By Regina Wheeler
The good life - sometimes it can feel like the secret to health and happiness is a complicated recipe, and as we’re bombarded by health advice from experts it seems less and less attainable. But finding good health doesn’t have to be complex - building healthy habits is about making small changes day to day, finding ways in which you can add to your life, rather than stripping away the things you love. Here are 8 health-inducing habits which are easy to implement and have the potential to change your life.
1) Yes, It’s Vegetables
Government advice consistently recommends that we eat five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. At first it can seem impossible to pack this much nutrition into our diet - so start building good habits that increase your vegetable intake. Rather than going for a diet overhaul and setting impossible standards, try eating a coupe of portions of fruit at breakfast, such as an apple and a banana. At dinner, add some green veg alongside whatever you usually eat. Start adding vegetables on the side rather than rethinking your meal plan entirely and you’ll find it all adds up.
2) Keep On Snacking
Experts in nutrition have long recommended snacking throughout the day as it stops us from binging on unhealthy foods when we find ourselves starving. Keeping a consistent intake of food also promotes a faster metabolism, burning calories quicker. Try to snack twice a day between meals - but that doesn’t mean munching a packet of crisps. A packet of sultanas, a piece of fruit or a protein bar can keep the unhealthy urges at bay.
3) The Fresher The Better
In our busy lives it’s hard to find the time to cook from scratch, but frush foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that frozen or prepackaged food has lost. Rather than opting for reheated frozen vegetables, for example, try steaming something fresh.
This goes for everything from meat and fish to grains. Batch cooking at the weekend can be a way of building healthier meals into your diet - try cooking from scratch whenever you find the time.
4) Staying Hydrated
Humans are as much a part of nature as any plant or animal and accepting that you share some needs with your houseplants will set you on the road to health. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water each day will give you more energy, suppress hunger and make you feel good. If you struggle with water intake, try buying a flask or bottle that encourages refilling and drinking.
5) Shopping Seriously
Oftentimes the first hurdle to overcome when pursuing health is the shopping trip. Shopping consciously means considering everything that goes into your basket, resisting impulse buys and staying aware of how advertising is affecting your purchases. Planning meals and sticking religiously to a shopping list before you go will prevent those unhealthy items sneaking into your basket.
6) Limiting Sugar And Salt
We’re surrounded by products that offer little or no nutritional value, and whilst we all need a treat sometimes it’s important to limit the intake of these items. Sugary sweets and sodas are full of preservatives and packed with calories, whilst processed food is often packed with salt and can have implications of your blood pressure and heart health. Too much of a good thing...
7) Keeping Alcohol Under Control
Unwinding with a drink at the end of the day is often an integral part of our routine, but recognizing the implications of an alcoholic beverage on our wellbeing is an important part of fostering a lifestyle of health. Alcohol is empty calories and contributes to increased weight, but it can also have broader implications on your sleep and recovery. As with everything, moderation in alcohol consumption is key, and if you can replace alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic variants you’ll feel the benefits immediately.
Good health doesn’t have to be hard. Taking a conscious approach to your health often reveals how small changes will stack up into big benefits, from snacking on fruit and veg to the way that reducing alcohol intake can boost your mood and lead to better sleep. Adapt your lifestyle day to day with these common keys and you’ll have unlocked the good life in no time.
Regina Wheeler is a freelance writer at Academicbrits.com and Phdkingdom.com. She’s a trainee yoga teacher, nutritionist and is passionate about health and fitness. She also writes for Nextcoursework.com.