Most everybody these days is interested in healthy eating, although understanding how to do it and actually following a healthy diet can be more challenging.
With an abundance of information, special foods and nutrition supplements available, it can be confusing to know how to incorporate healthy eating in a way that is realistic and sustainable for your lifestyle. Here are a few back-to-basic tips that are simple ways to eat better so that your body and your health benefit.
Healthy Eating Tips
- Whenever possible, choose natural foods over processed foods. That means, pick fruit over juice; veggies over chips and crackers; and fresh meat over processed lunchmeats.
- Incorporate lots of colors. If your diet is primarily white, loaded with pasta, bread, potatoes and other starches, you’re missing out on the many nutrients in colorful fruits and vegetables, including apples, peaches, pomegranates, green beans, corn and sweet potatoes, for example.
- Pick lean and low-fat versions of meats and dairy products. Save yourself calories and fat by selecting lean grades of meat (and throw in some poultry and fish!) and low-fat/light milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Eat at home or pack your meals more often. Studies show that we tend to take in a lot more calories at restaurant or take-out meals. Control the added fats and portion sizes better by cooking at home or regularly packing your lunch. Eating out should be a treat, not simply a convenience.
- Limit calorie-dense foods and drinks. This includes fried foods, sweets, fancy coffee beverages, smoothies, beer, wine, alcohol and more. These calories add up fast, and often aren’t worth the nutrients provided.
- Control portion sizes. In the U.S., food and meal portions have become huge and have distorted our view of how much we need. Take less food, use smaller plates, don’t eat anything directly out of a box or bag, resist munching mindlessly in front of the TV and don’t automatically have dessert. Cut back and see if you still are satisfied.
- Eat at regular intervals. Skipping meals doesn’t always save calories in the long run, and can lead to binging and a slower metabolism. Your body functions best when it gets fuel at consistent intervals, so eat meals and small snacks as needed each day.
- Drink water to stay hydrated. With all the beverage options that are popular today, nothing hydrates better or is healthier than plain tap water. It’s easy to be dehydrated and not realize it, so carry a water bottle with you throughout the day and sip often.