The Art and Science of Foods That Fill You Up

A big part of healthy eating is filling up on the right foods. The problem is that trying to avoid cravings can feel crazy sometimes. Some people eat lunch and feel hungry again an hour later. What’s up with that?

The Science Behind Feeling Full

The reason you feel full after eating something is all in your head, literally. As your stomach digests your meal, it sends signals to your brain telling you that you’re not hungry anymore. Your body takes time to break down food into nutrients, releasing hormones that help you feel full and content.

Even your emotions are involved. Have you ever noticed how happy and satisfied you are after eating a meal that you love? On the other hand, when you’re stressed or depressed, you probably feel hungrier than normal. This is all because of hormones.

The Reason Some Foods Make You Feel Full Longer Than Others

Why are some foods more filling than others? One reason is that they take longer to digest. The more time your stomach spends processing food, the less time it has to feel hungry. Here are a few things that can make any meal more filling:

  • Fiber: Foods that are high in fiber take longer for your body to digest. Fiber turns the things you eat into a kind of gel, slowing them down as they move through your intestines. Another benefit of fiber is that it balances your blood-sugar levels, basically telling your body that your energy levels are good so you don’t need to eat anything else.

  • Protein: When you eat protein, your body releases specific hormones responsible for feelings of fullness. High-protein foods are the best snacks for calming the munchies. Eggs have a lot of protein, and so do nuts and different types of fish.

  • Water: Getting enough water with meals is a great way to calm your appetite. Not only does water have zero calories, it contributes to fullness. Fruit that naturally has high water content is very filling, such as a slice of watermelon or some fresh pineapple.

Other foods help you stay full longer because they have a low energy density. In other words, they have a lot of volume but not very many calories. You feel satisfied without feeling guilty.


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The Best Foods for Calming Hunger

The munchies can make cutting calories from your diet easier said than done. To have success with your weight loss goals, reach for these foods at meal time:

  • Soup: Cooked veggies and protein with plenty of water are the perfect recipe for a filling meal.

  • Greek yogurt: This healthy treat has a lot of protein and probiotics to calm hungry feelings.

  • Vegetables: Did you know that broccoli is 90% water? Leafy greens are packed with fiber, too. Carrots are another filling choice.

  • Fresh fruit: Apples, bananas and oranges have plenty of fiber and water, and they’re super-fast to grab on the go.

  • Potatoes: Boiled or baked potatoes are among the most filling foods on the planet. Scientists think they have a special protein that suppresses appetite.

My personal recommendation is to add a salad to everything (but skip the ranch dressing). If you’re making spaghetti for your kids, make some salad, too. That way you eat fewer calories but still feel satisfied. This helps calm nighttime snacking temptations a lot.

Get the Skinny on Food Labels

Woman shopping

Deciphering the numbers and acronyms on a nutrition label might feel like cracking the Rosetta stone. If you know what to look at, though, these facts can be the key to a healthier you. This guide will provide the basics you need to create nourishing daily meals.

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size

This info, which appears right at the top of the label, informs everything else you'll read. If you're like me, you've been tricked by serving size one too many times. That small package of cookies might look like a single serving, but the label may reveal that it's meant to be split into two (or more) snacks. This part of the label clearly states the size of a serving and the number of servings in the package.

Dairy aisle

Calories Per Serving

In this section, you'll find out just how many calories you'll consume with each serving. For example, if a box of crackers contains 8 servings at 200 calories each, you can multiple the number of servings you plan to eat by 200 to estimate your total intake. Most people should get about 2,000 calories each day according to the FDA, but this varies based on age, weight and health status.

Some food labels have two columns. This design shows you the calories and nutrients in a single serving as well as in the entire food package.


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Ingredient List

Unless you're buying a product with just one ingredient, the nutrition label must have an ingredient list. These items appear in descending order by weight. In other words, the first ingredient represents the largest portion of the product while the last ingredient represents the smallest amount.

Girl Grocery shopping

Percent Daily Values

This column next to each ingredient (%DV) indicates the percentage of that nutrient you should consume each day. When it comes to vitamins, minerals, fiber and other ingredients that support good health, look for a %DV of around 20% or higher.

