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5 Effortless Tricks To Make Healthy Eating Easy

5 Effortless Tricks To Make Healthy Eating Easy

There’s no question about it: eating healthy 100% of the time can seem like a near impossible goal—especially if you’re not used to eating that way on a regular basis.

But along with consistent exercise, healthy eating is what’s really going to help you reach your goals. It can be the difference between finally achieving the body of your dreams and never quite getting there. Plus, it’ll make you feel better, give you more energy, and help you perform better in your workouts.

And the great thing about it? Healthy eating doesn’t have to be that difficult.

Because when you know what you should be focusing on and how to structure your meals around your busy days, eating healthy can actually be enjoyable—and surprisingly effortless.

Here are five tricks to make healthy eating easy:

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1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast every morning

Protein is what keeps you full, fuels your muscles, and helps you keep a strong and lean physique. Starting your day out with around 30 grams of protein will not only help get you through the morning without feeling hunger pains, it will also help you feel less snacky and get less cravings for sugar and carbs later in the day.

As a bonus, since protein is harder for your body to break down than carbohydrates, a high-protein meal can actually increase your metabolism by up to 30% for as long as 12 hours at a time.

2. Carry healthy snacks with you everywhere

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get food on a regular basis, I become what can only be described as “hangry.”

This used to be hard on my family and friends, because they would never know when I would get too hungry and “turn on them.” And as a result, I would usually be forced to get something unhealthy to snack on such a muffin or a bagel, both poor choices to fuel your body throughout the day without packing on the pounds.

But preventing “hangry” moments or unhealthy snacking when out and about is easy—as long as you do a little planning ahead of time. Doing so will not only help you avoid unhealthy foods, it will keep you from being hungry constantly and make the people around you very, very happy.

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Here are a few ideas of easy, healthy snacks you can carry with you at all times:

  • Almonds and other nuts (but avoid sugary trail mixes)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Protein powder (just mix with water for a quick and easy protein shake)
  • Apples, oranges, grapes and other fresh fruit
  • Protein bars (just avoid ones with high amounts of sugar or added ingredients)

3. Make veggies a main part of every meal

If you’re not a big fan of vegetables, I’m going to take a wild guess and assume you’ve just never had them cooked right.

Because canned, over-sauced or flavorless veggies aren’t on anyone’s list of favorite foods. But fresh, just ripened, in-season veggies? There are so many good ones to choose from—broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, peppers, and more—you’re bound to find at least a couple you like.

And once you find a few that you love (or at least can tolerate), start making them a main part of every meal. Add them to omelets, toss them in salads, make stir fries with them, and even include them in smoothies. Aim to make them at least two thirds of your plate as often as possible.

Before you know it, you’ll not only find that you might actually start to like vegetables, your body will start to crave them because of how good they make you feel after eating them.

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And when you fill up on veggies, you’re much less likely to gorge yourself with junk food later on.

4. Eat whole foods whenever possible

One of the easiest ways to eat healthier without trying too hard is to simply focus on avoiding processed foods and include as many whole foods as possible in your diet.

So what exactly are whole foods?

Whole foods are foods that have been processed or refined as little as possible and are free from additives or other artificial substances. They typically don’t come in a box, can, or container, contain little to no added ingredients, and unlike their processed counterparts, are packed with complex micronutrients and dietary fiber.

Eating whole foods mean you’ll frequent your local farmer’s market instead of the canned foods isle, choose whole grains over refined ones, and eat fresh local fish over highly processed TV dinners.

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It may take a little getting used to, but once you discover how food is supposed to taste, eating healthy will become much more natural to you.

5. Don’t deny yourself your favorite foods

Do you dream about chocolate chip cookies? Love a good burger once in a while? Crave pumpkin pie on a crisp fall day?

Good. Don’t stop eating those foods. Limit them, yes, but don’t cut them out of your diet altogether.

Why? Because while it may seem counterintuitive, when you cut all of your favorite foods out of your diet completely, not only will it cause to you feel deprived and bitter about eating healthy, more often than not it also leads to a binge eating session of those very same foods when you’re at a moment of willpower weakness.

And the truth is that if you’re working out and keeping active on a regular basis, allowing yourself a few small treats every once in a while will not only make you happier about eating healthy the majority of the time, it will also make it more likely that you’ll stick with healthy eating in the long run.

But just remember, while having your favorite not-so-healthy foods here and there is a perfectly acceptable part of any healthy diet, don’t forget to treat them as they are—special treats.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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