How to Make Small Nutritious Shifts Towards Better Health
Sometimes, a giant leap towards a healthier, happier life is necessary. Other times, small shifts can get you to the same place with a lower risk of failure.
To celebrate National Nutrition Month, we’re focusing on helping you make those small changes. Call them Nutritious Shifts. They’re tweaks to your diet, exercise, and sleep habits that are easy to act on right now—that will have a major impact on your overall health.
We’re rolling out two each week during March to coincide with the eight pillars of a Nutritious Life (so keep checking back for additions!).
Join us in making each (easy!) shift throughout the month. Share your progress on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #nutritiousshifts and #livinganutritiouslife. At the end of March, we’ll feature our favorite posts on the Nutritious Life blog (so you’ve got a shot at wellness fame, too!).
Nutritious Shift 1: Eat Vegetables for Breakfast
Getting veggies in at every meal is a great way to Eat Empowered, but breakfast can be tough if you’re a yogurt or oatmeal kind of gal. Get creative and try including a veggie in the first meal of the day this week. Throw greens like kale or spinach into a smoothie, add peppers and onions to your scrambled eggs, or add tomato to your avocado toast. You can even make a salad and throw an egg on top.
Try These Recipes:
There’s spinach mixed into all of the sweetness.
You can throw any leftover roasted or sauteed veggies in here, or use up the last of a bag of greens.
Morning Glory Muffins
Yummy grain-free muffins made with carrot and pumpkin.
Nutritious Shift 2: Go Local
We’re not suggesting you give up all of your grocery plans and start foraging for mushrooms in the local park. Just choose one tiny thing you can do this week to support the local food economy that you might otherwise have skipped. Here are a few easy ideas:
- Replace one grocery store trip with a quick stop at a farmer’s market, local farm stand, small bakery, or neighborhood butcher shop.
- Sign up for a local CSA (farm share) for the upcoming spring/summer seasons.
- At your grocery store, look for a fruit or veggie grown in your state and throw it in your basket even if it wasn’t what you’d normally buy.
- If you live in New York, click the “Local” tab on FreshDirect and get some local produce delivered right to your door. Now, how easy is that?!
Nutritious Shift 3: Make a Workout Date
One foolproof way to make sure you Sweat Often? Find a workout BFF. Exercising with a partner has a few benefits: you’re less likely to bail if someone expects you to show up, and you may push yourself harder to impress a friend. Most importantly, it’s more fun—and a fitness routine is only sustainable if you enjoy it.
You may have heard of all of this before, but we want you to commit to trying one of these specific #NutritiousShifts to make your fitness routine social this month:
- Instead of meeting a friend or coworker for happy hour, schedule a yoga or spin class.
- Tap a fitness-loving friend to be your new workout buddy and make a schedule for the next month that details when you’re going to meet up to hit the gym.
- If you’re in a relationship, go for a run with your partner on Sunday instead of (or better yet…before!) going to brunch.
- Try out a run club or social fitness group like Electric Flight Crew or the November Project (both of which have chapters in multiple cities).
Nutritious Shift 4: Drink More Water
It sounds simple, but many people are walking around dehydrated, which can sap energy, slow metabolism, and lead to overeating. Drinking 64 ounces per day is a good goal. Here are some #NutritiousShifts that will get you to Drink Up, now:
- Commit to taking a water bottle with you everywhere you go for a week. If you have it with you, you’ll reach for it more often.
- Before each meal and snack, fill a tall glass of water and make sure you finish it along with your food.
- Upgrade your water (making it irresistible!) by adding fruit or spices.
Nutritious Shift 5: Practice a Random Act of Kindness
Expressing love has many health benefits—and we’re not just talking about in bed (although sex is sooo good for you, FYI). Research has shown hugging may lower blood pressure and boost levels of relaxation-related hormone oxytocin, that expressing altruism and spending money on others can make you happier, and that regularly supporting others is linked to higher self-esteem and less depression. (Oh, not to mention it’s just the right thing to do!) Ready to Love More? Choose one of these #NutritiousShifts (or your own!) to practice a random act of kindness this week:
- If you’re in a relationship, leave a love note on your partner’s pillow for no reason.
- Buy coffee for the stranger behind you in line at Starbucks.
- Buy a treat for a coworker and have it waiting on his or her desk.
- Mail a simple “Thinking of you!” postcard to a friend who’s far away.
- Call or text a family member you haven’t talked to in a long time just to say hello.
Nutritious Shift 6: Nurture Your Skin
Your skin is a really, really big organ that is often ignored in terms of how it relates to your overall wellness. The truth is it needs just as much care as your heart needs cardio. Add a few minutes to your normal skincare routine to do a little nurturing this week. Choose one of these #NutritiousShifts (or ask it what it wants, babe):
- Take a long bubble bath instead of a shower.
- Do an at-home mask or body scrub to slough off dead skin and impurities.
- Treat yourself to a facial or a face massage.
- Toss one beauty product made with one of these two top toxic ingredients and replace it with a clean, natural alternative.
Nutritious Shift 7: Eat Stress-Reducing Foods
There are many little things you can do, however, to keep your stress levels in check. (Two-minute meditation, anyone?)
Start with your plate, this month, by adding one of these stress-reducing foods to your diet. Add one—like cashews or grass-fed beef—to a dish, snap a photo, and share how you incorporated stress-busting foods into a meal by using the hashtag #NutritiousShifts.
We should mention dark chocolate is on the list. You’re welcome.
Nutritious Shift 8: Eat Foods That Help You Sleep
Certain foods can help you de-stress; others can help you sleep. (Some do both!)
This is important because not getting enough sleep can lead to stress, overeating, and weight gain.
Stocking up on snooze-inducing essential oils is a great tactic, but first, start by adding these foods that help you sleep to your diet this month. Add one—like almonds or asparagus—to a dish, snap a photo, and share how you incorporated sleep-boosting foods into a meal by using the hashtag #NutritiousShifts.
Bonus points for creating a meal that is filled with foods that help you both de-stress and get to snoozing.