When it comes to looking and feeling your best, a healthy diet is one of the fundamentals, in additional to good sleep, adequate water, and daily movement. But in order to make their diet healthier, many people think they have go big right away and overhaul their entire pantry…
That is not the case! When you start small and make just one little change at a time, creating a healthy diet that lasts a lifetime is much more doable.
Today I’m dishing out 17 simple, easy swaps that any one could make to improve their health and longevity.
While everyone’s body is different and there is no “one size fits all” diet, I personally have done all of these tips (at some point, if not currently) so I can attest that they have worked wonders for me!
So with that said, let’s jump in to these 17 simple tips….
1. Up the protein.
Most people, especially women, aren’t eating nearly enough protein for optimum health.
Protein contains essential amino acids that our bodies and muscles need and cannot produce on their own.
Some of the added benefits of adequate protein intake are a higher metabolic rate, reduced appetite and cravings, and better blood sugar balance.
Research points to the fact that (for most people) getting about 30% of your overall caloric intake from protein is ideal.
2. Stick to whole food carbohydrates.
Some of my absolute favorite foods are carbs (like sweet potatoes – yum!), so I’m not here to bash on carbs…
However, there are certain categories of carbs that should be limited if we want to look and feel our best.
Highly processed carb sources (like flour and added sugar) create metabolic mayhem when consumed too often.
If you’re a carb lover like I am, stick to unprocessed carbs like potatoes, rice, quinoa and beans.
3. Eat eggs for breakfast.
Studies show that switching from a carb-heavy breakfast (like cereal, bagel, toast, and oatmeal) to a protein-rich breakfast (like eggs and sausage) results in a faster metabolism.
This is mostly due to the satiating affect that protein creates by upping your production of a hormone called Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) which is responsible for signaling to the brain that you are now “full”.
Without reducing your caloric intake at all, you can boost your metabolism to help you burn more fat simply by switching from carbs to protein at breakfast time.
4. Eat slower.
It can take a while for the brain to receive the signals from the stomach when we’ve had enough to eat.
If you’re eating too quickly, you can easily overstuff yourself with food before your brain has the time to register that you aren’t really hungry anymore.
That’s why I always recommend practicing eating more slowly.
By slowing down, chewing thoroughly, and taking breaks every now and then to check in with yourself, you can reduce the amount of overeats you have, which will help keep you lean and feeling your best!
5. Hydrate before you caffeinate.
One of the first healthy habits I adopted when I changed up my lifestyle was to drink a 32oz bottle of water every morning before drinking my coffee.
I immediately felt more energized throughout the day, had less urges to snack in the morning, and completely stopped experiencing headaches.
I can’t tell you how many others have reported similar experiences after committing to morning hydration.
Your cells need water after 8+ hours without hydration (while you slept) so give them what they need!
6. Switch to organic coffee.
I don’t think everyone needs to switch to all-organic everything, however, I do think there are certain things that are worth swapping…
Coffee beans are one of the crops sprayed most heavily with pesticides.
Since most coffee drinkers have it at least once a day, I think it’s worth the price-tag to opt for organic coffee for your home.
As long as you’re sticking with organic most of the time, I see no reason to stress about having a non-organic cup of joe every now and then when you hit up your favorite coffee shop.
7. Don’t go to the grocery store unprepared.
Remember, what goes in your cart goes in your mouth.
If a certain food or snack doesn’t support your health goals, don’t bring it into your home! Easier said than done, I know. But there are ways to set yourself up for success at the grocery store.
By creating a meal plan and grocery list, you can breeze through your grocery shopping in just a few minutes.
Having a plan and list makes it so much easier to focus on the few things you need and ignore the other (often more tempting) treats you really don’t need. For more help with creating a weekly meal plan and grocery list, check out this blog post.
8. Add extra greens everywhere!
Leafy greens and other vegetables that are deep in color are nutrient-dense, detoxifying and hydrating to the body.
They’re a good source of fiber and provide many key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that prevent premature aging and help strengthen the immune system.
Additionally, they are loaded with phytochemical that can reduce and prevent inflammation. That’s why it’s important to get as many servings of them as you can!
You can add extra greens to a smoothie, throw them in scrambled eggs, add them to a soup, or simply add a side salad with your meal.
Don’t skip an opportunity to make the most of their magic detoxifying powers!
9. Add MCT oil to your coffee.
When I started adding MCT oil to my morning lattes, I immediately noticed that my cravings and urges to snack and overeat were dramatically reduced throughout the day.
Many others report the same…In fact, there have been many studies on the affects of MCT oil on metabolism and weight loss.
Researchers found that they help the body produce ketones, which provides many of the benefits of the keto diet without actually needing to go low carb!
Other benefits of MCT oil include anti-bacterial, anti-microbial effects and anti-inflammatory affects.
Blend 1 tablespoon in with your morning coffee and you won’t even taste them, so why not right?!
