When it comes to nourishing our bodies and staying hydrated, developing long-term habits starts small — with in-the-moment Microsteps that are backed by science and become second nature with practice. 

In celebration of Thrive’s first book, Your Time to Thrive, which dives deep into how our nutrition affects our overall well-being, HBFIT founder Hannah Bronfman joined Thrive founder and CEO Arianna Huffington and head of content development Marina Khidekel to discuss their go-to tips for eating well and prioritizing hydration. Here are some highlights from their conversation:

Marina on the Microstep that helps her start her day on the right note:

“Every morning, I like to habit stack one of my favorite Microsteps with another Microstep in the book: I take a minute before checking my phone in the morning (my favorite!), and I use that minute to drink a glass of water, because we wake up dehydrated after sleeping. Getting that hydration first thing makes me crave less food throughout the day, and is overall just a nice, quiet moment.”

Hannah on the importance of slowing down while eating:

“It’s important to sit down and have a meal without rushing out the door all the time. It’s shown that taking a moment to smell your food starts your saliva, and your saliva carries enzymes that help you break down your food to better digest. Those small cues allow your brain to take a moment to process what you’re putting in your body.”

Arianna on the power of looking to our ancestors’ habits:

“If you think about how our ancestors lived, they were not eating all the time. They were moving and didn’t have snacks everywhere along the way. We were developed that way and our digestive systems were developed that way. The same goes for sleep. Our ancestors tended to go to sleep long before we go to sleep, and obviously that’s not doable, but at least all the science shows that going to sleep before midnight makes a big difference because your digestive systems have time to regenerate during the right kind of cycles.”

Hannah on the item that finally got her drinking more water: 

“I wasn’t loving drinking bottled water — just from the single-use plastic aspect. This gave me an opportunity to invest in a pretty glass carafe, and I found it made it more fun for me to drink water. I felt good about cutting down my plastic, and I made it a little ritual for myself on my way to go to bed every night: I would fill my carafe up and make sure to take a moment to breathe. My husband had a glass of water, I had a glass of water and we’d just feel set for the night. It made me feel very proactive.” 

Marina on treating our food like a new relationship:

“So much of how we eat is tied to our mindset and our outlook. It’s not just about, ‘Oh, what am I hungry for?’ There’s a Stanford food expert, Maya Adam, who recommends this mindset shift before you make a food choice. You ask yourself, in the same way you would if you were dating someone, ‘Is this food good enough for me? Is it worthy of me?’”

Hannah on why she loves Michelle Obama’s nutrition Microstep:

“Michelle Obama talks about one of her favorite Microsteps, which is just adding a vegetable to every meal that you are having. It sounds so much easier to do than to put together a diet goal. It’s so important to make swaps or additions with Microsteps before you ever talk about cutting something out or depriving yourself of something.”