Healthy Habits from Around the World

In Italy, dinner is often capped off with a fresh piece of fruit shared among friends. Fresh fruit is a great substitute for a calorie-rich dessert, while still containing enough sugar to signal to your body that mealtime is over.

In Japan, the emphasis on presenting beautiful food can make every meal feel like an indulgent treat – even when the calorie count is low.

In India, many people are in the habit of taking an evening stroll. In addition to the great low-intensity exercise, this can get you mentally and physically prepared for sleep!

Focus on healthy fats, like those found in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil, full-fat cheese, and plenty of veggies have won the Mediterranean cuisine the honor of one of the healthiest, most sustainable diets in the world.

Consider biking to work or to run errands like they do in the Netherlands, where approximately 30% of the population commutes by bike. They must be doing something right because the Dutch boast one of the lowest obesity rates among developed countries.

In Russia and Turkey, there is a vibrant bathhouse culture. Taking an afternoon to detox in the sauna and stimulate blood flow with hot and cold plunges can be a wonderful way to show your body some love and destress after a long week.

Practice hara hachi bu for portion control—this Japanese practice means choosing to eat until only 80% full. Because it takes a little time for the stomach to communicate to the brain, you’ll likely still end up at 100%.

Building off of hara hachi bu, try out eating slowly to savor your food like they do in France. Taking the time to really taste and enjoy a meal (and the present company!), often called mindful eating, can help you get more pleasure out of your food while also limiting how much you eat.

Spices not sauces! Save on calories without skimping on flavor by taking a cue from Indian cuisine, known for its rich use of spices. Consider a spice rub on your next chicken dinner instead of a creamy sauce. (Bonus: turmeric, a primary ingredient in curry, has anti-inflammatory properties.)

In Mexico, lunch is the biggest meal of the day. Studies show that a big evening meal can lead to weight gain, as the body’s hormone production (insulin and ghrelin) and metabolism slow in the evening. Eating a larger lunch will provide fuel for your body while also making it less likely that you’ll overindulge at dinner.

Lastly, take a note from the Thai people and treat yourself with a massage regularly. The benefits of massages include improved digestion, reduced inflammation and muscle tension, lessened anxiety, and even relief for insomnia.