Most health-related articles tell us to cook our own meals if we want to get healthier. But let’s admit it: that’s easier said than done. First of all, not everyone can cook. And even if you know how to cook, thinking of what to cook can be mentally draining. When your brain is already exhausted from work, you lose the mental capacity to come up with recipes. As a result, you go for the usual comfort food, which is often deep-fried meat and other unhealthy but satisfying dishes.
Dieting and sticking to a fitness routine require commitment, which not everyone has the energy to give. So avoid the pressure of diet fat and health trends using the following hacks:
1. Buy Frozen Vegetables
If frozen produce and livestock retain their nutrients, the same is the case for frozen veggies. In fact, frozen vegetables could be healthier than fresh ones. Their fat, protein, and carbohydrate content doesn’t change. They also contain more vitamins and minerals than fresh veggies, because in general, fresh food loses vitamin and mineral content over time.
And, of course, frozen food—not just vegetables—offers a more convenient meal planning. They usually come chopped, saving you time in the kitchen. Just thaw them, toss them in the pan, or pop them straight into the oven. All they need is a few seasonings, and you’d have a healthy side dish or main course.
2. Order Precooked Meals
For a faster and even more convenient way to eat healthier, go for precooked meals. If they get cold, all you need to do is heat them up in the microwave. You can bring them to work too, allowing you to save money and avoid fast food.
Just be sure that you’re ordering healthy precooked meals. Avoid anything too oily, fatty (unless it’s healthy fat), salty, and sweet. Precooked chicken strips are a good choice; you can combine them with a salad and some whole grain. But the chicken strips shouldn’t be breaded; otherwise, they’ll increase the fat and sodium content of your meal.
3. Choose What You Eat Mindfully
Not everything labeled “healthy” is good for you. The American Heart Association recommends comparing the nutrition information of various “healthy” foods before selecting one. You should go for the option with the lowest sodium, added sugars, saturated fat, and trans fat. Ideally, you should also avoid anything with hydrogenated oils.
Calorie count also matters, but don’t obsess over them. The key is to consume the calories you also burn in a day. So if you exercise for an hour daily, you can consume up to 2,000 calories per day, for example. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, a dietitian would most likely recommend a calorie-deficit diet because you don’t burn a lot of them during the day.
4. Don’t Force Yourself to Go on a Diet
The Internet is full of diet fads, making some of us feel bad for not having a certain diet, like the keto diet, paleo diet, etc. But the truth is that you don’t need to commit to a specific diet to become healthy and fit. You only need a well-balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
As recommended by the American Heart Association, just make mindful food choices. If you can’t cook, order healthy meals. As long as your body receives all the nutrients it needs, you don’t need to change your meal patterns and plan.
5. Buy Homemade Food
Frozen and precooked meals are good and nutritious, but they tend to lack the taste of “home.” If you’re craving comfort food that isn’t too indulgent, call homemade food delivery services in your area. Some places have local cooks who offer their healthy specialties to busy individuals like you. Their dishes may also give you an idea of which recipes to learn and master.
6. Take Health Supplements
To boost the effects of your healthy meals, combine them with health supplements. Experts recommend filling up with these nutrients daily:
- Vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, strengthen the immune system, and supply us with the nutrients from the sunlight
- Magnesium for better heart health and a calmer nervous system
- Calcium for stronger bones and teeth
- Zinc for increased immunity and energy
- Iron for healthier red blood cells
- Folate for preventing depression or inflammation or both
- Vitamin B-12 for healthier nerves and blood cells
More importantly, cut out your bad habits or vices. Eating healthy alone isn’t enough to prevent diseases and accelerated aging. While you don’t need to commit to anything, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in work to improve your lifestyle. You still need to be more proactive in managing your health than solely relying on shortcuts or hacks.