By Kristin Neusel, MS, RD, LD, CDCES
Gut a second? We've got a few super simple tips and tricks that seem small but can have a big impact on your overall health. Here we go...
One of our favorite healthy food hacks is actually not a food at all—it's meal planning. It's incredibly helpful to plan out your meals for the upcoming week. Not only does meal planning save you time and money, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight and manage blood sugar levels.
Keep in mind that options may be limited in the grocery store. Check the internet for healthy meal recipes and double up your portions.
As you're food shopping, be on the lookout for foods that are high in fiber, which are key for feeding your gut healthy bacteria, helping you manage blood sugar levels, and helping you feel full longer.
It's easy to get fiber by eating fruit, vegetables, and lentils. Whole grain bread is also a great source of fiber, and plain popcorn is a yummy, fiber-filled snack.
Another unexpected tip for eating healthy is frozen foods. Frozen foods are usually all about convenience. After all, they can last a long time and save you trips to the grocery store. But they can also be all about health.
Crockpot meals are an easy way to cook high-fiber meals which you can store in the freezer until needed.
The best way to do this is by using a Ziploc® bag with the recipe name and ingredients written on the bag .
When it's time to make your meal, combine the already-prepped dry ingredients in the Ziploc® bag with any remaining wet ingredients, and pop it in the crockpot. Easy, delicious, and healthy!
Fresh fruit and veggies
Canned and frozen fruits and veggies are also healthy options (seriously!). The nutritional value of canned and frozen food can actually last up to a year. Just make sure to check those labels for any unhealthy ingredients such as additional sodium or syrup.
Getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is recommended (broken down into 30 minutes a day for 5 days/week).
Physical activity can help manage blood sugar so muscles can absorb glucose from foods that you are eating.
Remember—exercise doesn't have to be at the gym or over-strenuous. Taking a walk around the neighborhood or a park is also a great way to stay active and get some fresh air. Walk your dog or go for a walk with a friend. It's not only good for your body, but walking is also good for mental health, too.
As you can see, getting healthy doesn't have to be daunting. There are easy, simple changes you can make for both your gut health, and overall health.