You should limit unhealthy ingredients like sodium, cholesterol, trans fat and saturated fat. Stick to choices with 5%DV or less in this category based on advice from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Grocery aisle

Words To Learn

Federal law prevents food manufacturers from using certain terms unless their product meets specific criteria. Get ahead of the game by understanding what these words really mean:

  • Foods labeled as "high in" something must have at least 20%DV of that nutrient. Manufacturers can also use the term "excellent source of..." in this case.
  • A "good source" of a nutrient has 10 to 19%DV of that ingredient.
  • Low-sodium foods have no more than 140 mg of salt in each serving.
  • Sugar-free and fat-free foods must have less than 1/2 g of sugar or fat in each serving.
  • If a food is labeled "calorie-free," it has fewer than 5 calories in each serving. "Low-cal" foods have fewer than 40 calories per serving.
  • The word "reduced" indicates that the product has at least 25% less of something than the standard version, usually calories, sugar or fat.
  • Low-cholesterol foods must have less than 2 g of saturated fat and 20 mg or less of cholesterol.
  • Total sugars are present naturally in foods, including healthy items such as fruits. These are listed separately from added sugars, which can torpedo your efforts to stay healthy.
Grocery aisle

When deciding whether a specific food fits with your nutritional goals, go straight to the nutrition label with your newfound knowledge. Avoid looking at the front of the box, which features marketing claims that may or may not reflect the actual quality of the product. No matter what your dietary goals, reading food labels correctly gives you a map to success.

How To Make a Weight-Loss New Year’s Resolution That Will Actually Stick!

Measuring Tape

We open up a shiny new year by declaring all the things that will be different this year. We'll eat better. We'll exercise more. In reality, though, our resolutions last maybe a week, and then it's back to the same old thing, right? What if there was a trick to making a new habit stick? What if this trick worked even for habits you had tried (and failed) to cultivate many times in the past? News flash: There is such a trick, and it really does work. (Spoiler alert: It's actually not a trick at all. It's science.)

2021

Remember Your Why

Take a bit of time to dig down into why you want to lose weight this year. Get specific. Don't settle for a vague feeling of nostalgia. Instead, write down the personal and health benefits you want to gain by losing weight. Focus on outcomes, such as playing with your grandchildren without getting winded or being able to climb stairs without knee pain from the extra weight on your joints. Post your "why" somewhere you can see it often.

Goals

Set Specific Goals

Now that you know exactly why you want to lose weight write down what that will look like for you when you've accomplished it. Will you be down a certain number of pounds or pants sizes? Will you know you've hit your goal when you can walk a set distance without feeling like you need a nap? Write it down, whatever it is.


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Focus on Habits

After completing the two steps above, you've got your resolution. Now comes the part where you make it all happen. You already know how to lose weight. Although the details may vary depending on your health and other circumstances, it basically comes down to eating better and moving more. What new habits do you need to incorporate into your life to make weight loss happen for you? Create two category headings: one for food and one for movement. Under each heading, write down one or two habits to start with. One could be about filling up on fruits and veggies, and another could be about doubling your average daily steps. Try to choose new habits that are slightly out of reach but don't feel impossible.

Exercise

Tie It All Together

Once you have your new habits in mind (and down on paper!), figure out how to tie them to habits you already have. For example, you already brush your teeth every morning. If you want to create a new habit of drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning, attach the new habit to the existing habit by placing your water glass next to the toothpaste so you remember to grab it and fill it up. If your new habit is eating two servings of fruit at breakfast and you're a coffee drinker, place a cutting board next to the coffee maker and link chopping fruit with waiting for the coffee to brew. Once your new behaviors start to truly become habits, add a couple more, always piggybacking onto something you already do.

Happy New Year

Give Yourself Grace

The true secret to success in anything is never to give up. New Year's resolutions that really stick are those you don't give up on, even when you have setbacks. When you feel like you've failed at keeping your resolutions, dust yourself off and start again. You've got this!

What To Drink and Not Drink When Sick

Cup of tea by a bed

It is not uncommon for people to feel like their mouth is dry when congested or under the weather, especially with a stuffy nose. The stopped up nasal passages force you to breathe through your mouth, increasing dryness in the lips, throat, and mouth. If you are suffering from additional digestion issues, dehydration becomes a serious threat. Unfortunately, too many people choose to drink the wrong things when ill, making the situation worse.

