Don’t be intimidated by the concept of healthy eating. It doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be easier than you think. When it comes to healthy eating, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can use the information already compiled with shopping lists and menus. If that isn’t satisfactory or you simply want to learn to do it on your own, you can start by making small changes and work your way toward a healthy diet as you go.
Avoid processed food, including snacks.
Seriously, I don’t know of anyone that thinks beef sticks or jerky has a place in a healthy diet. Everyone knows that M&Ms and Skittles aren’t what nutritionists mean when they say eat a multitude of color. Exchanging unhealthy snacks for healthy snacks should be the first change on your list. Snacking isn’t unhealthy, but if you’re eating unhealthy food it is. Switch out candy, chips and sweets for fresh fruit, yogurt and nuts or trail mix. It’s the first step, and really an important step.
Step two should be monitoring what you drink.
I’m keeping the first two steps easy to get you on the right road. Are you drinking soft drinks throughout the day, having a few mixed drinks or beer at night? Alcohol and dieting don’t go together, but some people continue with just one drink with a meal. They don’t make that drink a sugary drink, but opt for a wine spritzer or lower proof distilled alcohol on the rocks or mixed with club soda and a splash of lime. Limit it to one or at the most two. Drink plenty of water. As for soft drinks like cola or diet cola switch those out with water and save not only calories but also your health. Diet cola is linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat.
Switch out processed foods for whole foods.
Processed foods are foods that are highly processed and may contain chemicals to add shelf life. They contain fewer nutrients than food that isn’t processed—whole foods. Adding eggs from range free hens, organic meats and grassfed beef to your diet, plus loads of fruits and vegetables a start. When you create your own meals, you know exactly what you added. Load up your plate with at least 2 to 2 ½ cups of veggies a day and 1to 1 ½ cups of fruit. Choose a rainbow of colors, since each color of fruit or vegetable has different nutrients.
- Change how you cook. Steam, broil or grill veggies and broil, roast or grill meat to avoid excess fat. Eliminate deep fried food from your diet.
- Increase your water intake and drink a glass of water before a meal. Water not only fills you up, it can help you lose weight in other ways. Sometimes people eat because they think they’re hungry when they really are thirsty.
- Really taste the food you eat and chew slowly and a lot. One reason people have problems with digestion and gaining weight is that they eat too fast and don’t savor the flavor.
- Don’t worry if you’ve broken down and eaten a high calorie, highly processed food. It’s not the end of the world. You can eat your favorite unhealthy food, just not as often or in large amounts.