12 Healthy Living Secrets From Some of the Healthiest People We Know

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Sometimes taking care of your body can seem like a huge task that no normal person can manage: Eat conscientiously! Exercise constantly! Sleep eight hours! Meditate like your life depends on it! It’s enough to make your head spin. Thankfully, you don’t have to be perfect—you just have to try a little bit every day. Here’s how some of our super-healthy (but not superhuman) friends manage.

Healthy Living Secret: Schedule a cheat day.

“I’m not a fan of depriving myself. So I reserve splurges for one weekend day. Usually I stuff myself so much that I want to eat right the rest of the week. The cheat day gives me something to look forward to. When eating grilled chicken, vegetables, and rice on Tuesday, I know a chocolate cake is waiting for me on the weekend.”

Healthy Living Secret: Keep healthy food around.

“I grocery-shop online using services like AmazonFresh, PeaPod, and FreshDirect. The biggest reason I do it is so I have plenty of healthy foodsaround when I need them, and also so that I can avoid unhealthy impulse buys like candy or desserts at the grocery store.”L

—Jenne Neptune, general manager of the Alexis Hotel in Seattle and helped pioneer the national wellness program for the Kimpton hotel chain.

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Healthy Living Secret: Find flavor in other places besides fats.

“I’ve learned that you don’t have to use tons of butter and oil to get lots of flavor. My cooking is based very much on herbs. I actually use very little butter. One secret is to add something acidic like lemon juice, orange juice, or red wine vinegar to meats and dressings to brighten the dish without adding fat at all. I am a big fan of citrus zests.”

—Missy Robbins, executive chef at A Voce restaurant in New York City

Healthy Living Secret: Prep health foods in advance.

“I avoid processed ingredients and opt for whole grains. To make it easy, I make a big batch of brown rice or another whole grain on Sunday and incorporate it into different meals throughout the week. I also eat tons of beans—they’re healthy, affordable, and versatile. I make a big pot on Sunday and use them as a side dish, in salads and soups, and then pureed with herbs and spices for awesome dips.”

—Chad Sarno, healthy-eating chef for Whole Foods Market========== ===========

Healthy Living Secret: Turn off the screens and sleep!

“I’ve found that the most important thing for me is a good night’s sleep. Even if I’m eating well, juicing, doing yoga, and meditating, none of that matters if I’m sleep-deprived. I turn off all my screens an hour before I go to bed, light a candle, read a few chapters in a book, and play a little music.”

—Amy Berliner, co-owner of Amy’s Kitchen organic foods

Healthy Living Secret: Sync your water sips with your watch.

“Our bodies are mostly made up of water, so I stay hydrated. I drink a bottle of water every hour of the day; my last bottle I drink is at 10 P.M. Water improves your digestion—plus, when you are hydrated, your skin looks amazing. I squeeze a bit of lemon or lime if I get bored with plain water and stay away from fancy sweetened waters that are pure sugar.”

Kathy Kaehler, celebrity fitness and nutrition counselor========== ===========

Healthy Living Secret: Choose smarter sweet treats.

“I have a wicked sweet tooth, but I don’t want to be eating junky candy all day long, which is why I’ve recently become obsessed with a snack called Matt’s Munchies. Basically, they’re fruit roll-ups for adults—just as sweet but way healthier than the overprocessed lunchbox staple, with only 35 to 70 calories each. The mango flavor is my favorite, but they also come in a bunch of other yummy incarnations.”

Marina Khidekel, Glamour senior editor overseeing health, fitness, and nutrition

Healthy Living Secret: Never skip breakfast.

“I never skip breakfast. Feeding your body after you rise is essentially like putting gas in your tank. You need mental and physical energy to get the day going…even having something as simple as low-fat yogurt with fruit, or a glass of milk with a banana and a small handful of nuts can provide you with the protein and fiber you need to tell your body it’s ready to go. One of my favorite breakfasts is a scrambled egg with cheese and whole-wheat toast and a cup of nonfat milk. Eggs provide high-quality protein and really fill me up; the cheese adds lots of flavor, not to mention calcium; and the skim milk provides calcium, vitamin D, and so many other nutrients.”

—Elisa Zied, M.S., registered dietitian and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips========== ===========

Healthy Living Secret: Embrace naps (and don’t feel bad about it).

“I nap! For as long as I can remember, I was a nap hater. But then I began to think about all the countries that embrace napping, especially after my brother returned from a business trip in Spain. He said that in an afternoon meeting, all the top executives got up and said, See you in an hour—time for our nap.’ As a health writer, I know that napping has health benefits—improved cognitive function, greater happiness, even better sleep at night—so I finally gave in. Now when I’m sleepy in the afternoon, I’ll let myself doze off for a bit. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s 45.”

Sarah Jio, Vitamin G health blogger and author of the novel The Bungalow

Healthy Living Secret: Get creative with substitutions.

“It is possible to stay light and make healthy choices when eating Mexican food. Here’s what I do: For fajitas, I opt for lettuce cups instead of tortillas. For burritos, I ask for grilled vegetables instead of calorie-dense beans and rice. I go spicy! Chilies help digestion and can speed up metabolism.”

—Kenny Gilbert, celebrity chef adviser to Lime Fresh Mexican Grill========== ===========

Healthy Living Secret: Get rid of your temptations.

“If I want to indulge in a sweet treat, I will break it in half and throw one part of it away before starting to eat. That way I don’t overeat. I get the pleasure of a sweet treat without all the guilt.”

—Haley Curtis Stevens, Ph.D., president of the Calorie Control Council

Healthy Living Secret: Let out your creativity.

“I think we often feel guilty about playing,’ but taking time for ourselves and learning about ourselves helps us feel inspired, confident, and energized. I need to make space for creativity in my own life, so I keep a journal that includes free writing, lists of dreams, and drawings. It’s about finding inward inspiration.”