One healthy choice here and there may not make much of a difference in your health, but making several small changes at once can lead to some incredibly noticeable results! Believe it or not, it doesn’t take much to improve your health. Start slowly by utilizing a few simple changes at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle! As each day, week, or month passes, try to add another one or two of them to your routine.
30 Simple Changes for Living a Healthier Lifestyle
The healthy lifestyle tips below can change your life if you can practice them consistently. Improving your diet has the greatest impact on weight loss, although exercise and other lifestyle habits play a major role as well. Begin with as many as you’d like and progress from there! After some time has passed, you will notice a huge difference in the way that you look and feel.
1. Rid the kitchen of junk!
If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it! Clear the pantry and refrigerator of any unhealthy ingredients now, so that they can’t tempt you later.
2. Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
Once the kitchen is free of junk food, you can head to the store. Before you go, be sure that your belly isn’t grumbling. Going to the store hungry can be disastrous for your waistline as well as your wallet. Fill up on some protein and healthy fats first—like these Avocado Stuffed Deviled Eggs—to keep yourself from throwing any unplanned goodies in the cart!
3. Don’t be afraid to expand your palate.
As you make your shopping list, think about the foods that you like to eat. Choose a base that you know you enjoy, like salmon, for example. Once you know the kind of food you want to make this week, search our recipe database for exciting new recipes! You’ll come across ideas like this Curried Salmon and Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe. Expanding your palate and trying new flavors will make it easier than ever to stick to a healthy eating plan.
4. Head to the store with a list (and stick to it!)
So you’ve chosen the meals that you want to make this week and now it’s time to make your list. Include everything that you’ll need for your recipes, as well as anything else you may want (like coffee). In fact, write coffee down first just to be sure you don’t forget it! Once you’ve made your list and have checked it twice, you can head to the store. When you get there, stick to the list. I know the BOGO ice cream is tempting, but leave it in the freezer case where it belongs! Trust me; you’ll thank me later.
5. Avoid “diet” food.
While “diet” food may sound like a good idea, it’s often a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That peanut butter labeled as “reduced fat,” neglects to tell you that there is “added sugar” to make up for the difference in taste and texture. Additionally, “sugar-free” usually means that other artificial sweeteners have been added to maintain sweetness. For these reasons, it’s best to walk right past the “diet food.” Instead, focus on natural, whole ingredients. They typically contain way more nutrients and have not been tampered with!
6. Take some time to prep your meals for the week.
Meal-prepping is not only beneficial to your health, but it’s also a great time and money saver! Check out our Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Prepping for all of the best tips. Eating meals that were prepared at home provides you with the knowledge to know exactly what you’re putting into your belly! No surprises!
7. Change your cooking methods.
If you’re using our recipes, chances are that you’re already using healthy cooking methods. If you’re not using our recipes, you may be unsure of what cooking methods are superior to others. It’s probably no surprise that you should avoid both deep-frying and pan-frying. These two methods add an incredible amount of unhealthy fat and calories to your dish.
You should also avoid microwaving food in plastic containers any time that you can, as the chemicals in the plastic may be making their way into your food. Acceptable forms of cooking include, but are not limited to: steaming, broiling, grilling, baking, roasting, slow-cooking, and pressure cooking.
8. Focus on your food.
We are a society of multitaskers. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can be detrimental to our health if we’re not careful. We all do it: Come home from a long day of school or work and plop ourselves down in front of the TV with a clicker in one hand and a fork in the other.
Eating while focused on something else can easily cause us to consume more than we actually need to. Instead, try focusing on your food for each meal of the day. This will help you to become more mindful of proper portions, and allow you to save some calories in the process!
9. Eat off of smaller plates.
Speaking of appropriate portion sizes, eating off of smaller plates is a proven way to accomplish this! Think about it: The bigger the plate, the more likely we are to pile on some extra food to fill it up. If you use a smaller plate, you’ll eat less.