Unfortunately, too many people choose to drink the wrong things when ill, making the situation worse.
This blog post focuses on staying hydrated when you are sick, but the right way. You need to understand the good drinks to consume and why you should avoid others.

Woman sick in bed

Drinks To Stay Hydrated and Healthy

Healthy drinks provide the most benefit. These beverages will improve hydration without making digestive problems worse.

Water

The crowning jewel of beverages is water. When you are ill, you should consume more water than anything else. You will also want to drink more than you typically would if suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.

Some people have a hard time drinking glass after glass of H2O; you can fancy it up a bit. For example, you can add a bit of honey or lemon. Honey can help soothe a sore throat, while lemon improves taste.

Water works well because it helps to rehydrate mucus membranes, and because it is sugar and caffeine-free, it is gentle on the digestive system. However, there are other options for those who cannot take too much water.

Glass of water

Tea

Like ginger, herbal, and green, teas can also soothe upset stomachs and give the immune system a boost. Green tea is high in immune-boosting antioxidants and virus killing catechins. Ginger is well known for soothing gastrointestinal discomfort. And herbal remedies, like elderberry and echinacea, can soothe the throat and jumpstart the immune system because of varying plant compounds.

Cup of tea


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Broth

Broth, and more specifically, bone broth, is the traditional solution to treating upper respiratory infections. There is some truth to the ritual as several studies corroborate broths' ability to help clear nasal passages and ease other respiratory infection symptoms. Additionally, bone broth is a source of protein for those who struggle to keep food down.

Cups of Broth

Drinks To Avoid

While there are drinks to help you feel better and keep you hydrated, some drinks will also do the opposite. If you are ill, it is in your best interest to avoid the following beverages.

Alcohol

While taking a swig of a hot or other alcoholic beverage may sound appealing for melting your troubles away, alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink. Not only can alcoholic drinks lead to inflammation, but they can also suppress your immune system response, meaning that indulging when your ill may prolong the sickness.

Glass of wine

Soda and Sugary Beverages

Many people want ginger ale or juice when they are sick, but these drinks may contain high levels of sugar. Drinking too many sugary beverages can lead to increased blood sugar levels and a decrease in energy. These drinks can also cause gastrointestinal distress.

Glass of Soda

Coffee

While people may want to drink coffee because it is warm when they are sick, it is not a good idea. Coffee contains high caffeine levels, which has a diuretic effect, meaning it makes you pee more frequently. If you avoid water and drink coffee, you can make dehydration issues worse.

Cup of Coffee

What is your go-to drink when you're sick? Leave a comment, and keep reading The Calorie Myths for more helpful tips and advice.

These 5 Nuts Are What’s Missing in Your Diet

Heart shape made of pistachios

You could say that I go nuts over nuts. They’re everything I crave in a snack — crunchy, fast, healthy and tasty. Here are five of the healthiest nuts for your heart, mind and waistline:

Almonds

1. Almonds

We all knew that almonds would be at the top of the list. They’re simply phenomenal in every way — nature’s perfect health food. They have lots of fiber, protein, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, antioxidants and healthy fat, all in a low-carb package.

Research shows that almonds help to balance your blood sugar, preventing type 2 diabetes and making it easier to lose weight. Whether you’re burning fat with a keto diet or just taking great care of your body, you can never go wrong with almonds.

Macadamia nuts

2. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are packed with the same type of heart-healthy fat as olive oil and avocados. At the same time, they’re low in total carbs. For keto, macadamia nuts are one of the best ways to stay in ketosis.

Putting these mild, slightly sweet nuts in healthy cookie recipes is popular, and there are tons of other ways to use them. Make macadamia nuts the star of your favorite post-workout energy bites or use them crushed as a delicious coating for roasted chicken.

Peanuts


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3. Peanuts

Contrary to popular belief, peanuts can be very healthy (unless you have allergies). Dry-roasted peanuts are rich in protein, vitamin E, magnesium and B vitamins. Their protein content makes you feel full, getting rid of junk food cravings quickly. Peanuts also reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Of course, adding salt, sugar and chocolate gets rid of these health benefits. To keep peanuts healthy, choose unsweetened and no salt added peanut butter or ground peanut paste for recipes.

