Are you intimidated by the thought of eating healthy? You shouldn't be. Small changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in your health and can easily fit into your schedule—if fact, it can even make life easier. Healthy food swaps can boost your energy and lower your risk for heart disease. You’ll be amazed at how easy and incredibly delicious healthy eating can be with these 8 hacks:
1. Substitute with Avocado
Avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals. They contain oils that reduce cholesterol and can be used as a tasty substitute for a number of less-healthy alternatives. Swapping out foods that are high in saturated fat will lower your calorie intake and replace saturated fat with “good fats” that help you absorb more nutrients in your meal. These are some ways you can substitute avocados into your cooking:
- Before you grab the butter to slather on your toast, try a mashed avocado for the highly photographable, and delicious, avocado toast.
- Instead of using mayo to help with dry sandwiches, mix olive oil and lemon juice with an avocado to make a zesty, creamy condiment.
- Replace oil and butter with avocado. Use 1 cup of avocado for every 1 cup of butter or oil. For eggs, substitute 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup mashed avocado per egg.
2. Replace Bread with Veggies
To cut out simple carbs, you may have tried wrapping burgers and other meats in lettuce instead of a bun. Bump up the creativity and try experimenting with these more nutritious veggie ‘breads’:
- Cauliflower bread is a great option that mimics the fluffiness of regular white bread.
- Sliced veggies can also be used as a bread swap. Try grilled eggplant slices sandwiched over salmon, red bell peppers, and goat cheese to make delectable sliders like this recipe from Living Well Kitchen.
- Baked zucchini crusts are an excellent alternative when you want a 'bread' that has the perfect crunch outside and chewiness inside.
3. Use Hummus as Salad Dressing
Think you did your body good by eating a salad for lunch? You may be pouring on excessive calories and fat through your salad dressing. Just two tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing contains the same amount of calories and total fat as a serving of potato chips.
Instead, opt for hummus on your salad. Hummus is packed with health benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol to helping you lose weight. Try this delicious and energizing Panera-Inspired Hummus Chicken Power Salad:
- 6 cups of spinach
- 1 large tomato sliced
- 1/2 of a large cucumber sliced
- 1/2 of a small red onion sliced
- 2 diced organic chicken breasts
- Jalapeño lime hummus (or any favorite hummus)
4. Drink More Water
In order to keep our body’s functions working properly, hydration is key. You may have heard that we need eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. While a good rule of thumb, the amount of water you need is dependent on a number of factors such as:
- The amount of exercise you get. If you go for runs or do any sort of activity that causes you to sweat, you will need an extra 2 to 3 glasses during the day. The more intense the workout, the more water you will need.
- The climate you live in. Keep in mind if you live in an area that's typically hot and humid, you will need to drink more water than those living in cooler locations.
- Your gender. Men and women have different needs when it comes to water intake. For instance, women fluctuate in the amount of water they need to stay hydrated depending on their changing levels of estrogen throughout their menstrual cycle.
- The kind of water you drink. Drinking alkaline water, like the water from your DYLN Living Water Bottle, is a more efficient way of staying hydrated. The micro-clustered particles allow for more effective absorption and hydration.
Sneaking more fluids into your diet can be easy by sprucing it up with fresh slices of lemon or cucumber. For the additional detox benefit, consider fruits and herbs high in antioxidants and make refreshing infused water like this Rosemary and Strawberry Detox Water.
5. Steam Your Leafy Greens
Raw kale or spinach looks like a lot more food on your plate than the same amount steamed. If you're looking to pack as much nutrition into one serving as possible, consider lightly steaming it to preserve nutrients but reduce volume.
6. Sprinkle Seeds on Everything
Adding the extra kick of nutrients is as simple as sprinkling a pinch of seeds into your meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try some of these vitamin-rich seeds:
- Sesame seeds are packed with protein, essential fatty acids, and certain amino acids that aid in lowering cholesterol, burning fat, boosting nutrient absorption and can even help to fight cancer.
- Hemp seeds, a superfood packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promote cardiovascular health and help to naturally balance hormones.
- Chia seeds are rich in fiber, containing 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon, which makes them great for keeping hunger at bay.
7. Meal Prep
Designate a day out of the week to prepare for upcoming meals. When you have delicious, healthy meals packaged and ready you’ll be less tempted by fast food. After a tiring day at work, you'll be able to effortlessly prepare a nutritious meal. Simply heat and eat!
Meal prepping will allow you to spend less time throughout the week cooking and cleaning, and more time relaxing, exercising and focusing on other things. You can learn how to efficiently plan your week’s meals with these great meal prep tips.
8. Surround Yourself with Friends Who Love Eating Healthy
Surround yourself with people who care about what they put in their bodies. Odds are the more healthy foodies you know, the more health-conscious you'll be. You'll have fun discovering new restaurants and sharing tips to help you all stay in shape. Your friends can be the motivation that gets you to finally meet your goals and encourage you to set higher standards for your health.
A little effort goes a long way! Simple tips like these can make big changes. Remember, health is more than just the foods you eat. There are many areas in your life for healthy choices, such as the people you surround yourself with, conscious thinking, fitness, and having a positive outlook on life. Once you start these healthy habits, you'll be surprised how easy it is, and how good you feel.