Tips to Eat Healthier
Healthy eating, one of the best ways to improve your overall health, is often ignored or neglected because it may seem too complicated. Let us be honest, in the world of the diet fads, gourmet trends, and a rotating roster of superfoods, no one wants to follow another diet, especially when it has to last throughout your life, even if it promises such attractive and desirable benefits as physical and mental health, beautiful body and rocky self-confidence.
The truth about healthy eating is that it is not so convoluted as it may seem. To dispel your doubts, we want to provide you with 20 easy-to-follow commonsense tips that will help you to eat healthier without a need to follow any strict instructions. What is more, these tips can assure you that healthy eating can be actually quite fun.
1. Not Another Diet
Although there is nothing wrong with the word diet, most of us associate it with a specific weight-loss plan. In reality, any diet can be defined by types and amounts of food we eat. Because of a wrong interpretation of this word, psychologically, the word diet is often associated with some limitations. And when we put some limitations, we feel like we are losing something desirable. That is why it is so hard for most of us to follow diets.
You have to understand that when you switch to healthy eating, you do not lose anything. Instead, you let something new, something beautiful and something really good to come into your life. When it comes to healthy eating, we do not focus on limitations, we are focusing on the quality of food and its healing effects, and there is always a healthy food swap for your favorite meal.
2. Wherever You Are, Do As Greeks Do
Mediterranean diet beloved by Greeks is the key to longevity. It is considered to be one of the healthiest diets as it includes a lot of fresh vegetables to feed your body with minerals and antioxidants and heart-healthy fats provided by Omega-3 rich fish. Even a glass of wine often included in daily Mediterranean meals can be good for your health as it can protect you against certain cancers, improve mental health, and enhance heart health. Putting all these together, there is no wonder why one of five Blue Zones, regions where people live much longer than average, is situated exactly in Greece.
The tip is to imagine yourself a tourist in Greece and to feed your body with tasty and beneficial Mediterranian food. Meals on vacation always taste incredible, so why not to let them become a part of your daily routine?
3. Read Nutrition Labels
Checking labels before you buy this or that product is very important because quite often, seemingly healthy foods turn out to be filled with unnecessary ingredients. The rule to remember is that fonts are no more than advertising while reading labels can help you to find out if the product you are going to buy is good for your health. Furthermore, this tip will help to increase your awareness about truly healthy products and those that just look like healthy options.
4. Choose Unprocessed Foods
If you want to feed your body with lots of nutrients and to get the best of your food, eat whole foods. It means that if you are trying to shop and eat healthier, choose products that you could actually grow or those minimally processed.
You know that apples come from trees, eggs from hens, milk from cows, and flour from cereal grains, but are you sure that packed apple pie came from the mixture of these products, especially considering its incredibly long storage time? There are some rare cases when it is so, but still, any processing takes out nutrients. What is more, processed foods you see on supermarket shelves contain things that are not necessary and quite often are even harmful to your health.
5. When There Is No Fresh, Go For Frozen
For sure, there is nothing better than fresh organic food, but there are situations when for some reason, fresh options are unavailable. If you are in such situation, choose frozen stuff over canned one. The thing is that canned products often contain sugars, salt, and some other unnecessary things, while frozen are just frozen.
6. Fruits Instead Of Fruit Flavors
Quite often, you can find natural fruit flavors on labels of some products. Know that in this case, the word “natural” is not equal to healthy. It just means that this flavor was created with the help of bacteria. So instead of choosing products with natural fruit flavors, better choose real fruits.
7. Smoothies Are Not Always Healthy
Most of us believe that any smoothie is a vitamin bomb and it is healthy by definition. Unfortunately, not all smoothies are equal and not all are actually healthy. The truth is that most of the store-bought smoothies contain a lot of sugar and instead of vitamin bomb, we get a total gut bomb. So that is why it is very important to double check ingredients.
There is also an easier way to make sure that your smoothie is healthy – make it yourself. Just note that smoothie with only fruits is a dessert and if you want to make it healthier, add some vegetables and some high-fiber and high-protein foods such as coconut milk, almond milk, chia seeds, etc.
8. Avoid Low-Fat Versions of Food
Note that low-fat versions of food can actually be quite harmful. For example, low-fat dairy products, in comparison to full-fat ones, have a high insulin index. It means that such foods can cause insulin resistance that can become a reason for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
What is more, low-fat products usually leave you hungry and cheated, so if there is some food you really love and you want to be satisfied physically and psychologically, do not bother with its low-fat and diet versions. It will be better if you eat one full-fat ice cream and enjoy it than you will waste your money and energy on amounts of fat-free ice treat that will leave you hungry and disappointed.
9. Drink More Water
Up to 60% of your body is water. Your body does not store it, so water needs to be replaced every day. Water is essential for a number of important processes in your body. It helps to carry nutrients you get from the food you eat to organs, muscles, and bones. Water aids the digestion. It helps to regulate your body temperature and keeps your skin healthy and hydrated. Water helps you to remove waste products and fat from the body. Also, it lubricates your organs, muscles, and bones and provides them with oxygen.
