15 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier

15 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier

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If it seems like too much effort sometimes, here are 15 easy ways to eat healthier that are fast, flexible and super approachable. You don’t have to be a rockstar chef or spend your whole day in the kitchen to make sure you’re eating good and clean food. All you need is maybe an hour of prep once a week, a well-stocked pantry and a clever grocery list.

1. Eat Canned Beans

Canned beans are one of the top tricks when it comes to ways to eat healthier. Beans are such a wonderful food to keep you full and satisfied. They provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, too, whether you’re eating kidney beans or chickpeas. Plus, they keep your digestion flowing smoothly from all that fiber.

Throw beans in a pot with crushed tomatoes for a quick bean chili, or roast them for a Buddha bowl. Hey, sometimes I just rinse the corn syrup off baked beans and eat them right out of the can. We all have our moments, right?

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2. Have A Smoothie Every Day 

Whether it’s first thing in the morning or closer to dinner time, a nutrient-packed smoothie is one of the yummiest ways to eat healthier. If you feel like you’re slacking on your greens, add a handful of spinach or kale. If that tastes too strong for you, make sure you have a sweetening ingredient like a banana and a spicy ingredient like cinnamon. These will soften the bright green taste for those who aren’t used to it.

There are a few other vegetables that are super easy to pack into your smoothie, like cauliflower and carrots. Needless to say, adding lots of fruit to your blender is an easy way to add more vitamins to your day, too–from oranges and blueberries to avocados and cucumbers. 

Being the smoothie aficionado (more like obsessed lady) that I am, I’ve tried several blenders. My top one in the more affordable price-range is my trusty Nutri Bullet that I’ve had for many years. I upgraded some time ago (about 5 years ago) from this smaller version to this bigger one with both a couple of small blender cups and one full-sized blender for when I’m blending a smoothie for the whole fam or soup, etc. Recently, I’ve upgraded to the best of the best, which is this Vitamix blender. For those of us who blend daily, you’ll pay off the cost pretty fast for how quickly and amazingly this thing blends. It makes everything from hummus and soup and even kneads bread dough. And for anyone who kneads bread dough… ’nuff said.

3. Batch-Cook Tofu

When you make tofu, make an extra package (or two). I find air frying them with a quick spray of avocado oil and some salt and pepper leaves me with a nice batch of protein for days ahead. Or you can spread your chopped up squares on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes at 400.

(Tofu + Air Fryer = Magic. This Air Fryer has changed my life. Just saying.)

Think tofu is too mushy? Buy extra firm and let each square sit between two plates for a few minutes before cooking. You’ll be surprised how much water comes out! You can also toss it in the broiler for 5 minutes at the end of cooking to get it a little crispy. 

4. Use Salad Kits 

This is such an underrated way to eat healthier. Whatever you’re eating for dinner, even if it’s microwaved chicken nuggets (it happens, we’re all human)–it will be significantly improved by a lightening-speed side of greens.

There are so many salad kits to choose from these days, from Cesar and Mediterranean to blue cheese and avocado ranch. Most stores have pre-washed, ready-to-eat kits, and many are even organic. Using salad kits also makes it easy to fill your plate with more veggies than anything else.

5. Make Your Own Salad Dressing

Yes, even when you’re using a pre-made kit, it doesn’t hurt. When it’s so easy to whip up your own salad dressing, there aren’t too many excuses for using the grocery store ones that are packed with weird artificial ingredients and preservatives.

I’ll admit it, some days I make those excuses. But more often than not–if I don’t have a jar of homemade dressing already–I’ll just pour some olive oil and vinegar on my greens. Olive oil and vinegar are both really healthy foods on their own. Both are particularly awesome for your skin.

Plus, when you compare the simplicity of a homemade vinaigrette with the laundry list of ingredients on your favorite brand’s bottle, you’ll feel way better about taking that extra minute.

Note: I really don’t think this defeats the purpose of a salad kit, since I still have all the other ingredients they put in there.

