and stews. Frozen fruits and vegetables are an easy and budget-friendly way to ensure you’re always prepared for a healthy meal or snack.
- Shut down screen time. Turn off the TV and remove yourself from the computer or smartphone when eating. Screen time is associated with poorer food choices as well as overeating. Step away and focus on your meal instead of being filled with distractions during meal time.
- Swap the sweets. Have a sweet tooth? Seek out better options such as dark chocolate or fresh fruit with a sprinkle of cocoa. Look for sweet treats that are pre-portioned such as Dole Dippers or Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars.
- Sit down, slow down, taste and enjoy. It takes about 20 minutes for us to realize we’ve had enough to eat. Therefore, eating quickly means we are more likely to overeat. One simple hack is to put your fork down in between bites or take 3 minute pause when your plate is 1/2 empty. How hungry are you?
Suzanne Farrell is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition, a private practice in Denver. Her nutrition philosophy is to combine nutrition science with the art of living a happy and healthy life! She is a mom of 2 girls, 8 and 10, and loves most of all being with her family.
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