17 ways to a healthier you

Hello there, welcome to LiveBest.

So glad you’re here.

Life is too short to sit on the sidelines and I think you were designed for more. I want you to live your life well and I can help you turn good intentions into effective actions — to get you where you want to be.

The tagline of LiveBest is you must be present to win. That means showing up in your own life to live the life you want. Food nourishes you, but you can also feed your soul so that you set yourself up to have more of the good stuff. Get more healthy living tips and recipes with my newsletter here

Here are my top tips on how to get moving toward some healthier living.

1. A checkup

You may annually visit your doctor for a check up. That’s great. But what you put on your fork, how you move your feet, and feed your soul make a huge impact every. single. day. The LiveBest Checkup is a cornerstone piece for my book, Your 6- Week Guide to LiveBest, but it’s an easy way to check in on your eating style. In just a few minutes you can see how you’re doing and where you might need some tweaks in your food choices.

2. Eat breakfast

After an overnight fast, your brain and muscles need fuel. Front-load your day with breakfast to stabilize hunger hormones. Protein and fiber at breakfast help you feel full longer and concentrate better. Carbohydrates feed your brain and muscles to jump start the day. Here are are several delish and nutrish breakfast ideas.

Berry Banana Smoothie

Berry Banana Smoothie

3. Product placement

You are much more likely to eat what you see first in your pantry or refrigerator, so position healthier foods there. A clear container helps even more. Carrots and hummus, anyone? It may sound odd, but stick the chips and cookies in a cupboard or back of the fridge or freezer so you have to dig a little deeper to find them.

4. Use a shopping list

The most overlooked tool in your medicine cabinet may be your fork. Use it to get the greatest bang for your buck with foods that deliver healthful benefits. How you fill your fork depends on what’s in your kitchen. Most of our nutrition decisions are made at the grocery store by what we put in our shopping cart because if it’s not in the kitchen, it likely won’t end up on your plate. Here’s a LiveBest Shopping List to get those cupboards and fridge working for you. Plus a shopping list helps waste less food, money, and time because you know what you need when you head to the store.

5. Produce power

Fruits and vegetables are superheroes! Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried all work. These should be on your fork daily, but if they’re not in your kitchen, they’ll not be on your fork.

The plant compounds (phytonutrients) that protect the plants from their enemies in turn protect us from some of ours such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and brain deterioration.

The thousands of phytonutrients protect us from free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen fragments that we get from the air, foods we eat, and during normal metabolism. But they are a problem. A free radical is an unstable molecule that latches onto healthy cells making them unstable as well, creating a chain reaction that speed aging, increase stress, impact our memory and energy. More fruits and vegetables are the antidote. The more we eat, the more we stabilize these free radicals.

Even more, eating fruits and vegetables improves happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being. People who ate more fruits and vegetables report greater life satisfaction than those who eat fewer. Who knew your happiness hinged on a sweet potato? Or Sweet Potato Nachos!

bowl of shaved brussels sprout salad with cranberries and cheese

Brussel Sprouts Salad

6. Get cooking

Building your cooking chops may begin with pouring cereal or spreading peanut butter and jam on bread, but it’s not too hard to ramp up your game. Even with limited skills and time, delicious food is just a few minutes away. Here is a 10-minute Peanut Asian Rice Bowl and an easy Strawberry Cucumber Salad. Try a One-Pot Baked Greek Chicken Stew or an easy vinaigrette. Join my online healthy cooking classes.

Join me for online healthy cooking classes.

Strawberry Cucumber Salad

Strawberry Cucumber Salad

The right tools makes cooking easier. Here is the LiveBest Kitchen Equipment List. These are the same tools I use in my kitchen.

7. Go fish

Feeding your brain is worth thinking about. Enjoying a couple of servings of fish per week is a simple way to do that.

The Omega-3s that you get from eating salmon and other oily fish offer protection against heart attack, stroke, cancer, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It does this by thinning the blood and preventing it from sticking to your artery walls. That helps lower the risk for blocked arteries and heart attacks.

About 8-12 ounces per week is a good target. Instead of fried fish, bake, broil, or poach. Get started with Fish tacos with yogurt crema and Tuna piccata toast.

Add fish to a Seacuterie Board

8. Meal plan

Meal planning helps control the chaos, saves time and money, decreases the number of trips to the store and reduces wasted food. I know, you’re thinking I don’t have time to plan! But, seriously, it’s not that bad, The more you flex this planning muscle, the easier it gets. Here are three steps to get you going.


Before you grocery shop, survey your cupboards, fridge, and freezer to see what’s available. Are there foods on hand you can use to start a recipe? Tomatoes (canned or fresh) can be simmered with olive oil and garlic to make a pasta sauce. If you have a can of olives, tuna or clams, add those. Do you have fruit or vegetables you can repurpose into a salad or salsa?


Think about what you have on hand, your calendar and schedule. Try planning just a couple for meals for the week. Use this weekly Meal Planner to get you going.


Set aside a meal-prep power hour to focus in the kitchen on foods to use through the week. Sunday works for me, but find the time best suited for your schedule. Sometimes I turn on some music. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet. Whatever your vibe, you’ll save time and your sanity during the week. I share tips for meal planning and 6 ways I do it in this post.

9. Fiber focus

Getting the right amount of fiber is a struggle for most adults. But the health benefits of fiber make it worth the effort. In our fast food, white bread environment, you do have to work at it to meet the numbers.

