Life is already busy, messy, and filled with unexpected surprises. So why contribute to the chaos by making health harder than it has to be? Hack your way to better health with these 25 clever fitness and kitchen tricks that will save you time, money, and a headache. Use these health hacks for weight loss, an energy boost, or simply to feel a little healthier every day.
1. Kickstart your morning with lemon water
Start every morning with a glass of water with fresh-squeezed lemon or lemon oil! (Just make sure it’s an edible, 100% natural-grade oil and not anything synthetic if you go the essential oil route.) There are so many benefits of lemon water, but the main reasons to drink it are that it flushes your system of toxins, alkalizes your body, and keeps your digestive system working as it should. This gives you more energy, fights off inflammation, and provides you with an all-natural health boost that’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
2. Sweat it out before you hop in the shower
You know daily exercise is ideal, but some days it can feel like there’s NO extra time. Enter: the pre-shower sweat session. Make it a goal to “earn” your shower working up a sweat first with some lunges, push-ups, squats, and more. (Try any of these 10-Minute Workouts if you need some ideas!) After a few minutes you’ll have toned your muscles, energized yourself for the day, and maybe encouraged yourself to make exercise more of a habit during the rest of the week.
3. Never eat a bad egg again
You’re not a bad egg; we think you’re great! But eating a bad egg? Not so great. To test the freshness of those last few guys hanging around in the carton, drop ‘em in a bowl of water. Fresh eggs will sink, eggs perfect for hard-boiling will sink on their side, and bad eggs will float. See the full egg explanation here. (Photo Credit: Food-Hacks.WonderHowTo.com)
4. Meditate to clear your mind
Setting aside as little as five minutes to meditate each day pays off big: those who commit to daily meditation are less stressed, sleep better, and have improved immune function over those who don’t. (Check out more science-based reasons to meditate, here!) It’s especially helpful to meditate at the start of the week to gather your energy and go into the busy week with a calm intention.
5. Use baking soda as a natural produce scrub
Combine a few teaspoons of baking soda to 1-2 cups of water and you have a natural produce scrub! You can add the mixture to a spray bottle or combine it in a large mixing bowl. Either way, use the solution to get pesticides, dirt, and other unwanted goodies out of every nook and cranny in your produce. Make sure to rinse your veggies and fruits thoroughly afterward for a fresh, clean taste.
Related: 56 Household Uses For Baking Soda
6. Fancy up a water bottle to guzzle more
If you struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day, a permanent marker and a clear water bottle might just be the cute but effective health hack you need. Divide the bottle into 200 ml intervals that coordinate with every hour in the day. If you stay on track, you’ll reach the magic eight glasses by dinnertime! Get the complete DIY water bottle how-to here.
7. Meal prep your way to healthy lunches
When the weekdays get overwhelmingly busy, we’re often left to poor choices for lunch like fast food restaurants or whatever’s closest to the office. Avoid that debacle by meal-prepping ahead of time. Use Sunday—or whatever day of the week you have a little time—to cook chicken breasts, hard boil eggs, make a big batch of brown rice, chop veggies, and more. You can prep several lunches and dinners at a time this way, using different herbs and add-ons to provide a variety of flavors to each dish!
8. Take a stretch break
A mid-day stretch break boosts your energy, improves your focus, and benefits your mood! Set aside 5 minutes in between long stretches of work to stretch your muscles. (Here are 7 simple stretches you can do at your desk to boost circulation and stay healthy.)
9. Turn your commute into a chance to laugh
Nothing sucks the joy out of a day like sitting in traffic, but you can find a silver lining in any long commute thanks to podcasts. Laughing along to a funny podcast will help the time go by faster, help you decompress from work, and help you forget about the fact that you’re moving at a snail’s pace. A few ones to get you started: You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, or 2 Dope Queens.
10. Save wilting herbs with an ice cube tray
When your fresh herbs are on the way out (aka starting to turn brown or are wilting), don’t toss them! Instead, put chopped herbs in ice cube trays, fill with olive oil, and freeze. Now you’ll always have cubes ready for sautéing veggies and meat or tossing in sauces! Get the full directions from The Hungry Mouse here.
11. Get a workout in while you watch your favorite show
We’re all guilty of it. We say there is not enough time in the day to the hit gym, but yet we find time to watch three plus hours of TV every night. How about putting that TV to good use? Whether you prefer Grey’s Anatomy, Shark Tank, or Modern Family (or 40 other shows) there is a “watch and work” workout for you! Check out our 7 Workouts To Do While Watching Your Favorite TV Shows or BuzzFeed’s immaculate list of 43 TV show workouts that will have you sweating while staying abreast of pop culture.