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6. Buy Pre-Cut Veggies

Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys food prep? I doubt it. It’s why the chef at every big restaurant has a kitchen of cooks. The chef does the fun stuff–the cooking and stirring and experimenting–while the cooks stand in a line chopping onion.

When you buy your veggies pre-cut, it makes you so much more likely to actually use them. I know after a long day, the idea of standing at my counter grating a carrot is just a big no. But if all I have to do is open a bag, voila, carrots are now part of dinner. This applies to everything from broccoli to butternut squash.

7. Stock Up on Fruit for Snacks

Snacks are a big deal in our house. Yes, eating a couple moderate-sized meals a day is definitely best to give your digestive system a break. But some days we just do too many things on the go to stop and prepare a big lunch. On those days, we turn to snacks.

One of the easiest ways to eat healthier is to eat more fruit, and fruit is also a really quick, healthy and delicious snack. Apples, bananas and oranges are decent year-round. Most other fruits we tend to stock up on in the summer: peaches, plums, berries, cherries, grapes, etc. I like to soak everything when I get home from the store in a bowl of water and baking soda for a bit, and then portion into bags or containers for the week ahead. 

8. Buy Ready-Made Snacks with Minimal Ingredients

If it’s just not the season for lots of fruit, we reach for the more shelf-stable foods. This is totally not ideal–price-wise and health-wise–but there are some healthier options out there. I try to get organic so I know two things right away without thinking about it every time: 1. It’s not genetically-modified and 2. It’s not some type of food (grains included) that’s been treated with strong pesticides and herbicides that are now known to cause disease.

Some of my favorites include Mama Chia chia seed pouches, apple sauce (if I don’t have my own in the fridge) and small tubs of yogurts. I also appreciate Siete chips and/or Siete Mexican wedding cookies, and That’s It fruit bars. Neither of those last two are organic, but they have very few ingredients, and all ingredients are pretty whole and plant-based. 

9. Nuts and Seeds Are Your Friends

Another tip for healthy snacks? Nuts, nuts, NUTS! And seeds, too. Hardly any food compares in terms of nutrition + fillingness. Nuts and seeds can be added to meals or eaten alone. Some studies have shown that eating a handful of nuts before a meal can greatly reduce overeating.

My favorite method of staying full via nuts is by using ample peanut butter in my smoothies. And as far as seeds go, I keep a bag of ground flaxseeds (unusually high in omega-3s!!) in my fridge door to quickly add fat and fiber to my smoothies, too. Overnight chia seed pudding makes an indulgent breakfast any day (also ridiculously high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids).

And on the go, my purse is never without a baggie of hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios or macadamias. 

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Peanut Butter: A Vital Ingredient

10. Make Hard-Boiled Eggs for the Week Ahead

The flexitarian lifestyle is all about being flexible, and eggs are the animal-based food that I eat most regularly. Although there are some hands up in the air about saturated fats, most nutrition experts (and peer-reviewed studies) agree that the benefits of eggs outweigh the risks. (And it’s now known that sugar is also a huge culprit in heart disease, plus an unhealthy lifestyle in general.)

Eggs are packed with choline, which is important for eye health, brain health and overall cell health.

My favorite thing about eggs is that I’ve found they are the easiest animal product to find at farmer’s markets and farm stands, so buying locally is almost always an option. Making a batch of hard-boiled eggs is one of the easiest ways to eat healthier, providing a clean and nutrient-dense protein source for at least a few days ahead. 

11. Meal-Prep Grains

Another great food to make ahead is any type of whole grain. Having a big container of quinoa, rice, or millet in the fridge makes it super fast and approachable to throw together a delicious meal, especially grain bowls. If you have some frozen veggies on hand, some meal-prepped tofu and a container of yogurt to whisk with lemon and garlic, you instantly have a delicious Buddha bowl!

Grains can also be used as a side to just about any protein, topped with anything from homemade sauce to a dash of liquid aminos. And if you need a little extra pizazz in your salad, it never hurts to toss some quinoa in, either. 

