Healthy Eating Hacks – Creative Solutions for a Common Challenge | By Jaime Slavin
We all could use some shortcuts to eating more healthfully, particularly with one of the busiest seasons just around the corner. Knowing a few “hacks” to improve your nutrition will help to keep you healthy during the late summer season, and ideally will become part of your healthy living routine. Here are six creative solutions to some common nutrition challenges.
- How to drink more water
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Unfortunately, a lot of us fall short when it comes to meeting our daily hydration needs. While recommended glasses per day vary depending on your activity level, your age, any medications you are on, etc. the one constant is making sure you are sipping water throughout the day. Try this tip: take a reusable water bottle and mark the hours of the day for every 200 ml. This will keep you on track and hydrated all day.
- How to eat more greens
Eating greens can become very cumbersome when we sit down to a big salad bowl. Try wilting, sautéing, and steaming greens (think: spinach, collards, rapini, swiss chard) to get more greens in you. The amount of greens that wilt down into a serving size is mind-boggling.
- How to make a quick breakfast
Do you have a “prep day”? If so, good on you for making the time for your health and nourishment. If not, now’s the time to pick a day of your week or weekend where you can use two hours to prepare for your meals for the week. Don’t forget breakfast, which often gets overlooked or rushed. Use this prepping time to make separate baggies or containers of your favourite smoothie blends. You can mix and match different fresh fruit or already frozen fruit (and veggies that freeze well: such as beets, blanched spinach, or veggie pucks) into containers, along with your favourite nuts or seeds. Pop this in the freezer and when it’s time for your morning smoothie, add your liquid base and you’re good to go!
- How to eat less sugar
Read labels and choose wisely. Low fat usually means high sugar. Zero sugar usually means artificially sweetened. Avoid sweetened yogurts and non-dairy milks. Choose unsweetened varieties. Swap sugary condiments such as ketchup for mustard and chocolate bars (which are really candy bars) for 70 per cent (and higher) cacao bars.
- How to decrease inflammation
Need a quick anti-inflammatory fix? Perhaps you worked out too hard or you are dealing with pain—chew on ginger! A little goes a long way, and grated fresh ginger helps to reduce inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory compounds (called gingerols). Take ginger straight up on a spoon if you love the taste. If not, you can add it to your salad dressings, stirfrys or soups.
- How to not overeat
Eat before you eat. Heading to an end of summer BBQ? Eat a handful or two of berries before you go. The fibre will help hold you over while everyone is munching on chips and dip. Attending a wedding party? Snack on sliced veggie sticks with a bean dip prior to heading to the party so you can skip the often calorie dense but nutrition devoid hors d’oeuvres.
JAIME SLAVIN is a nutritionist, registered dietician, Masters of Public Health, food educator and advocate for your health and wellbeing. JAIMESLAVIN.COM