No matter how healthy we think our life is, you can always do better. We all can. Thanks to the wonders of social media (Instagram in particular), you have daily inspiration to kick your health into high gear. And you also have daily reminders that you’ll never create the perfect beautiful smoothie bowl or look that good when you work out. Sigh. The number one reason that so many of us aren’t quite as health-focused as we know we should be is because it takes a lot of work. We’re busy people and we’re tired much of the time. We work too much, sleep too little, and trade the gym for Netflix all the time. But it definitely doesn’t have to be this way forever. You can change (and not just because it’s a new year). Here are 15 lazy ways to eat healthy.
15 Get Into The Smoothie Game
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that smoothies are insanely popular. There are entire cookbooks devoted to them and everyone from your mom to your BFF to the vegan food bloggers you love seems to be making them on a regular basis. You can too. Smoothies are super good for you because they’re a simple way to have your fruit and eat it too, so to speak. You can just blend the fruit of your choice (berries are a popular one) with a banana and whatever milk you want and you’ve basically got your morning meal or anytime snack covered. Add some fat like almond butter and a scoop of protein powder if you want to stay full. Smoothies take zero effort to make and a few seconds to drink, so they rock.
14 Forget About Breakfast
Wait, what? Didn’t your mom tell you to never, ever skip breakfast? Yes. But times have changed and so have official guidelines. The U.S. recently released their “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” and the report includes the statement that it’s not unhealthy after all if you don’t eat breakfast. If you find that getting up in the morning is really rough (and you probably do because don’t we all?) then don’t make life harder by making a fancy breakfast every single morning. As long as you eat a healthy snack or early lunch, you should be fine. What’s lazier than that?
13 Eat The Same Lunch And Dinner Every Day
Okay, so eating the same foods day in day out might get a little boring. But do you want to be absolutely fascinated by your meals or do you want to be healthy? Thought so. As long as you come up with a few basic meals, you can mix-and-match the ingredients and make small substitutions so you feel like you get more variety. For example, eat a salad every day for lunch. You can vary your proteins (tuna, chicken, beans, tofu, whatever you want) and your veggies (kale, spinach, lettuce, peppers). Dinner can be easy grain bowls which have become pretty popular. You can enjoy quinoa, millet, or brown rice topped with steak, salmon, etc. Add whatever toppings you want (avocado, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes). Your decisions will be made for you and you’ll be less stressed.
12 Flavor Your Water
Do you hate water? Or do you just not drink enough (or any at all – yikes)? You can drink more water and be super lazy about it if you jump on the flavored water train. This is a super simple way to drink something delicious without even thinking about it. You can find some easy recipe ideas online – try this yummy Orange, Blueberry, and Basil version from Cooking Light – and fill a pitcher every morning. Chances are your coworkers will be insanely jealous and start coming up with their own ideas. Maybe you can even share your water. So easy.
11 Cut Back On The Cocktails
You don’t have to stop drinking – that would be kind of crazy – and you definitely don’t have to stop laughing with your BFFs on a Friday night out. But unfortunately, alcohol isn’t the greatest for us and it packs a lot of calories. A typical red or white wine can be around 150-200 calories. Those numbers can seriously add up fast. If you enjoy one drink or max two a week, that’s no big deal. Cutting down on your drinking is easier than you might think, if you find some fun things for you and your friends to do that don’t involve getting super drunk. Besides, you’re getting too old for that, aren’t you?
10 Plan On Sunday Nights
It’s not a news flash that healthy eating takes some planning, and by far the most popular time to do that is on Sunday afternoons. But what’s a girl to do when she wants to spend the last glorious day of her weekend sprawled on the couch binging her latest TV addiction? To be super healthy yet super lazy, you can plan your meals on Sunday evening. It’ll take an hour max and you can portion all your office snacks at this time too. Life will be so simple when all you have to do in the morning is grab your pre-packaged carrot sticks and apples and head to the subway.
9 Swap Pasta For Quinoa
You love your pasta. Of course you do. But you don’t love how crazy high in calories it is or how it makes you want to sleep for a thousand years afterward. Enter quinoa, the healthy woman’s best friend. You’ve probably heard about this miracle grain (well, it’s actually a seed) but you might not have included it in your diet yet. What are you waiting for? Quinoa is a healthy carb that has protein and fiber and tastes yummy. If you serve meat sauce over quinoa or enjoy it with those turkey meatballs that you just found the perfect recipe for, you’re upping the nutrition of your favorite meals without much extra effort all. Quinoa only takes 15-20 minutes to make and all you have to do is boil it in some water with salt and pepper.