Pistachios

4. Pistachios

These green nuts are extremely low in calories, making them one of the best snack choices when focused on losing weight. One serving of pistachios gives you major potassium, antioxidants and plant nutrients. They’re good for your eyes, your heart and your waistline.

As a snack, pistachios help with mindful eating, because they force you to pause as you open the shells. Personally, I find this relaxing. The rhythmic motion of removing the nuts from the shells calms me down and I get a delicious treat for my efforts!

Walnuts

5. Walnuts

I’m going to be completely honest here — I don’t like the taste of walnuts. The thing is, they’re so healthy that I just have to include them in this list. Walnuts are a great source of healthy fats, and they’re the only nut that has omega-3 fatty acids. Getting lots of omega-3s takes care of your heart, reduces anxiety, moisturizes your skin, fights inflammation and gives your brain a huge boost.

If you’re like me and you despise the flavor of walnuts, do what you would when feeding your kids: hide them. Make raspberry pancakes with crushed walnuts or grind up some walnuts in a fruit smoothie.

Cooking with nuts

Add More Nuts to Your Cooking

You can add more protein and antioxidants to every meal by including nuts in your recipes. Give a fresh salad irresistible crunch by sprinkling pistachios on top. Take that Thai stir fry to the next level with a few spoons of peanut paste. Spice up pasta dishes with almond and basil pesto. Nuts are incredible, and they’re not just for snacking.

5 Tips on Eating Mindfully When Doing Everything from Home

Woman working from home

If you're like most people, you spend most of your time at home these days. While you surely don't miss your morning commute and cherish spending more time with your family, it's likely your diet has taken a turn for the worse.

Let's face it, it's tough to eat mindfully when you're constantly surrounded by snacks and goodies. It's also natural to turn to food for comfort when life gets stressful, which is a common experience for many. Fortunately, it is possible to eat mindfully these days, especially when you use the following tips.

Meal Plan

Make an Eating Plan Each Day

Meal plans eliminate the stress of deciding what to eat each day. When you have your food prepared and ready to go, you won't fall victim to ordering bad-for-you junk food just because it's quick and easy. When grocery shopping, consider your meals for the rest of the week. Prep your breakfast, lunch, and dinner the night before, so they're ready to go the next day. When meal time rolls around, just pop your prepped food out of the fridge and re-heat. It's as simple as that.

Salads

Know When You're Hungry

It's easy to mistake boredom for hunger, especially when you're working on a tedious task. Your chance of mindless snacking is highest during times of boredom, so pay attention to what your stomach is telling you. If you've recently eaten lunch or breakfast and aren't really feeling hunger pangs, look for another outlet that isn't food related. If you can, take a brief walk around the block. If you're stuck at home, take a ten-minute mediation break. You can also try moving to another task for a brief period to keep your mind engaged.


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Eat Smaller Portions

If the urge to snack is just too strong, consider reducing portion sizes. Try eating a light breakfast of yogurt and a slice of toast, followed up by a banana or other type of fruit. For lunch, have a lettuce wrap or healthy salad, followed up by a snack of kale chips or veggies with hummus. When you eat smaller meals consistently throughout the day, your metabolism will experience a much-needed boost. This helps you maintain a healthy weight, while also fighting back against any cravings you might experience.

Woman drinking water

Drink More Water and Other Fluids

Water is your best friend during a long and tedious day. It keeps you hydrated and refreshed, while also eliminating food cravings by creating a feeling of fullness. There are lots of other healthy beverages you can add into the mix for variety. Instead of coffee, try green tea. Green tea offers a boost thanks to caffeine and is also brimming with antioxidants. If you're trying to reduce your caffeine intake, try drinking a chamomile or ginger tea instead. You can also jazz up your water by adding a splash of lemon or picking up some flavored sparkling water.

Woman working at her desk

Don't Bring Food to Your Work Area

When there are delicious snacks right there on your desk, it's even harder to resist temptation. Consider your desk off limits for eating, even when it comes to healthy snacks. This will benefit you in a couple of ways. First, it will stop you from mindlessly snacking throughout the day. It will also help you achieve a good work/life balance. Taking time to enjoy meals is important for your health, both mentally and physically.