Check out: Simple Ways to Cut Calories for Weight Loss
10. Practice differentiating boredom from hunger.
Are you really hungry? Or are you just bored? Most of the time, it’s the latter. To figure out if you’re really hungry, drink a full glass of water and wait 20-30 minutes. If your stomach starts rumbling, you probably need a healthy snack. Eating when you’re bored is extremely common, but it’s also a big reason for the obesity epidemic. Instead of occupying your time with mindless eating, find an activity that will keep you busy.
11. Find protein sources that you enjoy.
You’re not going to stick to the program if you aren’t looking forward to your meals! If you’re not a fan of eggs, you can still make a protein rich breakfast with ingredients like almonds, chia seeds, or oats. Not a seafood lover? We have plenty of chicken-based dishes that are just as full of protein! Protein is SO important to living a healthy lifestyle, so it’s crucial that you find sources you enjoy!
12. Prioritize protein in the morning.
Protein doesn’t just help build muscle; it also helps you recover from workouts faster, burn more calories throughout the day, and feel fuller for longer. Consuming protein early in the day will help you to stay on the right track all day long!
Check Out: 5 Ways to Get More Protein at Breakfast
13. Increase the amount of protein that you eat throughout the day.
Eating a solid serving of protein in the morning is an excellent step in the right direction, but you should make it a habit to get at least a little bit of protein into every meal. The current daily recommendation for maintaining muscle mass is to consume 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. This means that if you weigh 120 pounds, you should aim for 120 grams per day.
Start with 10-15 grams at each meal, and work your way up to 20-30. As you build a collection of favorite healthy recipes, it will become easier and easier to consume more protein!
14. Choose wheat, not white, whenever possible.
Why is wheat better than white? White bread and pasta have been refined and processed, which means nutrients have been extracted and other ingredients have been added in. Wheat, whole-grain bread, and pasta hold onto a lot of their naturally occurring nutrients—including fiber!
15. Choose low-calorie veggies more often.
While it is true that each vegetable contains different levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, some options are more nutritious than others. Furthermore, some vegetables (like potatoes) are noticeably higher in calories than others and should be limited. Brightly colored veggies (like bell peppers, salad greens, carrots, and tomatoes) can be consumed in much larger quantities. They’ll fill your belly without adding hundreds of calories to your day.
16. Eat your fruit instead of drinking it.
Contrary to popular belief, blending your fruit is not better than chewing it. When you drink your fruit, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest it. This means that you burn fewer calories and absorb fewer nutrients because you digest it faster. Chances are, you’ll be hungrier a lot faster than you would have been had you just eaten the fruit as a whole.
17. Learn to make healthier choices when eating out.
Many of us can stick to a diet pretty easily throughout the work week. Once the weekend rolls around, it becomes a free-for-all. Fortunately, just because you’re trying to get in shape doesn’t mean that you have to cancel your social life. You just need to learn to make healthier choices! These are the 12 Healthiest Foods to Order When Eating Out. If you can stick to this list, you’ll be able to stick to the plan!
18. Ask for dressings and sauces to come on the side.
Most restaurants have a bad habit of slathering their dishes in calorie-dense dressings and sauces. For this reason, any time you’re eating out you should ask for dressing and sauce on the side. Additionally, ask for light to no seasoning. That way, you get to determine how much you’ll use, if any at all! By doing this, you can save yourself hundreds of calories.
19. Mind the small things.
When we start dieting, we have a tendency to focus on making healthy meals. While this is an incredibly helpful step in the right direction, it’s important to pay attention to the small things as well. This includes things like dressing and condiments, but also things the cream in your coffee. You must understand that everything you eat has calories in it. Pay attention to everything that you put into your mouth so that you know what needs to be adjusted if your progress stalls!
20. Never sit down with the whole bag.
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make while simultaneously being one of the most easily avoided! Always, always, always divvy up serving sizes. Never take the whole bag of chips or container of cookies with you. Take a serving and put it away! It is way too easy to eat the whole bag, especially while watching TV or scrolling social media. Save yourself the guilt!
21. Stay hydrated.
I debated listing this one as number one just because it’s so incredibly important, but I figured I’d just emphasize that here. Dehydration slows weight loss, increases cravings for all kinds of unhealthy foods, leads to feelings of lethargy, and causes us to become irritable and unfocused. Yuck; am I right?
