Health

10 Easy Healthy Diet Hacks

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to have the time (or energy) to prep and cook elaborate meals at home.

The key to eating healthy and staying healthy is making lifestyle changes that become good habits. Incorporating a few diet hacks into your routine now will lessen the time you spend planning nutritious meals later.

If you have limited time in the kitchen, or you don’t have time to waste on developing a weekly nutrition plan, use these tips to work towards a healthier you.

1. Prep Meals in Advance

Sure, making three meals a day — plus snacks — for seven days ALL at once sounds intimidating. It’s actually easier than you think. You’ll thank yourself when you’re late for work on Monday morning and can grab your lunch from the fridge and go.

Pick one day a week to plan your meals, go grocery shopping, and prep for success. Prepare several meals that you can easily heat back up throughout the week.

Take the time one night a week to portion out your snacks into individual baggies. Cut, raw vegetables are perfect as snacks. This way, they’re ready for you to grab so you won’t run out for fast food or opt for chips at the office instead.

2. Order Your Own Appetizer

When you go out to eat with friends, you probably split an appetizer and order your own entrée, right?

Surprise! You can eat healthier by having an appetizer all to yourself and splitting the entrée.

Most appetizers are more appropriate for one person than the gigantic entrees most restaurants serve. Unless you order the appetizer sampler — that doesn’t count.

When you’re with friends, you’re more likely to order an unhealthy app as a group. On your own, you can choose a salad or soup as a starter to fill you up before sharing the main course.

3. Sneak in Your Veggies

Blending veggies and sneaking them into recipes isn’t just for parents trying to trick their toddlers.

Whenever you can, sneak veggies into your meals by blending them with other ingredients. If you like smoothies in the morning, this is an easy decision. A handful of spinach will add a healthy dose of iron, magnesium, and calcium to your breakfast.

You can use this hack when dining out, too. Order a burger without meat, such as an Unbeetable Burger, to satisfy your cravings while cutting calories.

4. Roast Vegetables for the Week

If you like vegetables, try roasting a big batch of your favorites to munch on throughout the week.

Roasting veggies brings out their natural flavor and adds a slight sweetness that they don’t have when raw. Try lining a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and roast combinations of veggies light broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, and red peppers.

As you prepare meals during the week, add these crisp veggies to lunch salads or into an omelet for breakfast. You can even serve them as a side dish.

5. Skip Frying and Bake or Grill

As much as you love adding oil or butter to the bottom of your pan to keep ingredients from sticking, know that it adds unnecessary calories to your meal.

If you grill foods, there is nothing for them to stick to. This is the same when baking foods with the indirect heat in your oven. In most cases, you’ll find that grilled or baked foods (meats especially) will be juicer, more tender, and more flavorful than when they’re fried.

6. Eat Protein First

If you usually eat larger portions than recommended, try eating your protein first to fill up before eating extra carbs and sugar.

Protein is super satisfying and will give you more energy than bread or pasta. Eat your main first, then move on to the sides if you’re still hungry.

7. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand

You’re more likely to stop by the vending machine at work if you don’t prepare by bringing a snack from home or stock your office with healthy options.

Keep healthy single-serve snacks with you at all times. Preparing them doesn’t have to be a hassle. Choose convenient snacks such as trail mix, apples, clementines, nut butters, or popcorn.

Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs are also nutritional snacks if you can keep them refrigerated throughout the day.

8. Stockpile Frozen Foods

Life is busy. It’s easy to buy produce and let it rot on your countertop or in your fridge and pick up takeout on the way home.

There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on frozen foods!

Most frozen foods are flash-frozen, meaning they are picked at the optimal ripeness and nutritional value is retained. Keep staples in your fridge such as edamame, cauliflower, corn, peas, and spinach.

You can also buy protein such as chicken, shrimp, and fish in bulk and freeze it. This will make cooking at home much easier.

9. Don’t Cut Out Sugar Entirely

When dieting, most people opt for an all-or-nothing approach to consuming sugar. This isn’t always the easiest plan to stick to, and you’re more likely to fail if you don’t give yourself a break.

The more sugar you eat, the more you will crave. As you lessen your intake, the cravings should subside. So, treat yourself every once in a while. Just don’t make it a habit.

10. Go for the Ice Cream

Speaking of sugar, most people believe that opting for a popsicle or sorbet is the smarter option over ice cream. Wrong.

Cream-based desserts have less sugar than sorbet per cup. So, indulge in an ice cream cone for that rewarding treat you’ve been waiting for.

Turn These Diet Hacks Into Healthy Habits

Which of these diet hacks will you work into your weekly routine to make eating healthy easier?

Making small changes to your cooking habits and food decisions will have a big impact on your daily nutrition. You’ll consume less sugar and empty carbs while increasing your intake of vital minerals and vitamins.