Try implementing the above tips during the day for a more enlightened attitude towards meals and snacking. It may be tough at first, especially if you're used to eating a lot during the day, but over time you'll feel better about yourself and your diet, which is much more gratifying.

What’s the Deal With Healthy Ice Cream “Alternatives”?

Ice cream

Lately, I’ve noticed when strolling happily through the frozen desserts section of the store that there are TONS of different ice cream “alternatives.” Are they worth the hype? I conducted a bunch of … um, “scientific” research to find the answers. Here’s what I discovered.

Gelato

Are Nondairy Desserts or Alternative Ice Creams Right for You?

First, let’s talk about the different options available for frozen treats. There are vegan alternatives, high-protein “keto” versions, Italian gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, frozen kefir and shaved ice. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Vegan desserts: These are nondairy desserts, meaning they don’t have any kind of cow’s milk, goat’s milk, etc. Instead, they use tasty coconut, almond, cashew or soy milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, these alternatives can be amazing. However, they also tend to be high in sugar and saturated fat.
  • Sorbet: This is whipped and frozen fruit puree. On the upside, it has zero saturated fat. On the downside, many varieties are packed with sugar.
  • Gelato: This is Italian ice cream. It’s thicker than traditional ice cream, and it has a heavenly texture (you can trust me on this). Ounce for ounce, gelato has significantly less calories, sugar and fat than ice cream. There’s a catch, however: One serving of gelato is quite a bit smaller than a serving of ice cream.
  • Frozen yogurt: This is a joke when it comes to losing weight. Frozen yogurt (and kefir) is tasty, and includes probiotics, but it usually has as much sugar and fat as regular ice cream.
  • Shaved ice: Bao bing, kakigori, Italian lemon ice — these are all types of shaved ice. Low in calories, gluten free and fat free, shaved ice sounds like the perfect alternative to ice cream. And, if you choose options with actual fruit juice and zero added sugar, it can be.

What about flavor? All of the healthy ice cream options I tried tasted great, though not quite as creamy as full-fat ice cream.


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Is Your Favorite Healthy Ice Cream Really Low in Fat?

At around 300–400 calories per pint compared to 1,200 calories in traditional ice cream, there’s no doubt that some varieties of healthy ice cream can help you skip the fat. To really benefit, however, you need to read the label. Some low-calorie desserts are full of added sugar (even more than full-fat ice cream) that adds to your waistline.

Ice cream bars

Are Ice Cream Alternatives Actually Healthy?

Can you benefit from choosing low-calorie alternatives to regular ice cream? Yes … and no. It honestly depends a lot on the specific ingredients. Some brands of healthy ice cream focus on natural ingredients (mint, dark chocolate, real fruit puree). Others use fillers, emulsifiers, sugar alcohols and a bunch of other things I can’t even pronounce.
After trying them over many weeks (purely out of scientific curiosity), my opinion is this: Choose healthy or vegan ice cream if you like it or need it, not as a weight-loss help. Many of these alternatives simply aren’t filling enough, which makes you want to eat more than you should.

Gelato store

Don’t fall for the “go for it!” trap. Even ice cream alternatives that are genuinely healthy can quickly add pounds if you eat the entire pint. Look at the serving size and compare it with what you normally eat. For some people, it’s better to indulge in a few scoops of normal ice cream on special occasions instead of demolishing an entire container of healthy ice cream regularly.

5 Hacks To Get Rid of Belly Bloat Quickly

I HATE trying to slip on that amazing pair of jeans I bought for girls’ nights out (the ones that make my butt look AWESOME) and not be able to close the zipper because of bloat. I know those jeans fit, but my tummy won’t cooperate! Sound familiar? If so, try these 5 secrets to getting rid of a bloated belly quickly.

1. Shake Your Booty

I know that going for a jog doesn’t sound very appetizing when your stomach feels bloated, but physical activity is one of the best ways to help get things moving inside. Even light exercise is fine, such as talking a walk, stretching or dancing for 5–10 minutes.

2. Massage Your Tummy

A fun way to calm a bloated belly and encourage your bowels to do their thing is with a gentle abdominal massage. It’s really easy.

Start by placing one of your hands on the right side of your belly, near your hip bone. Slowly move upwards, rubbing softly using a circular motion. Once you reach the top of your tummy, follow this movement straight across to the other side. Then move your hand down the left side of your stomach.