This is why we highly recommend carrying a water bottle with you everywhere that you go! You should aim to consume a minimum of eight 8oz. glasses of water per day, but more is better! Remember, by the time you feel thirsty you’re already technically dehydrated, so drink often!
22. Flavor your water naturally.
Are you one of those people that has a difficult time drinking enough water because you don’t like the way that it tastes? If so, try these 7 Ways to Make Your Water Taste a Whole Lot Better! Trust me, they’ll help!
Stop getting hung up on what “type” of exercise that you’re going to perform and just move! Take the kids for a walk, go on a bike ride, or jog up and down the staircase a couple dozen times. Getting up and moving is the most difficult part. Start small and work your way up to more challenging forms of exercise from there.
Remember: Everyone has to start somewhere! You’ll be amazed at how quickly your endurance will improve if you stay consistent.
24. Try different forms of exercise.
Once you’ve made it a routine to get up and move, you can widen your horizons and challenge yourself further. If you’ve been walking for a while, get on a jogging or running program. Looking for something more challenging? Hit the weights!
Not sure where to start? Try our 7-Day Intro to Weight Training Fitness plan or get yourself a trainer! Want something more exciting? There’s always Zumba or Spin class.
25. Take a class.
Speaking of Zumba and Spin, taking a class is an excellent way to learn a new form of exercise and increase motivation! Aside from the fact that you’ll feel more comfortable with an exercise after working with a trained professional, participating in group training can push you to work harder than ever. Meeting people with the same goals can be exceptionally helpful. See for yourself and take a class.
26. Rest when you need to and work harder when you don’t.
A big part of getting healthy is learning to become more in tune with your body. There will be days where your body actually needs to rest. You’ll start to notice the difference between feeling lazy and genuinely being exhausted.
If your whole body aches and basic tasks are wearing you out, you probably need a rest day. That’s okay; it’s part of the process. Take a day off and get back to it tomorrow. Try not to skip multiple days if you don’t absolutely have to though, as that can start a dangerous trend. Once you get back into the gym (or wherever it is that you exercise), give it all that you’ve got!
27. Set an alarm at night.
Wait, what? You heard me. Setting an alarm isn’t just for waking up anymore! It’s also a good way to remind yourself that it’s almost time for bed.
Sleep plays a key role in living a healthy lifestyle. When you are well rested, you’re more likely to make healthy eating choices and get your workouts in. Set an alarm for an hour or so before bed so that you can begin your night time routine. You don’t have to do this forever, just until it becomes a habit to go to bed at an appropriate time each night.
28. Take the steps required to get a better night’s sleep.
Okay, your bedtime alarm has sounded but don’t go straight to bed. Put away all of the blue-light emitting electronics, including your cell phone. This will help your brain realize that it’s time to go to sleep. Perform your nightly hygiene habits and turn down the air conditioning (or open a window if it’s cool enough outside.) Laying down in a cool dark room will give you the best chance at a solid night’s sleep. When you wake up well-rested, you’ll be prepared for another great, healthy day!
29. Don’t place too much emphasis on the scale.
The scale is not everything. Weight can fluctuate up to several pounds per day. Just because it’s up a few pounds doesn’t mean that you gained a few pounds. It could be water, salt, or even digestion-related (if you know what I mean.) As long as you’re making consistent healthy choices, trust me when I say you’re moving in the right direction!
Keep doing what you’re doing. Obsessing over the scale is only going to hurt you. Try not to weigh yourself more than once or twice a week. Instead, take circumference measurements around your waist and hips or try on old clothes. It’s a great feeling when you can button up a pair of shorts that you haven’t worn in five years! The scale is not the end-all.
30. Lay out alternative ways to reward yourself.
As fun as it is to plan a cheat meal, it should not be the only way that you reward yourself! Instead of eating a giant bowl of ice cream, buy yourself a new bikini or plan a fun weekend away at the beach! Of course food should be enjoyed, but too many cheat meals can land you right back where you started.
What do you think of these Simple Changes for Living a Healthier Lifestyle? Not too challenging, right? As stated above, you don’t have to make all of them at once. Choose a few to start with and progress from there.