I guess that all of us sometimes think that our lives and our health could need some improvement. But once you take a look around and read through different books on this topic, you’ll soon be overwhelmed by the amount of advice, programs, and theories out there.
We don’t want you to fall into analysis paralysis or to feel like drowning in a sea of “shoulds” and “must nots”. Changing any kind of habit is work and depending on how long or often you’ve been doing these things, it can be harder or easier to implement new ways of living.
This is one of our older articles which needs to be overhauled soon. We don't stand by everything written here anymore (just take things with a grain of salt) and will do our best to improve this piece in the near future. Until then, simply enjoy your whole plant-based foods and check out our latest articles!
For today, simply take one or two of our tips from the list below and commit yourself to do this every day or every second day – depending on how much energy and time you have. Simply be consistent, a little goes a long way.
Once you stepped up your game by just one tiny habit, you’ll be rewarded with feeling better and therefore be even more open towards change! Now, let’s take a look at all these wonderful options to get motivated.
When it comes to eating right and exercising, there is no ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’ Tomorrow is disease. - V.L. Allinear
How To Become Healthier (Step By Step)
Change barely ever happens all at one - instead of getting overwhelmed and not doing anything, simply start by doing something. Choose from the following list!
1. Start blending
Make a smoothie choosing some of the fruits you find in your kitchen – extra points if you throw in some green leafy vegetables as well. A good base is always bananas and frozen fruit can add a nice texture. Don’t get too crazy with the ingredients and if you’re new to this, stay on the sweeter side. Sit back and enjoy!
2. Meal prepping
Pre-cook a whole bunch of rice (or any starch of your choice) and some veggies or beans for your next few evenings so you’ll have a satisfying and nutritious dinner in no time. The easiest way to do this is by using an Instant Pot of course! When you’re done, just put all of the food in separate containers into your fridge.
3. Get inspired
Read a few pages in any of your favorite self-improvement books. If you don’t currently have one, we recommend “Peace is in every step” by Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Desire Map” by Danielle Laporte and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey.
4. Self-love, baby
Write down a list of things you like about yourself and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Repeat these things to yourself whenever you see them until you feel invincible! Even better when you add things about your soul, your person, something that won't change over time or could be taken away.
5. Ditch dairy
Swap your coffee creamer and sugar in your morning cup of joe for some plant-based milk either without a sweetener or a calorie-free one like stevia. Dairy milk is our number 1 source of saturated fat, it's bad for the environment and actually meant for baby cows. We recommend soy milk or oat milk instead!
6. Starch it up
Eat more complex carbs like potatoes, rice (easy risotto recipe here), bean burritos or some whole grain pasta. These foods give you sustainable energy while at the same time keeping you from loading up on dessert or craving animal-based food. In the end, good carbs are what our cells thrive on!
7. Snack smart
Yes, this is a classic but effective one: Have some fruit as a snack instead of a chocolate bar. Nature's candy will give you a nice amount of essential nutrients and hydrate your body at the same time. The fructose is also able to deal your with cravings for candy!
8. Recharging timeout
Take a 30 minute walk, either listening to nature’s sounds, a guided meditation or to an inspiring podcast like Plant Proof, Rich Roll or The Mindset Zone. This down-time can give you some much needed relaxation and inspiration to go on with the rest of your day.
9. Positive interactions
This can be small things like smiling at strangers, making your colleagues laugh or helping someone out. When you surround yourself with positive energy it will prevent you from being stressed and help you make better decisions for yourself.
10. Eat more legumes
It has been shown in numerous studies that replacing animal-based protein with plant-based protein is the way to go if you want to live a long and healthy life. This is a very good reason to start incorporating more health promoting protein sources like legumes into your meals! They can even be hidden in smoothies or soups. Nobody would say no to a tasty bean burrito, either.
11. Dance it out
Play your favorite music and dance around, even jump if you can. Remember the time you were going crazy on a rebounder as a child? That’s not just great for your mood but also for your arteries, lymphatic system, and waistline! Feel free to join in and sing if you feel that calling.
12. Unplug early
Set an alarm in the evening and unplug all your devices at a certain time. This will allow you to unwind before going to bed at a decent time and get some beauty sleep in. I know it's tough but try to be pretty strict about it and view it as quality time!
13. Get up
Don’t sit down for more than 1 hour at a time if you can because this can significantly lower your life expectancy. Get up regularly, release any build-up tension, stretch, grab some water or take some deep breaths by the window - no matter if it's at work or while watching Netflix.
14. Decrease screen time
While we’re at it: get away from your screens from time to time, don’t go on a 7-8 hours marathon of working, watching videos, writing emails, and scrolling through social media. Unplug yourself from the virtual world for a little and slow down. If you have 30 minutes to linger on Facebook, you have 10 minutes (or more) for some meditation, yoga or even a short workout.
15. Go green
Add some greens to your lunch or dinner for some nutritional boosting and crunchiness. Get creative, make wraps, put it into sauces or casseroles, steam them or prepare a quick green smoothie. You could also make some kale chips for the next movie night if that sounds like you!
