We all know that living a healthy lifestyle is the key to supporting wellness and helping us reach our health goals, but it is not always easy. Healthy eating takes time, commitment and good preparation to make sure you always have healthy food at hand. To kickstart your health journey, Plenish Nutritionist, Katie Morley, has rounded up 12 super simple healthy food hacks that will arm you with the knowledge you need to achieve optimal nutrition. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.
12 Super Simple Healthy Food Hacks
- Start your day with a glass of lemon water
After a night of fasting, rehydrating your body is essential before working out or eating your first meal. Not only does a glass of water replenish your body’s hydration levels but, studies also show that it helps to reduce total daily calorie intake, making it easier to stick to healthy-sized portions throughout the day. So, set the tone for a healthy day by taking the time to hydrate first thing and add a slice of lemon for added cleansing and detoxification.
- Add protein into your healthy breakfast
After rehydrating, the second most important way to start your day is by incorporating a protein-rich breakfast. While it is easy to pour a bowl of cereal or grab a pastry on the go, taking the time to prepare a nutritious breakfast is a surefire way to maintain stable blood sugar levels and consistent energy throughout the day.
The good news is that a healthy, plant-powered breakfast can take less than 10 minutes to prep. You can even make the night before for a grab-and-go option – it doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Here are some of our favourite breakfast picks to kickstart your healthy-eating day:
- Cook once, eat twice
If you are like us and hate washing up, then this one’s for you. Whenever you are cooking, be sure to make an extra portion of the recipe to eat the next day or for your next meal. This method has been part of our long-time meal prep philosophy for a while for three reasons – it saves money, it saves time, and you do not have to scrub an extra dish! For starters, get into the habit of making extra rice, quinoa or lentils, so you have these ingredients on hand as a quick and easy base for meals.
- Get techy with it
To make grocery shopping a breeze, use apps like Weezy and Zapp to get your groceries delivered on-demand in 15 minutes. Fooducate is another one of our favourite healthy-eating apps, which scans the barcode on items and grades their healthiness from A to F, with explanations about their benefits and drawbacks.
- Invest in time-saving tools
A hand blender and a standard blender are one-stop-shops for creating healthy, delicious recipes. Smoothies, in particular, are a fantastic way to flood your body with lots of essential vitamins and minerals. You don’t always have to have a smoothie, though; you can make healthy soups, juices, snacks and sauces too.
- Unplug during mealtimes
One thing that you can do at no cost at all is putting down your devices during meal times. Mindfulness during meal times is essential as we typically eat out of habit. By tapping into hunger and fullness cues, we can learn to listen to our bodies and what we truly need. Rather than scrolling on your phone, watching TV or checking emails, sit down and focus on enjoying the taste of your food. You might be surprised how your food habits start to change!
- Focus on a simple healthy meal formula: P + V + C
If you want to maintain a consistently healthy diet, it is vital to know what constitutes a balanced meal. Keep it simple and focus on a lean protein (preferably plant-based), a leafy vegetable and a complex carbohydrate. Apply this formula to your favourite foods, and you will be on your way to a healthier day.
- Challenge yourself to a new veggie a week
Set a new challenge by trying new vegetables every week! Different vegetables provide different nutrients, which is why it is important to eat a variety of colours and types. The average adult should be looking to consume 2.5 cups a day (or more!
Here are some vegetable-packed dinners to get you started:
- Keep healthy snacks on-hand
Although certain diets do not encourage snacking, the trick to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet in the long-term is all about balance. If you find that you struggle to get to your next meal without the need for a sugary snack to tide you over, then adding in a nutritious snack may be beneficial. The key point here is to steer clear of processed, packaged, and sugary foods.
Some of our favourite filling and healthy snack options to make ahead include:
- Amp up the sauce
The right sauce can add loads of flavour to any meal without piling on calories and fat. Simple home-made combinations such as dijon mustard, dairy-free pesto or French dressing are fast, tasty and easy to make. Simply add into your salads, along with a plant-based protein and wholegrain carbohydrate of your choice, and you are all set!
- Become a hidden sugar detective
Sugar is found in almost everything. While we are encouraged to keep our sugar intake to a minimum, life is all about balance, and there will be times where you cannot avoid added sugar. The secret here is to consume lots of foods naturally free from refined sugar and choose natural sweeteners over refined sugar. Not sure where to start? Try switching your sugar-laden supermarket smoothie for a low sugar juice or juice shot.
- Support your gut
A healthy gut is the key to optimal overall health, so choosing foods that support the digestive system is essential. In fact, studies show that the bacteria in your gut may play a role in controlling your hunger and may even influence food cravings. The good news is that there are lots of gut-loving foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha and Keri, that help to support friendly bacteria and keep the harmful ones at bay.