In other words, you’re massaging your tummy in a square pattern while making little circles with your hands. Repeat this several times. You don’t need to press hard for it to work.


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3. Enjoy a Warm Bubble Bath

Believe it or not, bloating is often caused by stress. Anxiety can mess with your hormones and cause digestive problems that lead to a bloated tummy. My favorite solution? Pampering myself with a warm bath and some scented oils (or Epsom salt).

This is great for relieving bloating for several reasons. The warm water soothes sore muscles and helps with abdominal pain. It’s also incredibly relaxing, especially with aromatic oils or candles. If bloating is a regular occurrence, try to schedule some private bubble bath “you” time once a week.

4. Drink Some Tea

Several herbal teas are wonderful for alleviating gas, bloating and abdominal pain. Here are a few of my favorite teas for times when you have a bloating emergency:

  • Star anise

  • Peppermint

  • Ginger

  • Lemon balm

  • Chamomile

  • Fennel

Peppermint tea may even help people who have irritable bowel syndrome to feel better. Studies show that peppermint oil helps to relax the gut in IBS patients.

5. Get More Fiber

“Fiber?! But I’m too young!” you say. Actually, all of need to get plenty of fiber in our diets. Bloating can happen to 18-year-old women with perfect curves as well as working moms with two kids and … slightly less perfect curves.

Most people don’t need fiber capsules; you can get what you need from a healthy diet. Add these fiber superstars to your meals or enjoy them as healthy snacks:

  • Whole grains: Oatmeal, quinoa and popcorn

  • Fresh fruits: Pears, strawberries, apples, raspberries and bananas

  • Veggies: Carrots, spinach, beets, kale and artichokes

  • Legumes: Lentils, black beans, chickpeas and kidney beans

  • Nuts and seeds: Chia seeds, almonds

Your body depends on plant fiber to keep its digestive system working properly. Smooth, regular trips to the bathroom are one of the best ways to enjoy a flat tummy and prevent bloating. Great nutrition is, not surprisingly, the key to fitting into those jeans every time.

10 Days and 70 Ounces of Water — This Is What Happened To My Body

Glass of Water

For the past 10 days, this brave work-at-home mom with nerves of steel made sure she got exactly 70 ounces of water a day. Over this time, I learned why doctors insist people drink more water. Here’s what you can expect:

1. I Peed … a Lot

The first thing I discovered is that if your body isn’t used to drinking so much water, you’re going to use the bathroom at least a couple of times a morning. One interesting side note is that my pee was much clearer than usual. After a quick Google search, I learned that this meant my kidneys were working great. So, thanks water for protecting my kidneys!

Woman drinking Water

2. The Munchies Disappeared

This is one of the things that surprised me the most. During my 10 day experiment, I gradually noticed that my cravings for chocolate started to disappear. I wouldn’t turn down a few scoops of chocolate ice-cream if you offered, but I don’t feel the same pull for chocolate or snacks as before. It turns out this is real science. The munchies are often caused by dehydration, not because you’re hungry. Yeah, the brain is pretty weird sometimes.

2 Minute Ritual
Potato Chips

3. I Have More Energy

As someone who LOVES coffee with her heart and soul, I was pleasantly surprised to see that drinking more water meant I didn’t need to brew a pot for the afternoon. I wasn’t sleepy, depressed or dragging my feet. My mind is more alert. I rely less on pick-me-ups during the day. Dehydration is one of the main causes of fatigue, so it’s no surprise that staying hydrated feels SO FREAKING INCREDIBLE for your muscles, your brain and your mood.

Woman Running

4. My Skin Looks Phenomenal

I’m not the kind of person who spends tons of time with makeup. I tend to focus on my “natural beauty,” AKA pray that my hair doesn’t get tangled as I toss on my pajamas for working from home. However, I made a surprising discovery after upping my water intake: My skin is shockingly lustrous and smooth! Apparently, staying hydrated on the inside directly leads to the amount of moisture your skin gets. In fact, drinking plenty of water can be more effective than applying moisturizer to dry skin. Who knew?!

