Nowadays, it is undeniably difficult to maintain a healthy diet. When you’re at work all day and hardly have time to grab something on your way, dreams of a fit and healthy body can get increasingly distant. Developing a healthy eating lifestyle and keeping yourself to it does require some effort. However, your health and well-being are not the right places to cut corners. If you need a bit of help on this front, here are ten tips for making it work.
Learn more about nutrition
All of us have some knowledge about nutrition and what’s good and bad for us, but the matter can certainly be a little complex. Learning a bit more about nutrition can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy diet. Not only will you be able to make better-informed decisions about what foods to purchase and how to keep your diet balanced, but you will also have a better understanding of why you should do that.
Fix your snacking habits
Most of us are guilty of snacking. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a few bites here and there, but you should mind your snacking habits so they don’t become a hindrance in your efforts to get healthier. Try to cut out unhealthy snacks and substitute them with healthy, filling alternatives that will keep you going until your meal. Have them at hand so that you don’t reach for that candy bar.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the mainstays of a healthy diet. Be sure to include them in all your meals so that you get 5 servings of them each day, as recommended. They don’t necessarily have to be fresh. Even if you don’t get to grab fresh fruits and vegetables from the market every other day, canned and frozen goods are good enough. Juice your fruit, make smoothies, add more vegetables to your meals. Get creative and include them in everything.
Reduce your sodium, sugar, and fat intake
You are probably already aware of the negative effects of too much sodium, sugar, and fat on your health. Controlling how much of them you consume is thus paramount. Start looking at labels and be especially mindful of the sodium contents of canned goods. Fast and processed food is another culprit, so try to prepare your own meals whenever you can. Go for lean meats instead of fatty parts, and swap frying for baking. As for sugar, be mindful of added sugar in the foods you purchase. If sugar is a particular concern of yours, learn more about cutting down on it.
Watch what you drink
As we just mentioned, added sugars are something you are better off avoiding. Soft drinks are particularly high in these sugars and are extremely bad for your teeth, too. Try swapping these drinks to a better way of hydrating your body. There is hardly anything better than water, and you should not underestimate the importance of this simple liquid in a healthy diet. Keep your body hydrated so it can function at its best. To keep it interesting, add some fruit slices or herbs to your water.
Focus on whole grains
Switching refined grains to whole grains will not require too much effort but it makes a big difference in terms of your health. Whole grains are rich in fibers and will keep you full and energetic longer. Whole foods are also full of vitamins and minerals that are going to keep your gut health in check. Switch white rice to brown, and check out whole-wheat pastas.
Prepare meals in advance
One of the biggest obstacles to a balanced, healthy diet is simply a lack of time. Expecting you to cook your meals every day is just unrealistic. However, you can get over this obstacle with a little bit of planning and thinking in advance. Meal planning is a gateway to healthy eating. Instead of scrambling last minute, having your whole week mapped out will make shopping for ingredients a breeze. Besides knowing exactly what to cook, a bit of planning can also help you prepare what you can in advance and save a tremendous amount of time.
Add more plant-based foods to your diet
Diets that contain plenty of plant-based foods have long been proved to be a healthy choice. Plant-based foods are high in antioxidants which are important for protecting our cells from oxidative stress and thereby a number of health conditions. While you don’t have to completely cut out meat and other animal products from your diet, it’s a good idea to give yourself a boost with plant based protein solutions. This is also a fantastic option for those looking to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Eat seasonal foods
Another great tactic that can help you maintain a healthy diet is focusing on seasonal foods. Eating those fruits and vegetables that are in season will not only mean that they are fresh and tasty, containing the highest amount of vitamins and antioxidants they can, but you will also save some money as they will naturally come cheaper. Seasonal eating is a great habit that will thus benefit both you and the planet, so it’s a win-win.
Mind your portion sizes
Many of us are guilty of overeating from time to time. If weight loss is one of your concerns, you shouldn’t overstep your recommended daily calorie count. For this, downsizing your current portion sizes may be necessary. However, this is not as drastic as it may sound. When at home, use smaller plates and be sure to eat slower. Savor your food and give your body time. When going out, try to go for smaller portion sizes even if larger ones would be better value for money. Controlling portion sizes will allow you to continue enjoying your favorite foods, just in moderation.
Changing your lifestyle is always hard at first but take it one step at a time and soon, it will come naturally. The long-term benefits of a healthy diet are more than worth it, so don’t give up!