When I started my fitness journey last year, I knew I had to come up with some simple healthy eating hacks that I would actually stick with for the long run. I wanted to make this a permanent change and not just a “diet” that I knew wouldn’t last.
I am happy to say that it has been a full year since I started eating better and working out and I stuck with it! I have seen such an amazing change to my overall health and physical appearance and I couldn’t be happier.
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I was told that my cholesterol was getting too high at my doctor’s appointment. I knew I didn’t want to be on medicine for the rest of my life so I wanted to take control of my health the natural way, with eating right and exercise.
That is what prompted my healthy lifestyle change.
I know that a lot of people struggle with healthy eating but it is something that you can do without just eating salads and smoothies for the rest of your life.
When I started this lifestyle change, and that is what it is, a lifestyle change not a diet, I knew that I had to make the changes over time so that I would stick with them permanently.
If I just cut out all of the fast food, junk food, and soda all at once, there is no way that I would have made it a month much less an entire year!
Simple Healthy Eating Hacks
The first thing I asked myself when I decided to make this change was, ” How do I start eating healthier?”
These were the changes I was able to make right away without sacrificing taste or ignoring my cravings.
Make Simple Pantry Swaps
The first thing I did was to swap out our pantry staples for healthier versions. If I had any soup mixes, broths, seasonings, etc. I would start buying the low fat, low sodium versions of those items. That small change really adds up and honestly, I didn’t even taste the difference.
I also did this with our dairy items. I started buying 2% milk, cheese, and yogurt instead of the whole milk version to seriously cut down on fat intake.
I also swapped our white bread and pasta for 100% whole wheat versions. This did take about a week to get used to but now I don’t even notice the taste change.
I also started making my own seasonings for tacos and marinades instead of buying the ones in the store. It lets me have more control over what goes in them, lowers the sodium and preservatives, and it only takes a couple of minutes to put together.
Moderation is Key
Another simple healthy eating hack that I did was to use the 21 Day Fix containers to help me get a better idea of what a proper portion should look like.
I used my Beachbody on Demand membership to do the 21 Day Fix workout and I saw that they had a nutrition plan that used the containers.
I will be honest and say that I didn’t stick to the nutrition plan, it was a very strict plan and I knew it wouldn’t be something that I could do in the long run.
I did use the containers for a couple of months when I made my plate so that I could make sure I wasn’t eating too many fats and carbs.
I was able to eat the foods that I wanted but now I was eating the correct amount….and I was never hungry!
I used this simple healthy eating hack on my picky four year old and she is eating more vegetables than ever!
I like to sneak in extra vegetables in things like mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and even desserts ( hello, chocolate avocado brownies) and the kid doesn’t even notice!
I started adding 1/4 of mashed cauliflower to 3/4 of mashed potatoes and just added more as time went on. Now we use about half and half whenever we have “mashed potatoes”.
These are some of my favorite Hidden Veggie Recipes but there are plenty more you can find on Pinterest and by doing a quick Google search.
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How Can I Eat Better On the Go?
I am a busy mom that always seems to be driving somewhere. I knew I had to use some simple healthy eating hacks for when I was on the go. This is what worked for me.
Check Nutrition Info at your Favorite Restaurants
I can’t always make dinner every single night so we have about 10 or so restaurants that are our go to’s for busy nights. Yes, some are even fast food places.
When I started using simple healthy eating hacks, I made it a mission to sit down and go to their websites to check the nutrition information on things I normally would order.
I was surprised to see that what I thought would be the “healthy” option was far from it. Some salads had more saturated fat and cholesterol than an order of chicken nuggets!
By looking at this information before hand, I was able to make smarter decisions on what to order. And try to order fruit over the french fries, that’s a no-brainer!
By using the portion control containers mentioned above, I was also able to visualize what a proper portion should be and saved the leftovers for later.
Eat Breakfast No Matter What
This was a big game changer for me. I never used to eat breakfast because I thought I was too busy. Now even if I am short on time, I grab a banana as I head out the door.
Make sure you eat something for breakfast so you aren’t grabbing unhealthy snacks before lunch.
Keep some fruit, yogurt, pre-made smoothies, or 100% whole wheat frozen waffles at the ready for mornings that you don’t have time to make anything.
Have Healthy Snack Options at All Times
A big change that I made was to the way I snacked. I used to have cookies, chips, and candy in the pantry and would snack on those throughout the day.
I do still have those things on occasion but now whenever I want something sweet, I will eat some yogurt or fresh fruit.
If I want something salty, I’ll eat almonds or I will make some homemade popcorn and add my own salt or seasonings. If I don’t want to deal with cleaning the popcorn maker, a good option is SkinnyPop popcorn. It tastes amazing and it/s so much healthier than microwave popcorn.
I do still eat chocolate but I just eat a smarter portion. I like keeping Hershey Kisses or fun size candy in my pantry. That way I can eat one and satisfy my craving without going overboard.
Planning is Key
Another simple healthy eating hack is to plan what you are going to have for your meals for the week. This doesn’t mean that you have to meal prep and cook everything for the week all in one day. That works for some people, but it just made me more stressed.
I plan our meals and go to the grocery store once a week to get everything that we will need to last us that week.
A big change I made was to buy more seafood like fish and shrimp and less red meat. This has really helped lower my cholesterol and fat intake! We still have steak and roasts, just not as often.
I am a huge fan of slow cooker recipes! I try to plan at least a couple into our weekly dinner routine. I will chop up everything I need to the night before so that I can just throw it all together in the morning before I head out the door.
That way I only have to make a side dish or salad to go with it when I get home. Super easy and so much healthier than getting take out.
These were the simple healthy eating hacks that worked for me and I hope that they will help get you started eating better and living a healthier life.
If you need even more tips and encouragement to stay fit and healthy, check out Becky Mansfield’s course, Lose Weight, Gain Energy. She guides you on how to lose 20 lbs and 6 weeks the healthy way.
It’s all about making small changes over time that will add up in the long run. Here’s to a healthier and happier you!