It is worth to mention that when it comes to losing weight, water has to become your best friend. The thing is that sometimes you may feel hungry when, in fact, you are actually thirsty. So water can help you to keep yourself from overeating.
10. Choose Your Proteins Wisely
What comes to your mind when you think about proteins? If you are not a vegetarian, perhaps you are thinking about beef steak or something like chicken drumsticks. Still, it is important to understand that there are plenty more protein options and some of them are much healthier than those we got used to. Some plant foods such as soybeans, blue-green algae, hempseed, buckwheat, and quinoa can provide your body with complete proteins. Furthermore, such animal products as full-fat dairy, eggs, fatty fish, and seafood are considered to be great alternatives to red meat.
As you see, there are various sources of proteins. Remember that feeding your body with a variety is the best way to get all nutrients needed.
Avoid processed products such as sausages and canned meat. The same to many other processed foods, the processed meat will feed your body with sodium and preservatives instead of healthy nutrients, so if you prefer getting proteins from meat, it is always better to buy it straight from the butcher.
11. Eat Mindfully
How often do you eat in front of your TV or computer? Probably you know that it is a bad habit and for good reason. The thing is that your brain needs from 15 to 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full and when you are concentrated on something but not your food, there is a great chance that you are going to eat more than you actually need. Furthermore, eating mindfully allows your body to absorb nutrients more efficiently. Remember, the first bites are those that you will enjoy most, so always try to savor every bite.
12. Create And Follow Your Own Meal Plan
You can start with a daily meal plan but it will be better if you come up with a weekly one. The thing is that weekly planning will help you to save time, save money and, for sure, eat better.
When your meal plan is ready, do not skip your meals. Healthy eating means eating regularly. It allows you to keep your metabolism running at full speed, get enough energy for your daily activities, and avoid overeating.
13. Learn To Love Cooking At Home
When your meal plan is ready, it is time to prepare your food. Doing meal preparations saves you a lot of time. It allows you to make sure that your weekly healthy eating plan will not be swapped to accidental fast foods that usually happen when you get busy as hell and do not have time to look for healthy food options. What is more, cooking at home allows you to make conscious food choices. The result is definitely worth your effort. Just make sure you have right storage containers, a well-stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer.
14. Learn New Recepies
Cooking is fun and enjoyable, especially when you are learning some new healthy recipes and try some new healthy foods. It can surprise you how much we are losing when we focus only on traditional recipes and eat only those foods we got used to. We can assure you that there are plenty of fruits and vegetables you have never bite, as well as there are plenty of different foods that can actually surprise you with incredible tastes. All you have to do is to explore!
15. Eat Until You Are 80% Full
One of the main reasons for overeating is that we believe that if we do not devour everything on our plate, we are misbehaving. The truth is that continuing eating after you are 80% full means turning your body into a storage unit. The thing is that when you eat until you are 80% full, it takes about 15-20 minutes for your brain to understand that you are full and do not need more food. So when you feel like you are close to 80%, pack left over to eat it later and put it in the fridge.
16. Use Your Leftovers
Small leftovers can be used to create a meal that will include a variety of foods. You have to remember that your body lives variety as each food provides different nutrients. So if you have any leftovers, you can turn one of your meals into many.
17. Snack When You Feel Hungry
Although i is recommended to narrow down food intakes to three meals a day, you can avoid overeating having a snack between your main meals. Just try to focus on those snacks high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Such snacks will allow you to feed your body with healthy elements, provide you with enough energy and will help you to satisfy hunger. Just avoid snacks with added sugars as they will increase the level of blood sugar and make you feel even more hungry.
18. Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Keeping a healthy snack on hand is always a good thing because you never know when hunger strikes. So try to keep some at home, at your workplace, and, for sure, in your bag.
When it comes to choosing a right snack, note that there is nothing better than fresh fruits and vegetables. You can keep a bowl of fruits in your kitchen to bring your healthy eating to the next level.
Also, when you feel hungry between your main meals, try to choose crunchy foods. The thing is that crunchy food such as apples, celery, and nuts usually brings more satisfaction as it keeps your mouth busy longer. So eating an apple will definitely make you feel more full than eating a banana.
19. Choose Simple Snacks
Sometimes advertising can make you think that some product is much healthier than it actually is. So if you do not want to waste your time reading labels in order to make sure that that bar is actually healthy, always choose simple snacks or those you know are healthy. There is also one more option: you can buy some snacks at the drugstore as they are usually quite healthy. Nevertheless, eating an apple or nuts is always better.
20. Treat Yourself From Time To Time
Treating yourself with from time to time is very important. The thing is that psychologically when you making something off limits, you start feeling deprived. So when you do so, you can suddenly find yourself in a binge-eating episode. It means that rare cakes and icecreams can actually help you to make sure that your healthy eating plan stays on track.
Remember that healthy eating is also about enjoying your food, so even if you find yourself eating pizza or some sexy brownie, just relax, go for it and enjoy every bite!