Healthy Eating Life Hacks
Healthy eating isn’t about chasing rainbows or going on a yoga retreat. It’s not something that only rich people can do, and it doesn’t need to involve overhauling your life entirely. Healthy eating is, however, about being smart with your choices. Here are some quick and easy life hacks you can try to get you where you want to be.
Don’t go food shopping on an empty tummy!
If you buy food when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to choose high fat, high sugar foods. And if you have those kind of foods in your house, you’re more likely to eat them. Avoid temptation altogether by making sure you’ve had something to eat before you shop.
Use your freezer
You may not know it, but frozen fruit and veg counts towards your five a day. It’s also usually much cheaper and lasts longer. So you don’t need to worry about buying fresh food and it going off. Tinned, dried and juiced fruit and veg also count for your five a day – just make sure you don’t have more than 150ml of juice, as it’s high in sugar and has less fibre in it.
Plan your meals
If you plan what foods you’re going to eat for the week ahead, you’re less likely to make unhealthy choices. You can even prep your food in advance. During the week I have maybe 30 minutes tops to make dinner from when I get in before the kids (and I!) get hangry! I make extras when I have more time at the weekend and freeze them so I can have a healthy meal on the table in just a few minutes.
Chose high fibre foods
One of the hardest things when you’re trying to lose weight is how hungry you get. Chose high fibre foods such as vegetables, oats, whole grain bread and pastas to help you feel fuller and stave off the hunger pangs.
Make the most of supermarket discounts
At certain times during the day your supermarket will reduce the prices of foods that are nearing their use by / best before dates. It’s also really important to understand the difference between these terms – “Use by” means that you mustn’t eat if after that date or it could make you ill. “Best before” tells you the date after which it may not taste as good, but is still safe to eat. Obviously, if it’s gone off you shouldn’t eat it! But supermarkets and other shops can’t sell it after its “Best before” date, so you can get some good healthy food really cheap if you know when to go. Money saving expert offers more info on when supermarkets bring out the yellow stickers, as well as loads of other tips for saving money on food. Just make sure you check the label and choose the healthy choices!
Get your family involved
Before I had kids I thought I wasn’t easily pressured into things. Since then I’ve come to understand the full force of pester power! But why not use it for good? Take the kids outside to play football or go for a bike ride or a walk, or even swimming. There’s nothing quite like having your own mini drill sergeant to get you up and moving!
Park further away from the shops
I know from first hand experiences how hard it can be to find time to exercise. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to fit it into my life is to park a bit further away from work or the shops. And to use the stairs instead of the lifts. Of course this only works if you’re physically capable of doing it, and Age UK has some great tips on how to get active if you’re chair-bound, which is useful regardless of your age.
It’s really easy to lose yourself and find out you’ve lost most of the day and haven’t got up from the chair. Set an alarm clock every hour to remind you to get up and walk for a few minutes. Just 250 steps an hour in an eight hour stint, and you’ve already got a fifth of your recommended steps a day under your belt.
Making bite-sized changes to your diet and activity levels is a massive step forward to living healthily!
Article by Dr. Ali Hill, Registered Nutritionist and Course Leader of Applied Human Nutrition at Solent University.