16. Leftovers lunch
Don’t grab your lunch at some nearby store, make an effort to prepare it yourself at home. It can even be left-overs from last night or a whole grain sandwich with some nuts and grapes. The bulk-preparing comes in handy here as well.
17. Morning time
Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and practice some yoga in bed, maybe listen to soothing music while doing this. It doesn’t have to be exhausting or perfect, it’s rather a matter of waking up gradually and connecting with your body.
18. Water before breakfast
Drink a big glass of warm (or cold, however you like it) water with freshly squeezed lemon juice in the morning. After hours of dehydration, your body will be more than pleased and the water will wake you up gently before eating your breakfast.
19. Empowering mindset
Listen to some affirmations while you're doing your chores, drive in your car, or even while napping. The powerful, uplifting phrases can shift your mindset towards being more positive, gentle, productive, and clear. Try to get used to a more positive voice!
20. Better breaks
Use your lunch break to go outside and step away from what you’re doing for 8 hours a day. A change of scenery can help you to return with more energy and motivation. Extra points for eating your self-made lunch in the sun.
21. Juice your veggies
If you don't like eating large amounts of veggies, we get it. But how about drinking them? From spinach to carrots, beets, celery and kale - the combinations are endless. Add some fruit to make it taste less bitter. You don't necessarily need a juicer, a good blender will also do. Or how about grabbing some freshly juiced one if you're out and about to make things very convenient in the beginning?
22. Choose gratitude
Whenever you feel stuck and unhappy, think of at least 5 things you are grateful for right now. This makes you realize that you would be perfectly okay if nothing changed in your life and takes the pressure off to help you think straight. This can be turned in a daily ritual or gratitude journaling which is like a prevention for an overall bad mood.
23. Reduce the oil
Try to cook your meals without oil, get some non-stick cookware and steam your veggies in water instead of frying them. Here are some easy oil-free cooking techniques (plus all of our recipes are oil-free). This will keep your arteries healthier and waistline slimmer.
24. Go whole
Stick to the whole-food version of everything you eat. Have brown bread instead of white, get whole wheat pasta, whole grain crackers etc. This also goes for olives or nuts instead of oil! This swap will give you more nutrients and the fiber keeps you full for longer.
25. Personal connections
Call a loved one, meet them somewhere and have a relaxing, inspiring conversation. Plus points for hugging it out, since this is extra good for your hormones (that goes for cuddling animals as well). We all need loving connections.
26. Hydrate regularly
Get a medium to large water bottle (preferably glass or BPA-free plastic) and mark it with time-oriented goals. Get a label marker and start drawing lines to outline the amount of water you’d like to drink by a certain time every day. This makes your goals visual and you’ll make sure to be hydrated throughout the whole day. Refill once or twice if you want to.
27. Get your nutrients
Plant-based or omnivore, we all need to make sure that we're getting enough and not too much of our daily nutrients. While vegans definitely need to take a B12 supplement and be conscious about eating plants high in calcium, iron and zinc, meat eaters need to limit their saturated fat and make sure to eat more fiber in general. Find our in-depth resource on meeting all your nutrients here.
28. Digestive rest
Try to eat your dinner early enough so you’re basically fasting for 14 hours. For example if you eat breakfast around 7 am, have your last meal at 5 pm. This doesn’t mean restricting your calories, but rather redistributing.
29. Visualize goals
Come up with a list of what it is you truly want and visualize your goals and successes every day. It will both make you happy and want to work for it harder, meaning it’s a lot more likely to become reality. You can even create a vision board with pictures of what you'd like to achieve and hang it on the wall for some visual motivation.
30. Get those zzzs
Sleep for at least 8 hours a night and try to be in bed before midnight to regulate your hormones. If you’re still tired in the morning, go to bed half an hour earlier until you found the right amount of sleep you need in order to feel restored and energized.
31. Reduce stimulation
In addition to replacing oil, cut back on salt and sugar. All of these overstimulate your taste buds and make you eat more than your body needs – plus they will make an apple or carrot seem very blunt and boring. Stick to unflavored, natural food more often. Find our best tips on dealing with food cravings here.
32. Relax those muscles
Look into some methods of physical relaxation. You can either get a professional massage, ask your partner to give you one or even do it yourself! Reflexology is a method of applying pressure to your feet and hands using a specific technique in order to support physical functions or changes in the body.
33. Catch some sunshine
Go outside and get some sunshine for 10-20 minutes, depending on the season. This can calm you down, increase happiness and gets you a nice dose of vitamin D. Whether you like to walk, run, play, or just lay down - nothing better than taking a sweet break on a stressful day!
34. Eat mindfully
Be in the moment and slowly chew your food about 20 times before swallowing - really pay attention to the texture, smell and flavor of everything. Make an effort to be undistracted, don’t watch any videos or discuss hot topics while eating. Here's our full article on mindful eating.
