By Skylar Doege:
Healthy eating is not about a strict diet, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of foods you love to eat. It’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook, and stabilizing your mood. If you feel overwhelmed about all the nutrition and diet advice out there, trust me you’re not alone. Taking in all the advice you receive, you can get worked up and think, “I don’t have the time or ability to do this.” But by using these simple tips, you can cut through all the confusion and learn how to create your own tasty and healthy diet at your own pace.
Tip One: Set Yourself Up for Success
To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthier diet such as a salad once day or replacing those potato chips during your break with a fruit bowl. As your small changes become habits, you can continue to add healthier choices.
- Prepare your own meals. Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and monitor what exactly goes in your food as well as your body.
- Read the labels. Food labels can help you limit the amount of fat, sugar, and cholesterol in your diet by making it easy for you to compare one food item to another and choose the one with the lower amounts. It’s important to read food labels so you can know what you are putting in your body and decide if it’s really the best choice for you. A food label may indicate that food has 100 calories and only five grams of sugar. But if you look at the number of servings, it may state three. That means that if you were to eat the entire package you would be getting three times the amount shown on the food label. Don’t be fooled.
- Focus on how you feel after eating. This will help you foster healthy new habits and taste. The more healthy food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk you eat, the more likely you are to feel drained of energy or feel uncomfortable.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet not many people drink enough water. This can cause fatigue, low energy, and headaches. Staying hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Tip Two: Moderation is Key
Key to any healthy diet is moderation. But what exactly is moderation? It means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal but not stuffed. Moderation is also about balance. For many of us, moderation is about eating less than we do now, but it doesn’t mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner.
- Try not to think of certain foods of off-limits. When you ban certain goods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more. Start by reducing portions of unhealthy goods and not eating them as often. As you reduce eating unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only an occasional option.
- Take your time. Stop eating before you feel too full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
- Eat with others. As well as the emotional benefits, this allows you to mold healthy eating habits for you and your kids. Eating in front of the Tv or computer often lead to mindless overeating.
Tip Three: Eat Plenty of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily minimum of five serving of fruit and vegetables, and it will naturally fill you up and help cut back on unhealthy foods.
- Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. www.helpguide.org recommends eating these foods everyday as deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals. Add berries to breakfast cereals, eat fruit for dessert, and snack on vegetables such as carrots, cherry tomatoes, or celery instead of a bag of potato chips.
- Greens. Branch out beyond lettuce. Try mustard greens or broccoli, which are all packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins.
- Sweet veggies. Naturally sweet vegetables, such as corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, can add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugars.
- Fruit. Eating fruit is a satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.
There are so many tips for eating a healthier diet to enjoy a happier life. You can still enjoy eating the foods you love as well as eating healthy.
If you set yourself up for success you can accomplish anything.