Woman Looking in Mirror

The Secret To Staying Hydrated

I’m not normally forgetful, but remembering to get those eight glasses of water was more of a challenge than I expected. Here are a few ways to stay on track:

  • Set a BUNCH of water alarms on your smartphone: After a while, you’ll start to remember.
  • Use a squeeze bottle and keep it with you: No idea why, but squeeze bottles made it more exciting to drink water.
  • Drink water BEFORE you eat: This helps you remember and helps you lose weight, too.
  • Eat more fruit: Fresh fruit has water, keeping you hydrated. It also comes with tons of nutrients for your body.
  • Make it fun with an infuser: I started infusing my water with grapefruit, peaches, cucumbers and kiwi. It was so tasty that I actually looked forward to it.
Water infused with cucumber

In case you’re wondering, 70 ounces of water is basically half a gallon a day. It’s about eight glasses, but eight of those tiny plastic cups, not eight huge drinking glasses. I definitely recommend taking on your own 70-oz. water challenge!

The Best Apples for All Your Autumn Needs

Apple pie

From biting into a succulent Fuji apple to enjoying the tartness of a green Granny Smith, apples taste delicious and work any time of day as the ideal grab-and-go snack. And of course, we know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But with so many apple varieties at your grocery store or farmer's market, how do you know which apples you should choose for pie and which are best for your kiddo's lunchbox? Here's your fall guide to the best uses for our favorite types of apples.

Braeburn

While this apple hails from New Zealand, it's readily available throughout the United States. With autumn hints of cinnamon and spice, the tart yet sweet Braeburn tastes wonderful plucked right from the tree (or your kitchen table fruit bowl). However, it also works well for baking, with firm chunks that make the perfect pie or apple crisp.

Apple Tree

Crispin

This big, chunky apple has juice to spare. Crispins are tart yet sweet and just as crunchy as their name suggests. This is also one of the most versatile apple types, equally yummy in salads, pies, sauces and slices.

Fuji

These Japanese apples landed in the U.S. in the 1980s, where they immediately became renowned for their low acidity and delectable flavor with hints of honey and orange. Because they're just so darn juicy, Fuji apples are best when you eat them whole. You can also slice them thin to add a punch of sweetness and crunch to your favorite fall slaw or salad recipe. We also love cooking down Fujis on the stovetop and using the jammy results to top vanilla ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal.

Apple cake

Gala

You'll notice this versatile apple right away because of its distinctive red and yellow stripes. Also from New Zealand, the Gala is one of the sweetest apples you'll find anywhere. What's more, it works equally well sliced as a snack, reduced into sauce or added to your go-to pie crust recipe.

Granny Smith

This lunch-box classic is distinguished by its bright green hue and tart flavor. Use Granny Smiths in baking to offset the sweetness of sugary cakes and pies. We also love pairing Grannies with a sweet dip like peanut butter or caramel for a low-cal yet satisfying late-night snack. Have an abundance of Granny Smiths? This apple variety also freezes quite well, so you can save them for later.

2 Minute Ritual

McIntosh

This apple variety is a favorite for snacking because of its sweet, white flesh. While delicate McIntosh slices won't hold their shape well in pies and other desserts, this is a great apple to cook down if you've been dreaming about homemade applesauce or even cider to enjoy at all your fall festivities.

Apple crate

Red Delicious

If you picture an apple in your mind, it's probably the Red Delicious. This Iowa variety is the most popular snacking apple in the United States because of its gentle sweetness and satisfying crunch. While this grocery store fave works well for salads and slaws as well as eating whole, it's not the best for baking.

Apple slice cake

The Best of the Rest

Have a special favorite apple that didn't make it into this guide? Here's what we know about the best uses for some of the less ubiquitous varieties:

  • Applesauce: Cortland, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonathan, Lodi and Rome apples
  • Baking: Crispin, Cortland, Melrose, Golden Delicious and Winesap apples
  • Snacking: Cortland, Cameo, Empire, Jonathan and Macoun apples
  • Freezing: Baldwin, Crispin, Ida Red and Northern Spy apples

Regardless of which is your preferred apple, you can feel good about adding any of these fruits to your fall food plan. As an autumn superfood, apples are packed with healthy fiber, vitamin C and disease-fighting antioxidants. Plan a trip to the orchard and grab your cookbooks to start experimenting with this fabulous fruit.