FOOD

6 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier Without Even Trying Hard

And you can start now.

02/06/2017 7:29 AM AEST | Updated 02/06/2017 7:35 AM AEST

We want to be healthy, but many of us don't want to do the things that get us there -- that is, eat well and exercise often. Those words can seem big and intimidating, like that talk or meeting you've been delaying and trying not to think about.

But making positive, healthy changes doesn't have to be an overnight deal. Small changes do add up to big ones over time, seriously.

In fact, you can eat way healthier without even trying hard. And you can start now.

Here are six tips and tricks from SELF to help you eat and live healthier.

1. Ditch the juice cleanses, detoxes and fad diets

It's hard not to light up at the promises of detoxes, fad diets and juice cleanses -- 'fast weight loss!', 'bursting with energy!', 'perfect skin!' However, these methods are simply not healthy, sustainable or effective in the long term.

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Your body does a pretty good job of clearing waste without the need for seven days of kale juice.

Instead of being extremely cranky and hungry, skip the fads, save your money and stick to eating whole foods instead.

2. Be mindful of the food you keep at home

You get home from work, go to have 'a few' spoonfuls of ice cream and end up wolfing down the whole tub. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone.

To avoid the temptation altogether, have a clean out of the fridge and pantry, and donate those treat foods to friends, co-workers or loved ones. Then, when you go food shopping from here on out, write a healthy shopping list and only purchase products on the list.

Think about it: it's easier to say 'no' to that tempting chocolate at the shops once than it is to say 'no' 100 times when it's in the pantry at home. Out of sight, out of mind.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, try these four delicious, healthy desserts.

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Try to get into the habit of making your own healthy treats, like this easy yoghurt and chia parfait with fruit.

3. Think about what you're eating before digging in

We hear it a lot, but eating mindfully can be a really powerful tool to take control over how quickly and how much we eat. Why? Because it forces us to slow down, enjoy our food and lets our body tell our brain we're full more quickly.

To eat more mindfully, tune into hunger and satiety signals (ask: 'Am I really hungry? Or thirsty? Or bored?'). When you go to eat, sit down at a table (away from the TV or work desk) and take your time to chew, enjoy and even look at your food. It really does work.

4. Cut back on booze

This isn't one many of us want to read, but reducing alcohol by just a few drinks a week can have a significant impact on our health.

If you need a bit of a push: alcohol is worthless in terms of nutrition and are full of empty calories -- and 'low carb' varieties don't make a difference. Moderation is key.

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Tip: when out with friends, alternate or replace your drinks with lemon soda -- it looks alcoholic so it won't stand out.

5. Get cooking (and stop ordering out)

Getting takeaway is a nice treat every once in a while, but cooking for yourself means you're taking control of what goes into (and what stays out) of your food. Cooking at home also means you can control the portion size, which is always a good thing.

Need some inspiration for easy, tasty meals? Here are six burrito bowl recipes and seven make-ahead lunches to get you through the week.

6. Make one meal of the day veggie-based

We need five serves of veggies a day, which can feel like an intimidating amount. But it can be easy.

To reach your daily goals, make veggies the star for one meal of the day. Try these delicious vegan remakes of classic meat dishes, like tacos, eggplant parma and Caesar salad.

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