No matter how disciplined we are or how well we meal prep, none of us are perfect when it comes to nutrition. You’ve been tracking your macros for almost two months now—and hopefully eating as clean as possible—but I know how exhausting the grind can sometimes be.
Here are three nutrition hacks that have helped me live a happier, healthier, and fitter life. I hope they’ll make it easier for you to stick to healthy eating and stay on the fast-track to results.
1. Never Grocery Shop While Hungry
I bet you’ve experienced this before: You walk into the grocery store with a grumbling stomach and before you know it you’re in the snack aisle. It’s a mistake we’ve all made, and it can totally derail your nutrition. When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to impulse-buy and go for sugary, salty, processed foods, than when you’re satisfied.
What to do? Plan your trip to the store so you can make sure you’re well-fed before you go. I often drink water on my way to the store so I feel full and can get down to business once I’m inside. For many of us, it’s just easier to keep those tempting foods out of our homes. Out of sight, out of mind! It’s also helpful to write out your grocery list beforehand and use that as your unbreakable guide through the supermarket.
2. Make Sure Your Diet Is Full Of Healthy Fats
There are two main types of fatty acids in our diets: omega-3s and omega-6s. Americans get too many omega-6s, which are found in vegetable and seed oils, packaged foods, and fatty meats, and not enough omega-3s, which are found in chia seeds, flax seeds, and fatty fish (or quality fish oil supplements). A few other plants, like kidney beans, spinach, broccoli, and winter squash, also provide omega-3s.
Both fats are important for our health: Omega-6s support things like our bone health, metabolism, and reproductive health, while omega-3s support our brain, eye, and heart health. But it’s all about balance, which we kind of suck at. Try to cut down on vegetable oils and packaged foods, and fill your diet with lean cuts of meat, plenty of plants and seeds, and maybe a fish oil supplement. This way you get more of the fats you need, plus the other good stuff that comes along with them in those nutritious foods.
3. Get Creative With Your Veggies
If veggies aren’t your favorite, I get it. But they’re important and you need veggies—and greens, especially—every single day. (The recommendation is five servings a day, guys!) And I promise, it’s a lot easier with a little creativity.
Try throwing a handful of kale or spinach into the blender the next time you make a protein shake. Or stir fry onions, asparagus, garlic, and broccoli to eat with your favorite protein. Pack your salad not just with spinach or kale, but with carrots, squash, and cauliflower. All of these tricks will add volume and a ton of nutrients—but not a ton of calories—to your meals. Suddenly those five servings a day doesn’t seem so impossible, right?
Ultimately, if you’re really struggling to stay on the healthy-eating bandwagon—or feel like you’re just not seeing the results you want—meet with a qualified health professional, like a dietitian, to make sure you’re fueling your body for max benefit.