It looks like our lady of leisure days may be coming to end, girls. Restrictions are softening, states are reopening, and sooner than we may realize we’ll have to come to terms with the fact that the steps we’re taking to the fridge aren’t getting us to our health goals.
Sheltering in Place is like a vacation. The first few days you’re enjoying the option to eat, sleep, lounge and maybe squeeze in a response to an email if there’s time. Once day 7 rolls around, your diet is showing up on your skin and you’re actually looking forward to your standard bed sheets and repetitive work week.
If a silver living can be found in this collective pause, it’s that most of us have had some increased level of time like we’ve probably never had or ever will again. Time that has hopefully been spent assessing what’s truly important in and around us. We all know that it doesn’t take more than a few days of eating junk for you to start feeling like it. But I get it! We like what we like and taking on a diet remodel sounds like a little much on top of all of this.
The thing about making a significant and lasting improvement on yourself is that quick fixes don’t work, not for the long run they don’t. If you’re cutting out every single thing that you enjoy thinking you’ll just adapt, you’re kidding yourself. The key to success with any kind of habit reset is that it makes sense in your life. So, chances are that unless you’re a professional body builder, your diet consists of more than 3 solitary items.
If you can find a way to keep the majority of the items that you enjoy eating in your pantry by just making them cleaner and more wholesome, you’ll find that it really does become second nature. Making smarter choices even on a small scale can have a huge impact! Here are 5 health hacks to get your body right that aren’t doing too much.
Switch to a nut milk
If you’re like me, then milk and cereal were staples in your diet growing up and a gallon of milk steady sat in your refrigerator. Milk is one of those products that can hang out on the border of healthy and unhealthy. Dairy itself does have healthy nutrients like calcium, Vitamin D, and protein but it also contains high levels of sugar and saturated fats that can lead to higher cholesterol levels and a risk of coronary heart disease. Incorporating a non-dairy milk, can be a simple swap with huge benefits! Today, we see milk in a variety of forms – almonds to cashews to oats and rice! The options are truly endless and what a perfect a time to experiment. Start small by trying a splash in your coffee or morning smoothie.
Know Your Oils
An oil’s health benefits depend largely on the amount of fats and the heat at which it’s used for cooking. Health experts across the board agree that extra virgin olive oil is the leader of healthy oils because it’s less refined therefore of higher quality and contains a ton of monounsaturated (the good) fats that support a healthy heart. Olive oil is perfect for baking and homemade dressings. Keep in mind the oil’s smoke point, which is simply the point at which an oil begins to smoke and become ineffective. Since olive oil’s smoke point is relatively lower than others, avoid using it for frying. Avocado and sunflower oils both have higher smoke points, are unrefined, and lack a overwhelming flavor making them ideal for sautéing and roasting veggies!
Perfect a Tahini Dressing Recipe
Do not judge this oily, sludgy paste by its unappealing cover! Tahini has such a powerful flavor that can really elevate an otherwise plain dish. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and combined with just a little bit of water, lemon juice, salt, and garlic makes a favored topping for salads, grain bowls, and even grilled meats. Tahini also contains more protein than milk or nuts and is a rich source of Vitamin B that boots energy and brain function as well as Vitamin E which is protective against heart disease and stroke. A quick Pinterest search can take you from savory to sweet to spicy for a combination custom made for your taste buds!
Add a Protein Shake Into Your Daily Routine
You can go to any fitspo page and find them pushing a protein powder and there’s a definite reason for it! Protein is an essential building block of bone, muscle, cartilage, skin and blood. Consuming high levels of protein helps to reduce appetite and keep you fuller longer, build muscle mass, boost metabolism, increase your fat burning ability, and lower blood pressure. A protein shake is a delicious way to catapult your protein intake with almost no effort. There are so many options that can suit an individual’s goals or lifestyle from plant-based to lower calorie and very little way to go wrong.
Roast or Grill All The Veggies
If you struggle to fill up half your plate with leafy greens and raw vegetables, then start grilling and roasting immediately. Adding some char and crisp to a vegetable instantly kicks it up a notch in the flavor department. A tray of roasted bell peppers or zucchini paired with a light dip (that Tahini one you master up above!) is the perfect chip swap. I find that even just throwing a couple of handfuls of mixed veggies on a sheet pan after tossing in oil and roasting them in the oven is an easy way to have that summer BBQ mood in a variety of meals throughout the week!
Keep in mind that good health – and even a healthy diet – is not determined by one single food group. Eating a variety of colorful, nutrient dense foods coupled with managing caloric intake, exercising regularly, and limiting most of those unhealthy habits is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy body for summer and beyond.
Jasmin Wells is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur rambling her way through it all. Her favorite pastimes include soul searching, oversharing, and spreading light through her Instagram stories.