We’ve been asking people to share their tips and tricks to make being healthy just a little bit easier. Not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, cutting back on booze, eating a healthy diet and being more active are all important components of a healthy lifestyle. And they could all cut cancer risk. But sometimes we need a little nudge to get us on our way.
Here are our favourite ‘health hacks’:
1. Posh your squash
It’s the end of a hard day, and all you want is a drink to help you wind down. Keep the ritual but cut the booze – make yourself a fancy soft drink instead. Go on, posh your squash!
2. Water down your cravings
Sometimes when cravings for a cigarette strike, all you need is a distraction. Drinking a big glass of water can help quench those cravings.
3. Homemade microwave popcorn
Homemade popcorn can be a healthy high-fibre snack, and it’s as simple as putting a bowl of kernels in the microwave. You could also add some tasty toppings, like cocoa powder or mixed herbs, instead of sugar or salt.
4. Prepare your kit and get fit
Habits are all about cues. Put your kit out the night before to remind yourself to exercise. Plus it makes it as easy as possible to just grab it and go!
5. Scale down your portions
Curb your carbs by weighing portions of rice and pasta. Take the guessing out of dinner to help you stick to the right amount. You could even leave the scales out to remind you to do it every time.
6. Freeze leftover booze into cubes
You’ve shared a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and there’s a bit left in the bottle. Rather than drink it just to save it going to waste, you can freeze it to use it for cooking sauces another time (this also saves you opening a bottle then too).
7. Beat your cravings and make some savings
It’s easy to let how much you spend on cigarettes pass you by. Put the money you would have spent aside for a month, see it build up, and then treat yourself to something you really want.
8. Reshape your plate
To get yourself on the way to your 5-a-day, try filling half your plate with veggies before any other food. It can help you get more of the good stuff.
9. Memo to move
It can be hard to do enough exercise. So a simple reminder on your calendar or phone to take a break and walk can be a good start to getting you to your 10,000 steps a day. The more steps the better.
10. Size matters
We naturally want to fill our plate. And our brain thinks a full plate means we’re eating more. So trick your brain into eating healthier amounts by switching to a smaller plate – smaller plates mean smaller portions.
Try one, or try them all. Small changes can all add up to have a big impact. 4 in 10 cancer cases in the UK could be prevented, largely through things like not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, cutting back on booze, eating a healthy diet and being more active. So where will you start?
Sophia Lowes is a health information officer at Cancer Research UK