8 Eat A Handful Of Nuts Daily
Take your favorite nuts to work every day and enjoy a handful when your stomach starts growling at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. You will immediately be healthier because it turns out that nuts are some of the healthiest foods we can eat. This is because they have both the good kind of fat that your body loves and because they’re also high in protein. You’ll also feel less full even from just a few small almonds or cashews. Good things really do come in small packages it turns out.
7 Choose Your Habits
The fact is that healthy eating is like anything else: a habit that you have to get into if you want to see positive results and reap the health benefits. You can fall into the habit of doing lots of unhealthy things like face-planting into a pizza at the end of a busy day or drinking beer instead of water at night. Instead, make healthy habits your priority. But since you don’t have a lot of energy or willpower, you want to do this in the simplest way possible. Decide what you want to focus on: eating more veggies, eating less meat, or eating healthier or less carbs, and then get into the habit.
6 Shop Once A Week
Many of us stop off at our local grocery store or supermarket when we need a forgotten ingredient for a recipe we’re finally going to try, or when we’re starving after a long day at work. That’s not the best way to get healthier. Shop for food only once a week You’ll have healthy food on hand which makes it a billion times easier to actually eat the stuff, and you’ll also waste less time wandering aimlessly through the store trying to remember what you should be buying. Since you’ll be spending money on fresh, healthy food, you’ll be more willing to actually eat better since you won’t want to have shelled out at that cash for nothing.
5 Don’t Try Everything
Variety is the spice of life or so they say. That’s definitely true, but if you’re going to get into every new trend – kale is the most popular vegetable of them all, you should eat spaghetti squash instead of pasta, you should eat in season and locally – you’re going to drive yourself crazy. The goal here is to get healthier while barely trying, right? So don’t get tempted by trendy new ingredients or health fads. Just focus on eating food that you know is good for you and you’ll be fine.
4 Become BFFs With Avocado
Everyone else is already absolutely obsessed with avocados, and there’s no reason why you can’t be too. They’re not only insanely delicious and creamy, but they could just be the world’s healthiest food. They not only have fiber and fat that you should be eating, but they’ve got potassium just like bananas. The best thing about avocados is how effortless it is to enjoy them. You can add them to a smoothie to make it thicker, you can use them as a substitute for cheese in a sandwich or on top of chili, and you can even just eat half of one as a super filling afternoon snack.
3 Don't Skip Meals Or Snacks
You might be tempted to eat less food because you think that's what getting healthy means. Stop immediately. You absolutely should be eating -- your body and mind need fuel to focus, and besides, no one wants to feel hungry all the time. What's the point of that? When you put it this way, eating healthy is super easy because it mostly means that you actually eat and don't skip any meals. The only exception is breakfast, as mentioned above, but that's only if breakfast is too impossible to make every day or if your stomach doesn't do well with food first thing in the morning. Your body needs snacks too -- the general rule is two a day at most.
2 Stop With The Junk Food Already
When you're feeling lazy you eat more junk food -- everyone does. But you can get healthier without much effort at all and here's how: stop eating junk food. Of course, you don't have to give it up entirely -- you can splurge once or twice a week because life is meant to be lived and no human could really ever give up pizza and french fries -- but it shouldn't be a daily thing. If you can do that, you'll feel much better, have more energy, and over time it won't be much effort because you'll like how you feel when you swap cookies for carrots. Promise.
1 Have Fun With Food
Ultimately, you need to enjoy what you’re eating because happiness is really the healthiest thing of all. Have more fun with food. You can buy more colorful fruits and veggies – a bright orange, lemon, or lime is pretty awe-inspiring and generally, the brighter a food’s color is, the healthier it is. You can have more fun in the kitchen if you adapt recipes to make them better for you. It’s totally possible to cook without spending your life standing at the stove, and you might even enjoy coming up with smart kitchen hacks to ensure that you’re eating well without putting in much time. Stick with it and in no time at all you’ll be laughing, wondering why you didn’t try to eat healthier before.