3 Healthy Eating Hacks That Will Better Your Life Right Away

Written by Sue Mosebar

The Keys to Healthy Eating

If you’re like most people, you really do want to eat better. You know how important good nutrition and clean eating are to your health, fitness, and longevity. But when it comes time to create the new healthy eating habits, it just seems overwhelming, doesn’t it? Clean eating, Paleo, Keto, vegan, Mediterranean…there are so many diets and so much conflicting information, it sometimes feels easier to just do what you’ve always done: Stick with your usual habits, recipes, and of course, take out.

When it comes to eating, convenience often wins.

Yet there are time-saving techniques all of us can use to eat a little—or a lot—healthier. These simple tools can help you reach your fitness and weight-management goals rather than default to the status quo—all without giving up the joy of eating.

3 Healthy Eating Hacks

Healthy Eating Tips

1. Eat the Same Foods

This idea seems so contradictory considering how much we hear about the importance of variety, but it’s a great way to combat feeling overwhelmed and to ensure we’re eating plenty of healthy, nutritious foods every single day. In a study published in the journal Obesity, researchers examining data from the National Weight Control Registry found that people who are most successful in dropping weight and keeping it off “consume a diet with very little variety.” They concluded that limiting dietary variety may help maintain long-term weight loss.

Editor’s Note: 6 Veggies That Cause Fat Gain

Here’s how I do it.

Every quarter, I sit down with my family, and we plan our meals for the next few months. Many of the meals repeat; for example, breakfast is nearly always a BioTrust® Low Carb smoothie with whatever low-sugar fruit is in-season. And every week, we enjoy taco salad Tuesday and bison burger Friday because these are two of my family’s favorite meals (and they’re super-fast, easy, and packed with nutrition).

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We choose only recipes that are simple, delicious, and healthy. Each quarter, I choose recipes that make the most of seasonal produce, and every month for that quarter, I simply repeat the exact same recipes. Based on our meal plan, I create a grocery list for each week. After all, you can only eat healthy if you have nutritious foods on hand. I just print out the weekly grocery list with a list of our meals for each day, and I’m done.

I don’t have to dig through new recipes every week, and I know my family is going to love what’s on the menu. This one healthy eating technique ends up saving me at least four hours every month! Finally, because I rotate menus throughout the year and the month, there’s enough variety to keep our taste buds happy, and I know we’re all getting top-quality nutrition by eating with the seasons.

Fruit Bowl and Healthy Eating

2. In sight, top of mind

One thing virtually every nutritionist agrees on is that we all need to eat more fruits and vegetables. But it’s so difficult, isn’t it?

Here’s a quick tip I learned from one of my good friends, who was never challenged to get her kids to eat healthy. (Really!) Most people wondered how she did it, yet even a brief visit to her kitchen made it obvious.

First, she made sure healthy foods were always available, within sight, and easy to reach for all her kids, as well as herself and her husband. Every week, she would take a trip to the local farmers’ market and buy her family’s favorite vegetables and fruits. (A CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture group, works well too.) She and her family would wash the vegetables and get them prepared to snack on as soon as they got home. When you opened the fridge, the first thing you’d see was a beautiful, colorful bowl of ready-to-eat vegetables on the bottom shelf—within easy reach of even her youngest child.

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She also had an amazing three-tiered fruit bowl that was bursting with fresh, juicy, and enticing fruits. It was difficult to resist the rainbow of fresh, wholesome food. Despite what you might think, she once told me that rather than any of the fresh produce going bad, with three active sons, it was difficult to keep enough on hand.

IF—and that’s a big IF—she did have packaged foods, they remained on a top shelf in the back of the pantry: Out of sight, out of reach, and out of mind. As a very busy environmental engineer, she insisted this was how she kept healthy eating both sane and stress-free for her family.

Cornell researcher Dr. Brian Wansink would likely agree with this method; he suggests the real secret to healthy eating isn’t about willpower but rather what he refers to as the “CAN” approach. That is, keeping healthy foods Convenient, Attractive, and Normal.

Eating Slowly and Healthy Eating

3. Slow down!

This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about slowing down and eating mindfully, and it surely won’t be the last. This is some of the absolute most important, most effective nutritional advice around.

With the amount of distractions and obligations we’re all faced with on a day-to-day basis, it sometimes feels as if the only time to eat is at the desk, in the car, or while running through the house searching frantically for that lost report, homework, or shoe.