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Health

The Importance of Omega-3 Fats to Overall Health

Most people have heard about the necessity of including omega-3 fats in their diets, but they are unsure of the food sources that supply them. Busy work schedules and long days tempt people to eat quick and easy meals from a fast food restaurant or pre-made dinners from the freezer. A steady diet of “manufactured” foods can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as a lack of essential omega-3 fats.

Why Do You Need Omega-3 Fats?

Omega-3 fats are essential to good heart health. The inclusion of omega-3 rich foods in the diet are believed to considerably lower the risk of fatal heart attacks. Over the centuries, the human diet has changed drastically. The hunter-gatherers who subsisted on their hunting and fishing skills along with the natural plant life they gathered, had a diet that contained a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats

Most of the food they consumed was low in total fat and saturated fat. As humans have become more dependent on manufactured foods, including vegetable oils and margarine, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is out of balance from the original 2:1 to 10-20:1.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fats

The primary benefit of omega-3 fats is improved heart health. Your cardiovascular health benefits from lower blood pressure, fewer triglyceride concentrations, and an improved endothelial function, which promotes the growth of new blood vessels. 

Omega-3 fats also contribute to healthier and stronger bones, protection against both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, reduced risk of Crohn’s disease, and lessens the chance of developing autoimmune disorders, such as lupus and nephropathy. 

Medical research has determined omega-3 fats assist in promoting the growth of new blood vessels and are antiarrhythmic, antithrombotic, antiatherosclerotic, and anti-inflammatory. Some research suggests omega-3 fats also reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods Containing Omega-3 Fats

The foods listed here contain natural omega-3 fats. Avoid processed foods that have “added” omega-3 fats.

  •  Flaxseed oil
  •  Flaxseed (whole or ground)
  •  Salmon
  •  Chia seeds
  •  Caviar
  •  Sardines
  •  Mackerel
  •  Radish seeds (sprouted or raw)
  •  Walnuts
  •  Butternuts
  •  Tuna fish

These are just a few of foods containing omega-3 fats, and the list starts with items containing the highest quantity. An online search will provide you with many more foods, and you are sure to find some you will enjoy adding to your diet.

Omega-3 fats are necessary for good heart function and health. If you haven’t been getting an adequate supply in your diet, start adding omega-3 fat-rich foods to your daily meals. Your whole body will benefit from this essential food element.

Health

Different Types of Essential Oils

Essential oils are the aromatic oils which are derived from various plants by the process of steam distillation. Since these oils contain aromatic compounds they have a strong fragrance. While oils can be derived from almost all plants by separating the water based components from the oil, only some of these oils are used in medicines, healthcare, beauty, skincare products, food and other wellness applications. Most of these oils should be diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba oil before being used. Some of the Different types of essential oils which are used extensively for aromatherapy, wellness, and healthcare and skincare applications are discussed below.

Lavender oil is one of the most widely used essential oils due to its pleasant fragrance, relaxing effect and help in treating cuts and bruises. The oil is used for stress alleviation helping the person relax. It can be also used for treating cuts, bruises and boils. The oil is distilled from the lavender plant.

Tea tree oil is an oil which is used mainly for treating skin problems. It can help reduce acne, make acne and other scars less visible. The oil is also used for treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot. The oil is distilled from the Tea tree grown in Australia and is also used in skincare products

Calendula oil is derived from the calendula flowers also called marigold. The oil is suitable for treating acne, reducing scars. It is used for treating problems of those who have sensitive skin. The oil can be added to the bath water for those who suffer from psoriasis

Eucalyptus oil is obtained from the eucalyptus tree. It is widely used for boosting immunity and protecting the person from cold, fever and related illnesses. It can be used to treat problems related to the respiratory system like nasal congestion. However the oil should always be used in the diluted form.

Peppermint oil is distilled from the peppermint herb. It is one of the few essential oils which is edible and can be ingested. It is widely used for treating indigestion and other problems of the digestive tract. It is also used for improving the brain function and boosting immunity

Frankincense oil has been used for thousands of years for religious functions due to its pleasant smell. The oil is used for its relaxing properties, reducing the stress levels and treating depression. It can also help in boosting immunity, reducing inflammation and treat cuts, bug bites.

Oregano oil is extracted from the oregano herb. The oil contains the ingredients, thymol and caracole which have anti-bacterial properties, preventing the growth of disease causing bacteria. The oil can also help to boost the immunity of the user, fighting cold and other similar illness, though it has an unpleasant taste Chamomile oil is made from the chamomile flowers and has a pleasant smell. Though chamomile tea is widely consumed, the oil is convenient to use. This oil is used for relaxation, reducing anxiety and stress levels. Hence the oil is applied to the pillow cover to help the user sleep well.