With the change of seasons comes the opportunity to make some healthy changes to your eating habits, whether your aim is to feel fitter, take care of your heart, or to save some money by ditching convenient but pricey food options. To get in the spirit, here are some healthy food hacks to get you started.
1. Infuse your water
There isn’t anything magical about doing this, apart from the fact that fresh mint, cucumber slices, lime and lemon wedges, frozen berries and orange slices can turn your water into something that you want to drink lots of. Good hydration is vital for your heart’s healthy functioning, as well as weight management, concentration, healthy skin and lots more.
2. Brush your teeth after a meal
If you find it difficult not to follow lunch or dinner with something sweet, brushing your teeth can help take the cravings away. Peppermint is an appetite suppressant, and once you’ve brushed, you won’t want to dirty your teeth again.
3. Cook healthy carbohydrate sources in bulk
Brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato and wholemeal pasta can be cooked up in large amounts, separated into snap lock bags or containers and frozen in individual portions. That way you’ve always got something on hand to throw into a meal. A smart carbohydrate source at a main meal means you’re less likely to pick a not-so-smart carbohydrate in between meals.
4. Include more nutrient-rich foods into your diet
Rather than focusing on the foods you should be cutting out, focus on boosting the amounts of foods you should eat and putting together a balanced meal with nutrient-rich foods like vegetables.
5. Make vegetables easy
Vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Make a big bowl of salad out of one bag lettuce, one cucumber, one capsicum, one carrot and one punnet of cherry tomatoes. It’s quick and easy to put together, and then you have an easy vegetable side to add to anything that you’re eating.
Do the same for cooked vegetables. A container of chopped capsicum, carrot, beans, broccoli etc can easily be thrown into a wok as a stir fry or potato, pumpkin, carrot, zucchini and beetroot can be easily thrown into a tray and roasted.
6. Don’t abstain from your favourite foods
Learn how to include them in a balanced way. If you enjoy chocolate, you could have a small portion of a high quality kind accompanied by a plate of fresh berries.
7. Pre-marinate your meat, chicken or fish
Healthy eating is so much more enjoyable when you’re eating food that you actually enjoy. One of the ways we bring enjoyment to food is by adding different flavours and keeping it varied and different. Try adding lamb or chicken pieces with lemon, garlic, oregano and olive oil into a snap lock bag or container and freezing. Then all you have to do is defrost and cook. Other easy combos you could try are:
- Moroccan spice mix, olive oil and lemon juice
- Lime juice, soy sauce and ginger.
You can find more tasty recipes on our website.
8. Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy wholefood staples
This means you’ll always have something quick and easy on hand. Thinks foods like canned beans, chickpeas, lentils and corn kernels, tinned tuna, salmon and sardines, eggs, popcorn, frozen berries, frozen vegetables, ricotta and cottage cheese, natural yoghurt, oats, raw nuts and seeds.
Start using containers to organise your staples into categories. Then, when you do a grocery shop, all you have to do is check the fridge, freezer or pantry and write your list based on which containers are running low. Add in any perishable items and fresh produce, and your shopping list is done!
9. Make your own muesli
Worried about the added sugar in store-bought muesli or don’t like some of the ingredients? Why not make your own? You can save money by buying the raw ingredients in bulk, and then you can create a muesli combo that is as individual as you! If you’re weight conscious, go easy on the nuts, seeds, coconut oil, honey or syrup. Too much fat or sugar may halt your weight loss efforts.
10. Let your ‘motivated self’ look after your ‘lazy self’
You don’t have to be upbeat and motivated all the time – it’s just not possible, and that’s ok. When you’re feeling like cooking or prepping food, make the most of that time and prepare food for those times when you don’t have time or find it difficult. Aim to have easy options, leftovers or homemade frozen meals for those times. Set yourself up for success by thinking ahead and making things as easy for yourself as possible for those tougher days.
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About the author
The Healthy Eating Hub
This article was written by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian from The Healthy Eating Hub. The Healthy Eating Hub is a team of university-qualified nutritionists and dietitians who are passionate about helping people develop long term healthy eating habits through offering evidence-based and practical nutrition advice that people can put into practice straight away.