An adequate daily amount of fiber is defined as 20 to 35 grams for adults. Women need 25-28 grams per day and men 28-36, depending on age and activity level. No need to quibble over a few grams, but the bottom line is for most Americans it’s a stretch to come close to half the recommended amount. The average intake for Americans is only 16 grams per day.

Fiber is best known for helping to keep food moving smoothly and regularly through your body. But this is only one of many ways that fiber contributes to good health. It helps fight heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. People who eat a high-fiber diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains are less likely to develop certain types of cancer. For people with diabetes, it helps to control blood sugar levels. Fiber in foods helps prevent constipation and may help to keep your body trim because fiber-rich foods tend to make you feel full sooner.

I’ve got a FREE 5 Day High Five Fiber Challenge for you right here, right now.

10. Snack smart

Snacking can be a great way to fill in nutrition gaps. But mindlessly grazing adds extra calories and plays havoc with blood sugar levels.

Make your snacks help you live stronger, longer. See if any of these appeal to you.

Keep fruit on the counter. That way it’s easy to find. Or stash cubed cantaloupe and watermelon is see-through containers or plastic bags so you can spot them quickly. Stock single-serve, ready-to-go snacks such as small boxes of raisins, baby carrots, fruit and pudding cups. Get veggies washed, cut-up and ready to eat.

Coconut Seed clusters on parchment

Coconut Seed Clusters

11. Get moving

“I wish I hadn’t exercised,” said no one. Ever. A good pair of sturdy shoes (with you in them) may be the secret to aging well.

Regular exercise is a one-stop shop in preventing more than 25 health problems including diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity. Moving more helps you sleep better, think better (by expanding brain volume and protecting the cells that line blood vessels), and behave better (by reducing stress).

hikers footsteps

get those shoes moving!

12. A good day starts the night before with sleep

Because so many of us aren’t sleeping enough, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now consider insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.

Most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep to feel alert and well rested. Sleep recharges and regulates hormones, while a lack of it weakens your immune system—increasing your risk of chronic disease.

  1. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
  2. Brush and floss your teeth.
  3. Get your clothes ready for tomorrow.
  4. A warm bath or shower before bed can ease the transition into deeper sleep.
  5. Maybe you need to set an alarm to remind you to get ready for bed to maintain a regular bedtime and wake time schedule. The sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a “circadian clock.” A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian clock which helps you fall asleep at night.

With all these tips, the point is to relax. Find the go-to happy place in your mind. Think of 3 good things that happened today or imagine a peaceful landscape like a beach or trickling stream. A book can distract your thoughts from things that may be worrying you.

13. Want to dig deeper to live stronger, healthier and happier?

Let me be your guide with my book, Your 6-week guide to LiveBest, simple solutions for fresh food and well-being.

You 6-week guide to LiveBest

Your 6-week guide to LiveBest

14. Feed your soul

Where do you draw your energy? What excites you? Let’s have more of that! Remember: Fun stuff counts. It’s Soul Food!

  • Enjoy what makes you feel light and open. Don’t miss the moment, a sunset, great bite of food, compliment, or smile.
  • Notice the good things—laughs, accomplishments, glimmers of hope, a cat on your lap…whatever. You can train your brain to become more skilled at noticing and focusing on the good things. When you write down 3 good things each day for a week, you could find you’re happier.
  • Order calms you and feeds your soul. It is hard to feel settled when things are in disarray. Organize your spices, shoes, or desk.
  • Feed your soul with nature. Stress levels fall when you’re outside. Go free-range to feel restored and contented.
  • Feel the sun on your face. It’s not only good for creativity, it’s good for your health!

Scandinavian sunset

15. Social connections help you live stronger, longer

Social connections provide powerful long-term emotional, mental and physical health benefits. Whether you meet for drinks or exercise, it’s harder to skip when you’re meeting friends. Maybe call it “Healthy Hour” and meet your friends at the ballet barre instead of the wine bar! Invite friends to do something fun that is active— bowling, gallery walk, golf, or dancing.

16. Find the funny

Laughter is a huge energizer and mood lifter. It reduces stress by releasing feel-good endorphins, helps you connect with other people, cope with difficult situations, and improves your mood. It’s hard to feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing. Ask people: “what was the funniest thing that happened to you this week?”

17. Note to self

I give you permission to make your self a priority! Tag me on Instagram @JudyBarbe to share what steps you’re taking.

Give yourself the gift of #health. This may be the most important one of all: to take care of yourself. Check out the LiveBest 6-week webinar. It’s ready when you are. What are you waiting for?

Let me know what you struggle with in the comments. In the meantime, here’s to living even better!

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P.S. Hungry for more healthy living tips and recipes? Sign up for my newsletter here. As a registered dietitian, nutrition and delicious, healthy eating are my focus.

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  1. I’m so glad I read your livebest information . I am sure that I can benefit from your invaluable contribution. I am prepared to livebest now. Thank you for your generous sharing.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Sharon. So pleased you’ve found helpful information. That’s my goal!

  2. I began Thanksgiving morning by reading your tips for a healthier life. Giving ourselves permission on Thanksgiving morning to spend a little time on self is freeing and lovely. Thank you, Judy, for encouraging everyone to live more thoughtfully and joyfully.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Ken.

    Sally Belcher

    1. Author

      Thanks so much, Sally! Glad I could be part of your morning and daily intention. Best to you! Judy

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