By Suzanne Boothby
Lifestyle changes can be hard to make and sometimes you might feel overwhelmed with the time commitment. Have you ever skipped the gym because you didn’t feel like you had an hour to spare? Have you ever missed making a healthy breakfast because you were rushing out of the house?
We’ve all been there, and one way to combat this mindset is to practice some quick and easy health hacks.
A life hack is defined as any trick, shortcut or skill that helps increase your productivity and efficiency, in any area of your life. A health hack is a shortcut or small act that can have a big impact on your health.
Of course, getting healthy is a journey that takes time, but on the way, you can start by focusing on small, quick healthy habits that can lead to big results.
If you or someone you know has only five minutes to dedicate to wellness a day, what can they do? The answer is a whole lot.
Here are 7 health hacks you can try today (or pass on to a friend who wants to feel their best too).
1. Make Overnight Oats
Timing is everything. This breakfast only takes 5 minutes to make—you just have to remember to make it the night before. Time is one of the most common reasons many people skip breakfast, which can lead to reaching for a high-sugar option instead. Overnight oats are equal parts rolled oats and liquid (like a plant-based milk), plus any add-ins you want such as nuts, seeds or fruit. Here’s a recipe for PB & Banana Overnight Oats.
2. Read the Label Or Pick More Foods Without Labels
Tons of junk foods now try to sell you on their healthier attributes. While many foods tout health benefits on the outside of the box, it’s what’s listed on the label that counts. Take the extra minute or so to read the label and use the rule that if you can’t pronounce one or more of the ingredients on that list, put the box down. Bonus points for skipping foods that come in a box at all.
3. Boost Your Brain With A Daily Meditation
Taking just 5 minutes a day to close your eyes, sit quietly and focus on your breath—whether it’s in your office chair or sitting on a meditation cushion—can help improve cognitive abilities and reduce your stress levels, according to research. Making a little quiet time in your day can lead to a better mood, too. And we all know we make better choices for our health when we feel better.
4. Add A Dash of Cinnamon
A teaspoon of sugar may help the medicine go down, but just a half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day can help regulate your blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides levels, according to a study. Plus, if you swap out cream and sugar for cinnamon, you can easily reduce almost 100 calories from your morning.
5. Drink More Water
Not only is water essential to all life on the planet, but it’s vital for nearly every metabolic function in the human body. Start your day with a glass of water to get rehydrated after you sleep. Also, drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before meals will support satiety so that you eat fewer calories. One study found that people who drank 16 oz (500 ml) of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks.
6. Practice Mindful Eating
This hack may increase the time it takes you to eat a meal, but it’s an easy trick to remember. Put down your fork and knife between bites. If you pay more attention to the food you eat, you will naturally enjoy it more and your brain and stomach will have more time to communicate a sense of fullness. Read more about Mindful Eating.
7. Make A Juice
Juicing is an easy way to consume more vegetables and fruit in your day. To make the process go faster, keep a list of recipes for when you want to make a juice. If you prep your produce (wash and chop) as soon as you get home from the store, you can easily make a fresh juice in 5 minutes or so. Clean-up is another story, but here are some tips for that. Or when you make a juice, make a double batch drink half right away, and store the rest of your juice for the next day.