– Source: https://draxe.com/nutrition/mct-oil/
10. Switch to low-glycemic sweeteners.
Every now and then we all want to indulge in a sweet treat. Nothing wrong with that!
But why not swap your standard sweetener of choice for a low-carb, low-glycemic, all-natural sweetener? It’ll taste just as great but without negatively impacting your blood sugar.
Some of my favorite alternative sweeteners are monk fruit, allulose and stevia.
I still don’t recommend you go buck-wild and add tons of these healthy sweeteners into your daily routine. However, switching to stevia-sweetened chocolate or sustituting monk fruit sweetener for the sugar in your muffin recipe can be a great wya to upgrade your favorite treats.
11. Pack your lunches.
For the most part, anything that you make at home is going to be better for your health that what you’d order on Postmates, Ubereats or at a restaurant. We all know this is true, right?
The problem is that in the moment when you’re rushing out the door to get to work, it’s too late. You’re already out of time.
In order to get consistent with packing your lunch, you need to do a little prep-work in advance.
Make a meal prep appointment with yourself and put it on your calendar!
By spending just a few extra minutes preparing lunches on Sunday and Wednesday nights, you could save yourself tons of time, money, and extra calories throughout the week.
12. Keep emergency snacks ready.
I like to keep healthy snacks on hand at all times. This can really help avoid the temptation to grab fast-food or unhealthy snacks when you’re out running errands, stuck late at the office, or stuck in traffic.
You could keep some raw nuts in your purse, a jerky stick in your car, or a healthy protein bars at your desk.
Stashing healthy snacks around is just one more way to set yourself up for success with your healthy diet.
13. Take a probiotic supplement.
Probiotic supplements contain strains of beneficial bacteria that travel through your colon and interact with your immune cells, gut cells, dietary nutrients, and existing bacteria, to delivery you benefits including protection against gut permeability, regular bowl movements, improved immune health, and even metabolic benefits.
Since most of us aren’t eating loads of probiotic-rich foods on a normal basis, probiotic supplements are an excellent way to maintain optimal gut health and overall health!
Here’s a link to the probiotic supplement I take and recommend to all my clients.
14. Drink “green juice”.
Having trouble eating enough greens and veggies? Adding a green juice to your daily routine can be a great way to supplement your healthy diet.
There are lots of great formulas on the market today that can provide you with loads of vitamins, mineral, amino acids and antioxidant all in one easy-to-drink cup.
My all time favorite is the Organifi Green Juice — unlike other green juice supplements it actually tastes delicious. It’s sort of minty and very very refreshing!
If you’d like to try it out, you can use my discount code (WEEKNIGHTWELLNESS) for 15% off.
15. Make sure every meal has protein, fat, and fiber.
This is the best way to structure healthy meals that are satisfying and nutrient dense.
By including these three things on your plate, you’ll maintain better blood sugar stability, which prevents big spikes in insulin (the fat storage hormone).
These three food categories interact with your hunger hormones in specific ways that will signal your body to turn down hunger (so you don’t overeat), turn up dopamine (so you feel content and satisfied), and slow down digestion (so you don’t need to snack again later).
If you want to add some healthy carbohydrates into this mix, feel free!
16. Cook with healthy oils.
Man-made industrial seed and vegetable oils are often hydrogenated and rancid.
They tend to be processed with hexane (a toxic chemical) and oxidixed because so much heat and chemicals are needed for extracting them.
This creates free-radical and inflammation in the body which, over time, can do some very serious damage!
Avoid artificial trans-fats and man-made seeds oils (like peanut oil, grapeseed oil canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.). Instead, opt for healthy plant-based oils like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or MCT oil.
Even high-quality animal fats and butter can have some a health benefits!
17. Upgrade your drink of choice.
If you find yourself craving something bubbly and sweet to drink, trade your soda for a sparkling water, tea, tonic, or kombucha.
Lot’s of people say they aren’t a fan of sparkling water just because they don’t like Lacroix…but there are lots of other options!
You could try a sparkling water that’s flavored with real fruit juice like Spindrift, a soda sweetened with stevia like Olipop, a sparkling tea like Sound, or grab a kombucha from your local grocery store.
My advice is to just keep trying new things until you find a healthier soda-alternative that you love!
The Bottom Line…
Creating a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean overhauling your life, throwing out everything in your pantry, and swearing off all treats for good.
There are lots of simple swaps, trades and upgrades you could make today, without even skipping a beat!
WARNING – Don’t let “all or nothing” mentality keep you thinking you need to do all 17 of these tips or else you’ll be a failure.
Just pick one habit, one upgrade or one area you want to work on and start there. Once you’ve mastered that, then move on to the next. That’s how you truly change your life an end the on-again, off-again dieting cycle.
Start small and just keep going. One day soon you’ll look around and realize you now have the healthy balanced lifestyle you always wanted — how fun it that?!
July 15, 2021