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It’s no secret that healthy eating is of utmost importance for your general health and happiness.
But sometimes, it can be a little difficult.
You don’t necessarily have the time or even the knowledge to make each meal healthy and balanced. (Check out my healthy eating for beginners article to help with that!)
This is why I decided to help you by compiling some easy tips to eat healthy! Adding a few of these to your eating routine can help boost your health journey with very little effort.
Hopefully you find some of these helpful!
Easy tips to eat healthy
Healthy eating swaps
An easy way to eat healthier without really realizing it is to try swapping some of your foods with more nutrient-dense alternatives. By this, I don’t mean that you should replace your regular pizza with cauliflower crust or have lettuce buns in place of actual burger buns. (Unless you love these things, of course!)
It’s really important that these swaps remain enjoyable to you and that they don’t become an obsession— it’s fine to have the other option once in a while!
With that being said, here are a few things you can try:
- Replace instant oatmeal with rolled oats
Instead of buying packets of quick oats with added sugar and flavoring, try out rolled oats! They are less processed and contain more fiber and protein, and no added sugar. Steel-cut oats are even less processed, but I find that their texture is totally different from instant oats, whereas rolled oats can still have that comforting mushy taste. Try them out to see which one you prefer!
- Replace refined grains with whole grains
I can’t say this enough— replacing refined grains with whole grains is such an easy way to get in more fiber, protein, and nutrients in general. Even better, whole-grain consumption is associated with many health benefits and is protective against chronic diseases [1, 2].
You can opt for whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta, things made from buckwheat flour instead of white flour, brown rice instead of white rice, whole-grain bread instead of white bread…
- Choose your nut butter wisely
Nut butters are a great healthy and filling snack, but they aren’t all created equal. Some of them contain more high-fructose-corn syrup and hydrogenated oils than actual nuts. Check the label and make sure that you’re only getting ground up nuts, or even make it yourself!
- Add spiralized veggies to your noodles
A little disclaimer here— I’m not suggesting that you replace your entire noodle dish with zoodles (zucchini noodles) because that would be sad. I don’t want you to focus on reducing carbs (read my article on why carbs are healthy here!) but rather on boosting the nutrient density of your meal.
This can easily be done by mixing some spiralized veggies (zucchini, carrots, turnips, squash…) into your noodles! Add some sauce and you won’t even notice they’re there! For more tips on how to sneak veggies into your meals, read my article on healthy eating when you don’t like vegetables here.
- Choose healthier oils
Oils can be a great way to get in some healthy fat and make your food taste better and more satisfying. Instead of using canola oil or sunflower oil, choose olive oil, flaxseed oil, chia seed oil, or avocado oil! Read my article on the best oils to consume here!
- Switch up your salad dressing
Let’s be honest, a salad without any salad dressing just isn’t the same. But instead of using bottled dressing, why not replace that with hummus or tahini for a protein boost? Or try mashed avocado and lemon juice for some healthy fats and vitamins, or even some nut butter (yes, I tried, and it’s delicious!) Don’t hesitate to play around with different ingredients to get the taste just right.
Easy food hacks
Here are a few easy food hacks to make your cooking easier and healthier with very little effort!
- Use frozen veggies
There’s a common misconception that fresh is always better when it comes to vegetables, but that is not true at all. In fact, many frozen fruit or veggies can even have more nutrients than fresh ones because they were frozen at peak maturity.
Add that to the fact that you don’t always have time to cut up veggies and you have a great reason for buying them frozen. If you prefer, you can also cut them yourself and store them in airtight containers to always have some on hand. You can also cut up and freeze some fruit in order to make easy on-the-go smoothies.
- Sneak more nutrients into your smoothies
Still on the topic of smoothies, they are great vessels for sneaking in some healthy foods that you never get around to eating. Add in some spinach leaves for a nutrient boost without changing the taste, or some zucchini to make it healthier and more creamy!
Adding some white beans is also a great way to get in more protein while adding some oats can help step up your fiber intake. I also love putting some seeds into my smoothies for a very easy nutrient boost!
