With so many diets and food trends out there, it can be hard to know what exactly you need to do in order to eat healthier. Whether you want to eat healthier just so you can feel healthier and make positive changes that may help against medical issues such as diabetes or high cholesterol or because you want to lose some weight, it can be confusing to know where to start. While most of us might not be able to see a dietician or nutritionist, we can get some guidance from our doctors and doing research online. There is no need to worry about needing to go on a crash course diet or severely restricting what you can eat, changing your diet to be healthier has to be something you can maintain over time. It may be beneficial to cut out or at least limit a lot of the foods that aren’t nutritionally dense but there is no need to rid yourself of any and all foods you enjoy just because they aren’t inherently considered healthy.
Our bodies heavily depend on food to maintain and heal themselves; they need a proper balance of a variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and even carbohydrates. They all serve a purpose within our bodies; it is just a matter of consuming them in moderation and in a balanced fashion. While you shouldn’t obsess over calorie counting, it can be beneficial into keeping a physical journal or finding an app that can help you keep track of what you eat in order to maintain a healthy balance. You can talk with your doctor and look into apps that use your height, weight, age, and activity level to get an idea of your base metabolic rate, this tells you the number of calories you need in a day to maintain your weight. They can also give you and idea of how many calories to add or subtract if you want to gain or lose weight and can also tell you how many grams you need of specific things such as protein and fats. So here are some simple things you can do to help you eat better without getting on and off of diets.
1: Incorporate fruits and vegetables where you can.
Vegetables can be easily added into most dishes or used as sides, try different ways of preparing and seasoning them until you find something you like. Fruits can be easily used as snacks between meals or added into your breakfast with foods like oatmeal and certain cereals.
2: Reduce your salt intake.
The use of salt is so ingrained into our cooking that you can find it in most recipes. However, there are easy ways of flavoring your foods without it, and if you do want to use it, consider reducing the amount you’re adding. If you are worried about the flavor, try adding in some acidity such as lemon or lime juice or experimenting with other seasonings.
3: Reduce sugary drinks and alcohol.
Most diets focus on foods but what we drink can have a major impact on our diet. Even if you cut out sodas you may still be consuming drinks with high sugar contents, especially added sugar. Keep an eye out for added sugars in drinks like fruit juices or make your own if you can. Alcohol can have a negative effect on our health, especially our liver, and some mixed drinks contain added sugars. While you don’t have to cut it out completely, it is best to reduce it.
4: Cook at home.
It can be nice and convenient to go out to eat or pick something up, but even the healthy menu options can be deceiving. A lot of restaurants will use extra butter and salt to give their foods flavor, this isn’t beneficial for a healthy diet. Fast food options are typically fried or very greasy and while there are ways to make them healthier they won’t beat a nice home cooked meal. Cooking at home lets you make the substitutions you need to make a healthy meal, such as cutting back salt, butter, and other fats.
5: Add in healthy supplements.
Outside of the standard vitamins and minerals, you can easily incorporate supplements in many forms. Some popular ones include ginger, garlic, and turmeric, all of which can be taken in pill form, added to dishes, or can be found in hot teas. Instead of taking away options like most diets, you can add something in and open your palate to new flavor experiences.
Eating healthy does not have to mean eating small amounts of a few restricted food options. You can still eat what you want as long as you eat in moderation and try to be a little more active in you day to day life. Minor changes like taking small walks or choosing to park further back in the parking lot combined with mindful eating can gradually change your life for the better. After all become the epitome of health and fitness doesn’t happen over night and you have to be able to maintain your habits without stressing over it.