This is a significant detriment to you and your health, fitness, and weight-loss goals. Research from several studies has shown that simply by eating more slowly, you’ll consume fewer calories. Enough, in fact, to drop up to 10 pounds in a year with no other changes. What’s more, slow eating improves digestion, and it’s a tool you can use anytime and anywhere, regardless of what’s on your plate.

The research has stacked up showing us that multitasking makes us less efficient and effective at virtually every task, and eating is no exception.

Healthy eating isn’t always easy, but by incorporating the above strategies into your daily, weekly, and monthly habits, you’ll ultimately be able to save time and combat feeling overwhelmed as you eat healthier and get that much closer to accomplishing your fitness and weight-loss goals.

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More From Sue Mosebar

  • Mister_Jim

    Just eating slower can help you lose up to ten pounds a year!? I have a friend who should try that, it would only take him 20- 25 years to get back to a reasonable weight. He’s about 6’3″ and weighs well over 400#. Admittedly, losing weight at a more gradual rate is more beneficial than trying to lose mass quantities quickly, but 10# a year is a bit ridiculous, it’s more of a maintenance technique than a weight reduction plan.That advice is for someone more like me who is only about 15# overweight. I eat slowly anyhow, and that’s a good thing because I like to eat and I drink enough beer for myself and my wife combined. (She doesn’t drink so someone has to consume her share). If I were serious about losing that 15 pounds I could do it in a month but two months would be a better goal. I’d simply cut out the beer, eat smaller portions and walk the dogs twice a day. Several years ago I lost about 40# in 3 months and got my blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides back to normal. By doctor wanted me on medication for all 4 conditions but medication scares me so I made a deal with him. “If I can make significant progress in the next two months we’ll forget this nonsense of prescription medication?”. He agreed, cocked his head to the side and said “Good luck”. The first month showed marked improvement in all areas and he expressed doubt that I’d be able to continue progress at that rate. The second month went as well as the first but he was still skeptical. By the end of the third month everything was under control, I lost more weight than he suggested, my cholesterol and triglycerides were well within the normal range and my blood pressure was on the low side of normal. He shook his head and said “I don’t know what you’re doing but you can stop now, just don’t go back to your old ways”. I showed him a copy of the diet I’d been following and he couldn’t find anything wrong with my nutrition plan. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, lots of protein, (lean meat), hardly any condiments, not much salt and no junk food), and real butter instead of margarine. Since then I’ve regained about 15 of the ≈ 40# I lost but my blood pressure is always within a few points of 120/80, (sometimes a few points lower and sometimes a few higher, but always within a few either way). My cholesterol and triglycerides have also stayed within the normal range. (Not bad for a 60 year old guy who likes steak & taters with butter, beer and a few other good things in life but refuses to take medication of any sort). I wish I could get my friend to make a similar effort but he likes his doughnuts and sugary soft drinks too much.
    I completely agree with your advice about fruits and vegetables as convenient snacks, I learned to have a salad with no lettuce, (Iceberg lettuce is almost worthless, Romaine isn’t a lot better), I like a salad of spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, grated carrots, a few pieces of ham and / or bacon, cucumber slices,and green peppers with little or no dressing. Apples and oranges are great snacks. Peel an orange, tangerine or clementine and slice an apple right after breakfast and keep them handy during the day for light snacks.A small serving of ice cream once or twice a week to help maintain your sanity is also good. Drink lots of water and maybe cheat with a little bit of beer. Stay away from artificially sweetened food and drink. I’ve heard the arguments about the artificial sweeteners being bad for you but that has no bearing on my choice, the stuff tastes terrible, I can’t stand it so I avoid it.
    Get a dog and build a relationship with it.Sitting with it, talking to it, petting it, letting it cuddle with you is very relaxing and bu all means for the sake of the health of the dog as well as your own, walk with it every day, at least ½ mile every day, (one mile every day is a better goal but ½ mile is a good starting point).
    Good luck, (and don’t let yourself get out of control like my friend did. He’s about 10 years younger than I am but I’m afraid that I’ll have to attend his funeral in the not too distant future).

  • Coach Stefanie

    I love the “out of sight, out of reach, out of mind” approach. It may sound silly, but it’s actually quite effective. I know I tend to reach for the most convenient foods, especially when I’m really hungry. Having to make an extra effort to forage through all the top shelves in the cupboards, or actually bend down and see what’s in the very back of the fridge, is often that extra step that I’m just not going to take. Having prepared, fresh, wholesome foods that are readily accessible is really a win-win when it comes to improving your healthy lifestyle.