35. Ride your bike
... as much as you can, to go to work or grocery shopping. You might also combine it with taking a train if something is too far away. It won’t feel like working out but rather as a means to get around in an environmentally friendly, cheap and healthy way.
36. Visit farmer's markets
Looking for local produce isn't just better for the environment, it can also be cheaper and healthier because it wasn't picked unripe unlike many fruits and veggies you'll find in the supermarket. Getting in touch with where your food comes from, creating relationships, getting good deals and becoming inspired to try new veggies you never tasted before will all propel you towards a healthier, happier life.
37. Check labels
Make an effort to take a look at what’s really in your food that you’re about to buy at the grocery store. Read every label and make sure the product consits of mostly whole food plant-based ingredients with as little added sugar and oil as possible. Calories aren't so much an issue as healthy components.
38. Don't weigh yourself
Establishing a healthy eating pattern is much more important in the long run than shooting for a certain number on the scale. You cannot control how much weight you can lose in a certain amount of time and daily fluctuations are very normal - these can play games with your mind and heavily influence your food choices. When sticking to whole plant-based foods most of the time, you're pretty much guaranteed to get and stay in a lean body.
39. Get flexible
Start stretching your whole body while watching your favorite TV series and discover how much more flexible and strong you become after a while. It’s good to unwind and keep yourself from bad posture, too - not just when slouching on the couch but in more and more everyday situations.
40. Connect with yourself
You have your unique set of talents and needs, staying in touch with these and following them will make your life much easier and better. Listen to your inner voice, don’t push yourself too hard and go at your own pace – no matter what you think is expected. We don't all need to be the same, so play your strengths and build momentum.
41. Hunger and satiety
Get back in touch with your natural cues for hunger and satiety. Don't count calories or portion control everything, let your body take over and offer healthy food. Make sure you drink, sleep and move enough and not just eat at every sign of discomfort or boredom!
42. Brush it off
Get a body brush and use it every morning to activate your lymphatic system. It’s a wonderful act of self-care and makes your skin incredibly soft while gently supporting your body’s detoxification. A great combination is coconut oil, which you can apply afterwards.
43. Buy what you want to eat
Simply put, you cannot eat what you don't have at home. Therefore, during your next trip to the shop, make sure to only put those items in your cart that you truly want to eat. Once intense hunger, boredom, panic, or whatever makes you eat less than optimally, comes around, you won't have to make choices you will regret later.
44. Quit sugary drinks
Nothing new here, probably. Sodas are a risk to your health and waistline, they make you crave more sweets throughout the days and sometimes call for some salty or fatty companion. If it's a rare treat and you can consume it in small doses, more power to you! But if you know you need to reduce some empty calories, here's what you can start.
45. Healthy snacking
Bake or prepare some healthy sweet or savory snacks so you don’t feel like missing out if you don’t buy unhealthy crackers or muffins at the store. You can prepare mostly anything using just a few clean whole food ingredients. Also, watch your hunger signals and avoid getting too hungry so you’re able to make conscious food choices.
46. Increase variety
Try a new healthy food every time you go grocery shopping. It can be an exotic fruit, a scary looking vegetable or an interesting mix of spices. Also, don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry - make a list and stick to it. Trying a new food can also work when going out to eat because the chef will know how to prepare it!
47. Inspire others
Healthy eating and living is way easier and more fun when friends and family are on the same path as you! Have them watch an inspiring documentary, such as Forks Over Knives or What the Health, with you the next time you gather and put on Netflix. Likewise, you could gift them an educational or motivational book that you think they would enjoy!
48. Set boundaries
In order to honor your true self, start being very honest with people and say no when you feel like it. Get to know your boundaries and let others know about them, too! This will soon show you who really cares about you and your wellbeing – a perfect chance to get rid of toxic relationships.
49. Use what you have
Make juice or soups out of leftover fruits and veggies before they turn bad. You can freeze them if you’re not in the mood for consuming anything right now and have some quick, healthy food options. Plus, you will save money and require less resources.
50. Colorful bowls
Make your meals with love and make them look appetizing. This means cooking at home and adding more colors to your meals like steamed or raw veggies topped with fresh herbs, nut or seed butter, and a delicious sauce. This doesn't just make your food more tasty and interesting, it also boosts the nutritional value.
After you have chosen the habits you want to bring into your daily life, make sure to keep track. Connect them with something that you already do and maybe even make a checklist to see if you follow through most of the time.
Many of these little changes have important health benefits and it’s great to look back one day and see how you took one step at a time towards a better life.
Read More: 4 Tips to Start Creating Healthy Habits Today (and making them stick!)
Your list can also hold you accountable and you can share it with family or friends to inspire them. Who knows, maybe they’ll even join in, making it even easier and more enjoyable!
Writing your successes down helps you to focus on the positive and build up your motivation to take on some bigger projects.
Which one of these do healthy habits are already part of your life? And which new one do you want to try out first? Let us know in the comments below!
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Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.
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