A recent Gallup poll showed that six in 10 working Americans (61%) say they do not have enough time to do what they want. Are you one of them? Everyone is busy - so how can you fuel your body for optimal health and energy while maintaining your hectic schedule? Health hacks, that's how.
There are a few tricks that don't take much time but make a massive health difference. Many health gurus will tell you their health hacks are now just habits that are ingrained into their days - they go about their fast paced lives but still manage to eat nourishing meals and snacks.
I want to share my top 10 health hacks - let me know in the comments below which of these you already use or are going to try!
1. Eat snacks. Don't allow yourself to get ravenous. Your brain literally goes into panic mode when you get too hungry and you lose the ability to make good decisions. Always have a snack on hand - I never leave the house without one - and eat your meal when you are hungry, not starving.
2. Make smoothies. This is one of the easiest way to get your servings of fruit and veggies. It's fast and you can drink it in your car or at your desk. If you're going to get one fancy kitchen gadget, get a blender (not a juicer - you want to keep as much fiber as possible, which smoothies allow you to do!).
3. Prep it. At least two or three nights a week, think about what you're going to eat the next day and do some prep, even if it's washing some fruit for snacks or cutting up vegetables.
4. Drink water. Add sliced lemon and cucumber - this tastes way more satisfying than regular water and tricks you into drinking more and eating less - and it feels fancy.
5. Be mindful. Stop before you take a bite. Smell your food. Observe your body and your sense of hunger. Chew slowly. Breathe. Take a sip of water. Get off your phone.
6. Honor your hunger. Eat when you're hungry and don't when you are not. It sounds easy but it's a cultivated practice. Start by pausing before reaching and ask yourself if you are truly hungry or if there are other emotions at play.
7. Throw out the junk. If it's there, you're going to eat it. Instead, buy unprocessed quick and easy snacks like carrots and hummus, cherry tomatoes, fresh grapes and lite string cheese as well as seasonal fruits and berries - a bowl of cherries, anyone?
8. Add veggies. Make a mediocre meal crazy healthy. You want pasta? Cut up a zucchini, some fresh tomatoes, broccoli, onion and garlic and throw it in the skillet for four minutes with some olive oil. Add your marinara sauce to the veggie mix then put it on top of your pasta. Not only is your meal tastier, it's way healthier. You'll end up eating less of the pasta because of the filling fiber from the veggies but you'll be just as satisfied - with less of the food coma. Same goes for pizza. And mac n' cheese. Even ramen.
9. Almond butter. Get it. Eat it. It's full of protein, fiber and healthy fat.
10. Befriend yogurt. Yogurt is a miracle food. It's full of protein, calcium, vitamin D (which many people are deficient in) and tons of beneficial gut bacteria. It fills you up quickly with minimal calories. My favorites are Siggis and the trader joes in store brand.
Eating well doesn't require a massive lifestyle overhaul. Rather, it is the cumulative effect of small, realistic changes. Congratulate yourself for taking the first steps to becoming a healthier you this summer!
Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN specializes in helping clients reach their goals and integrate healthy habits into their lives.
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