7 Things to Do Now to Make Healthy Eating Easy and Fun
...food is the entrance ramp for better living. —Dan Buettner Click To Tweet
None of the blue zones centenarians ever tried to live to 100. They don’t count calories, take fancy supplements, or even read labels. They simply eat foods that are local, in season, and readily available. They find ways to celebrate food with family and friends. They live in environments that subconsciously nudge them to into better eating habits. As we have applied the wisdom of the world’s Blue Zones diet to transform cities in the United States, we can do the same in our individual lives.You don't have to live in a blue zones region to reap the benefits of a longevity lifestyle. Click To Tweet
You don’t have to live in a blue zones region to reap the benefits of a longevity lifestyle. The following tips are easy ways to incorporate Blue Zones practices into your daily routine so that you can make healthy eating easy and fun—no fancy gadgets necessary.
Try a new plant-slant recipe
It starts with food choices. If healthy food is appetizing, available, and easy, we are more likely to make the healthy choice. Most blue zones residents have easy access to locally sourced food, often found in their own kitchen gardens. They know how to make food taste good. They use herbs, seasonings, and time-honored recipes to celebrate each meal. Just a handful of Blue Zones-friendly meals per week will help to recalibrate your tastebuds and your cooking habits.Most blue zones residents have easy access to locally sourced food, often found in their own kitchen gardens. Click To Tweet
Place the Blue Zones Food Guidelines in your kitchen
Putting the Blue Zones Food Guidelines in a high-traffic area of your home will constantly remind you to fill your home with Blue Zones foods, fill your counter-top fruit bowl so you’re tempted with your favorite fruit, and help you crowd out refined starches and sugars.
Host a healthy potluck
Create your own “Potluck Moai” — a social group that gathers together over the course of a few weeks to share healthy recipes and conversation in a potluck setting. It’s a great way to connect with friends, family members, and neighbors.
The term moai comes from Okinawa and means “meeting for a common purpose.”
[Related: These People Tried the Blue Zones Diet for 3 Months—Watch What Happened]
Try a local vegetarian-friendly restaurant
Going out (or ordering in) is a great way to expand your own recipe repertoire. Be adventurous and try something new or take note of ways you could recreate the recipe in your own kitchen.
Try a new-to-you fruit or vegetable
Are you bored of bananas? This Longevity Food List is a fun way to check off a new one each week, but get creative and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
[Related: 8 Greens You’re Probably Not Eating—But Should Be]
Make homemade sourdough bread
Blue zones bread is unlike the bread most Americans buy. Most commercially available breads start with bleached white flour, which metabolizes quickly into sugar and spikes insulin levels. But bread from the blue zones is either whole grain or sourdough, each with its own healthful characteristics. In Ikaria and Sardinia, breads are made from a variety of whole grains such as wheat, rye, or barley, each of which offers a wide spectrum of nutrients, such as tryptophan, an amino acid, and the minerals selenium and magnesium. Homemade sourdough bread from the blue zones regions of the world requires hand-kneading and almost always occasions a walk to the neighbors’, as well.
Start the practice of hara hachi bu before meals
The Okinawans recite a phrase before every meal: hara hachi bu. This reminds them to eat to 80 percent full rather than stuffing themselves to the point of bursting. Their smaller portion sizes remind us to be mindful when eating and pay attention to our bodies.
By Aislinn Kotifani, Blue Zones Communications Specialist