12. Choose Complex Whole Grains Over White Carbs

Speaking of meal-prepping grains, one of the best ways to eat healthier is to pick complex whole grains instead of white refined ones. If you’re meal-prepping pasta, choose whole wheat spaghetti over white. For rice, go brown or wild. And better yet, try more interesting grains like quinoa, millet, bulgur, and farro. (Not to sound the alarm but, if you eat lots of rice, it’s worth learning about the arsenic in it.) When baking, use whole wheat flour over all-purpose. (And if you can get away with it, use almond flour over wheat.)

Complex carbs take longer to digest, and when you eat them your blood sugar rises in a much more moderate way. With white flour, your blood super spikes fast, sending your body into a whirlwind as it tries to soften the blow by funneling the sugar out of your blood and into safer places, like fat cells. Or your liver (not really safer, is it?).  

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13. Replace Tuna and Other Big Fish with Anchovies and Sardines

There are a lot of issues with both farming fish and depleting the ocean of wild-caught fish. Plus, there is the very real issue of consuming mercury when consuming everything from tuna to lobster. Sardines and anchovies are some of the safest fish–for your body, and for the environment.

Environmentally, the nets for these tiny fish are less likely to trap other wildlife. Plus, anchovies and sardines both repopulate quickly. And as far as mercury, they test way lower than other fish. (Their teeny size helps them accumulate less heavy metals.) Plus, these bad boys are super high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are amazing for your brain, mood, metabolism, etc. If you’re trying to replace other meats with fish, these are the ones to go for. 

Note: Avoid all fish from Portugal, as it is a sorely over-fished region.

14. Drink Water Over Anything Else

One of the easiest ways to eat healthier is actually to drink healthier! It’s all about what you’re consuming, right? As Kris Carr once said, when you drink a big glass of water, it’s like giving your insides a refreshing shower.

Different countries and cities have varying levels of water cleanliness, so the best practice here might be to buy your water from a water store. After a fair amount of research, our household settled on reverse osmosis and we add the minerals back in with a mineral dropper. You can also invest in a reverse osmosis or other filtration system for your whole house.

On the flip side of what you’re drinking is what you’re not drinking. Most importantly, limit sugary and/or alcoholic drinks. When it’s time to make dinner fancy, opt for seltzer water. Your body will thank you tomorrow. 

15. Eat Whole Foods (Not Processed Ones)

This is a more general tip, but it matters. The more whole foods you can get into your body, the less room you’ll have for processed foods. What exactly are whole foods? Anything in its whole, unprocessed form, like any produce (fruits and veggies), honey, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu (it’s minimally processed), meat, chicken, fish, whole dairy products (butter, milk, unprocessed cheese) and spices.

Anything from the middle of the grocery store that doesn’t require some kind of fridge is very likely processed food with a list of ingredients and a spray of preservatives. There are a few exceptions of healthy pantry food (mentioned above under snacks and nuts), but overall you’re better off making most things you eat yourself. 

Not Too Hard, Right?

I hope it goes without saying that no one needs to eat perfectly healthy, or that such a thing even exists. There is just no need to be rigid. The stress from worrying about what you’re eating is more harmful than actually eating whatever you’re worrying about.

Your body is a beautiful system with detoxing methods naturally built in. You don’t need a diet of lemon water and maple syrup if you eat a bag of chips. You have a liver to clean you out. The goal is just to not overwork it too much.

Enjoy your life. Eat mostly healthy. You’ll feel better when you do, and you’ll even feel better on those occasions when you don’t. Your body will ALWAYS do what is best for you. It will ALWAYS try balance things out. It is built for homeostasis (achieving stability). Your body wants you to be alive and thriving.

No matter what you do, no matter what you eat. You can recover from just about anything, if you treat yourself and your plate with care. And as you can see, it does not have to be infinitely hard. Just pick one or two things and start there. See? Easy.

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