10 Health Hacks for a Healthy Weight
By Yvette Quantz, RDN, CSSD, LDN Eat Fit Acadiana / Eat Fit SWLA Registered Dietitian & Eat Fit Operations
Have you ever wondered how some people maintain their health with ease and minimal effort while others are overwhelmed on where to start? Why is it that healthy habits come naturally for some and not others?
When it comes to health, adopting good habits is essential. However, changing habits and behaviors for long term success is difficult to sustain. In my experience, adopting small changes over time is key to long term success. Learning to cut through complicated steps and simplify how to implement a healthy habit is often referred to as a health hack.
Do you have a favorite health hack? Here are some of my favorites. Use these or your own as you move into 2019!
- Keep a food journal. Studies show keeping a food log or diary—recording what you eat—can help you lose weight and keep it off. There are many apps on the market to help easily track your food intake, but even just keeping a pen and paper is helpful!
- Drink up! Drink more water that is. Staying hydrated is one of those tried and true health hacks. Staying hydrated promotes a healthy weight by improving overall metabolism as well as decreasing overall energy intake.
- Toss the temptations. Remove the junk food, cookies, cakes, candy and more from your pantry and fridge. Keep your kitchen stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient dense foods. And keep those foods visible and easily accessible. (Think veggies cut and ready to eat eye level in the fridge or fruit on the counter.)
- Spice up your morning cup of joe. Try replacing the sugar and cream in your coffee with a dash of cinnamon. Not only is cinnamon calorie free, but there are many health benefits associated with cinnamon. Cinnamon has been found to help reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides as well as serve as an antioxidant to help boost your immune system. Try sprinkling cinnamon in your coffee grounds before you brew!
- Less is more. Switch to a small plate size and you could reduce overall calorie intake by 20 – 30 percent. Also, when heading out for a treat, opt for the smaller version of the real thing (such as ice cream) versus a larger size of the reduced fat version. That’s right! Eat the REAL stuff, not a lower fat version. Studies show people tend to eat more of a lower fat version. There’s a health halo effect of lower fat foods making people eat more and therefore it’s counterproductive.
- Choose fresh. Eat more fresh, minimally processed foods. Generally speaking, fresh foods will have a higher nutrient density content with more fiber and less sugar than packaged or processed counterparts. Can’t always access fresh fruits or vegetables? Check out the next health hack.
- Stock your freezer. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, soups, and stews. Frozen fruits and vegetables are an easy and budget-friendly way to ensure you’re always prepared for a healthy meal or snack!
- Shut down screen time. Turn off the TV and remove yourself from the computer or smartphone when eating. Screen time is associated with poorer food choices as well as overeating. Step away and focus on your meal instead of being filled with distractions during meal time.
- Swap the sweets. Replace your favorite dessert with fruit. Not only is this a way to consume fewer calories and added sugar, but it’s an excellent way to increase overall nutrient intake.
- Sit down, slow down, taste and enjoy. It takes about 20 minutes for us to realize we’ve had enough to eat. Therefore, eating quickly means we are more likely to overeat. One simple hack is to put your fork down in between bites!
Yvette Perrier Quantz is a registered dietitian with a passion for inspiring and empowering people to nourish themselves with foods, words, thoughts, and actions that fuel them for better living. As Ochsner’s Eat Fit Acadiana Operations and Marketing Dietitian, Yvette works with local restaurants to bring healthy menu items into the community.
Eat Fit is a nonprofit initiative of Ochsner Health System designed to help the community live their healthiest, strongest lives possible. The team of Eat Fit dietitians works closely with restaurants, markets and other foodservice establishments from fine dining to festivals to identify and develop dishes that meet the Eat Fit nutritional criteria. These items are identified directly on the menu with the Eat Fit seal of approval, making the healthy choice the easy choice when dining out + traveling.
Free to all restaurants and foodservice partners, Eat Fit encourages nutritious choices whether an individual is looking to lose weight, feel better or look better, as well as help to manage health issues including diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. With more than 100 unique partners in the New Orleans area, Eat Fit NOLA has expanded to Eat Fit Northshore, Eat Fit Bayou, Eat Fit BR and Eat Fit Acadiana, and will continue to expand statewide with support by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana.
The Eat Fit team connects deeply within the Eat Fit communities, serving as a resource for all things wellness. Download the Eat Fit smartphone app to find Eat Fit restaurants with full nutrition facts of Eat Fit menu items, as well as recipes, community wellness resources, and to connect with a health professional in your area.
Follow @EatFitNOLA, @EatFitBR and @EatFitAcadiana on Facebook and Instagram, and @OchsnerEatFit on Twitter, and download the Eat Fit smartphone app for more details.