- Add seeds to everything
Speaking of seeds, add them to your soups, salads, yogurts, or sandwiches in addition to your smoothies! Seeds have a multitude of health benefits  plus you have such a big variety to choose from!
I love adding pumpkin or sesame seeds to my soups, chia seeds to my smoothies or fruit bowls, flax seeds and hemp seeds to my salads…You can also make your own seed mix by combining your favorite seeds in an empty jar and just sprinkling that on your food. I also love mixing my seed mix with my nut butter!
- Sprinkle herbs and spices
So don’t hold back and add your favorite spices to your meals, and top it off with some fresh herbs. I love making red lentil dishes with garlic, curry, turmeric, pepper, and fresh cilantro for instance!
Healthy eating habits to try
Here are a few more tips that relate more to kitchen organization or cooking in general:
- Make healthy foods more visible…
It’s so much easier to eat what you see! Put a big bowl of fruit on your kitchen table instead of a cookie jar, rearrange your pantry so that the healthiest options are in front, stock the eye-level shelves of your fridge with a bunch of pre-cut veggies, have a mix of nuts and seeds on your desk instead of a bag of chips…
You’re way more likely to reach for the healthier options this way!
- …and more accessible
Along those lines, you need to make it as easy as possible for yourself to choose the healthier option. This is where meal prepping can help because It’s much easier to heat up a healthy and balanced meal than to cook everything from scratch.
A big reason why people eat junk food or takeout is because of its convenience, so do everything you can to make the healthier options convenient too. Also, don’t hesitate to cut up some fruit and pre-make some fruit salads on days where you have the time— your future self will thank you!
- Make your own version when you can
A lot of your favorite “unhealthy foods” certainly have a more nutrient-dense alternative that you can make yourself. From homemade pizza to homemade granola, from homemade burgers to homemade oatmeal cookies, there are so many delicious recipes to try! This doesn’t mean that you can never enjoy the non-homemade version, of course.
- Create some go-to meals
Sometimes, no matter how seriously you take your healthy eating journey, you just have no meal inspiration. For these days I recommend coming up with a few go-to meals or snacks that are always available and that you can whip up very quickly.
My favorites include whole-wheat pasta with fresh tomato/garlic/basilic sauce and a side of salad with nuts, brown rice with red and green beans topped with tomato sauce, nut butter on whole-wheat bread with fruit on top, or some chopped veggies with hummus. (I now make my own hummus with chickpeas, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender in 30 seconds— can’t believe I used to buy it already made!)
Healthy eating also means enjoying your food
Now that you have all these easy tips to eat healthy, I want to remind you that enjoying your food and taking pleasure in eating is very important as well.
While I definitely encourage you to try these tips, it’s important that eating remains a pleasure and that you don’t force yourself to eat in a way that doesn’t bring you joy. No foods should be off-limits, and this article is not about removing “unhealthy” foods, but more about upping the nutrient content of your food in an easy way.
In addition, when you have a specific craving, there’s no need to try and replace it with something healthier, it won’t make the craving go away!
Easy tips to eat healthy in conclusion
If you’re looking for some easy tips to eat healthy, I recommend trying out some healthy eating swaps, such as replacing refined grains with whole grains. There are also a few food hacks that can help, like sneaking healthy foods into your smoothies. Some simple healthy eating habits like making healthier options more accessible are also worth a try!
Just remember that healthy eating also means enjoying your food, and that you shouldn’t force yourself to do these hacks if they aren’t satisfying to you.
If you’re interested in nutrition, its impact on our health, and the science behind it, you should definitely read How Not to Die. In this book, Doctor Michael Greger, founder of Nutrition Facts, examines the top causes of death in America and explains how your diet can prevent— and in some cases even reverse— them. His advice is all backed by science and he writes in a very clear and entertaining way. This book isn’t a list of what you already know. It will teach you the keys to living a long healthy life, in a simple and practical way, and without spending fortunes on supplements and pills!
PLUS if you want to take it a step further, you can check out the How Not to Die Cookbook to implement the advice easily!