12. Use essential oils to clean more naturally
There are so many uses for essential oils, but making natural cleaning solutions top our list. Plus, who wouldn’t prefer natural lemon and lime over smelly chemicals and cleaning products? Combine baking soda, vinegar, and a few drops of lime oil to scrub out the tub or sink; freshen your kitchen sponge with a few drops of lemon oil between uses. For more cleaning ideas with essential oils, click here.
13. Make a DIY travel cup
How come we didn’t think of this ages ago! Take your smoothies and protein shakes on the go by covering a cup with Press ‘n Seal and popping in a straw. So simple, yet so awesome. Get the full how-to from Glad here.
14. Never buy a rotten avocado again
Avocados are expensive and when you end up with a rotten one, talk about bad news bear. You can avoid this grocery store travesty by flicking the dry stem off the bottom. If you see a brown patch under the stem, put it back. If you see a bright yellow-green color, put it in the cart. Huzzah! Get the complete avocado low down from Northwest Edible Life here.
15. Soothe a sore throat with a marshmallow
Sore throat? Bust out a bag of marshmallows. Sap from the marshmallow plant has been used for hundreds of years to help treat coughs, colds, and sore throats. But the fluffy little guys we know and love from everybody’s favorite campfire treat may help ease throat pain thanks to the coating and soothing properties of the gelatin according to Health magazine.
16. Make onions, garlic, and shallots last longer.
Onions, garlic, and shallots already last longer than your average banana, apple, or orange but make them last basically forever (i.e. 3 months) with this simple trick. Steal your child’s paper lunch bag, punch holes in it, and secure with a paper clip. Yes, onion tears are still a thing, but at least we’ve conquered the rot. Get the full directions from The Yummy Life here.
17. Destink your sneakers
To really destink your running shoes—we mean really get that funk out—requires a four step process. Wash and air dry, sprinkle with a homemade deodorizing powder, stuff with newspaper overnight, and finally, pop them in the freezer. Yes, give them a deep freeze! Get the full directions from Housewife How To’s here.
18. Baby your spices
No, we don’t mean coddle your spices. For the parents of little ones out there, transform your odds and ends spice collection into uniformed-sized leftover baby food jars. Cover with cute fabric, give it a label, and pop on a magnet to attach to the side of your fridge for easy access. Get the full directions here. (Photo Credit: oneluckypickle.com)
19. Make exercise a real page-turner
If your biggest health set back is getting your butt to the gym, up the ante. Download an audio book you won’t be able to stop listening to (Yes Please and Big Little Lies are two must-haves!) and make a rule to only listen to it when you’re working out. An I-can’t-put-this-down book will guarantee more trips to the gym!
20. Use yoga to heal a headache
If you have a tension headache that just won’t go away, try yoga poses that are inversions, meaning they place your head below your heart. Yoga poses for headache relief include downward facing dog, child’s pose, and legs up the wall pose. These poses will improve circulation, stretch out tense neck and shoulder muscles, and help you relax—all of which can help your headache go away faster.
21. Whip up homemade sweet potato chips in five minutes
Packed with vitamin C, iron, and beta-carotene, homemade sweet potato chips are a deliciously healthy side dish or snack. But sometimes cravings hit, and you just can’t wait 20 minutes for the oven to do its magic or your hand will soon be in a store-bought much-less-healthier bag. Here’s where this hack comes in. Turns out, you can make sweet potato chips in the microwave in less than five minutes. Get the full directions from SheKnows here. (Photo Credit: sheknows.com)
22. Avoid limp lettuce
A big bowl of lettuce on hand for salads is always a great thing to have in a fridge. But a big bowl of lettuce tends to go a little limp a little bit too fast. Let’s stop that. Simply place a single paper towel on top of lettuce in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Replace the paper towel every couple of days as it absorbs the moisture that makes the lettuce go bad. Your greens should be good for at least a week!
23. Chew gum to curb cravings
When your cravings aren’t due to hunger, but more out of boredom, try chewing a piece of bubblegum instead of looking through the freezer for some ice cream. It takes your mind off whatever sweet treat you were looking for and provides you with an instant distraction.
24. Scrape your tongue to remove toxins
Studies show that scraping your tongue is more effective than just using a toothbrush at removing bacteria; plus, it fights bad breath and is also believed to boost your immunity. Tongue scraping is actually part of an ancient Ayurvedic practice because it removes toxins that would otherwise be reabsorbed into your body and improves overall immunity. You can buy a metal tongue scraper at your local drug store and start incorporating it into oral hygiene routine.
25. Make your bath extra relaxing with epsom salts
Adding some epsom salts to your bath (which you can find at any local drugstore) will give you an extra boost of relaxation. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which helps to soothe sore muscles and naturally relax your body. They can help with insomnia, anxiety, and more, and cost just a few dollars.
What clever healthy hacks did we miss? Share your secrets below!