Changing your eating habits isn’t always a cakewalk, but thankfully, the benefits that come along with eating healthfully are just as sweet. When you eat healthier, you feel better, both physically and mentally. Today, we’re sharing six ways to improve your diet.
It’s easy to reach for frozen pizza, chips, and other extremely processed foods. However, these foods cause unnecessary physical and emotional stress. Instead of settling for unhealthy choices, why not make the switch to refreshing, whole food substitutes?
When you make food swaps, you cut down on added sugars and other pointless fillers. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion indicates that in 2015, most Americans exceeded the recommended intake for added sugar, saturated fat, and/or sodium intake.
Here are a few of our favorite swaps:
It’s easy to make healthy goodies in your kitchen that have a lot less sugar than store-bought items. When you eat out, you’re subject to hidden and not-so-hidden fats. To cut back on unhealthy fats, prepare your meals at home. You’ll know exactly what’s going into your dishes, and you’ll also increase your healthy and unsaturated fat intake.
Plus, restaurants often give you larger portions of food in a single sitting. When you eat at home, you control how much food you’re putting on your plate.
Best of all, you’ll be saving money. Think of it this way: for the price of one meal out with a date, you can prepare a few healthier meals for the two of you from the comfort of your kitchen.
If you want to drastically improve your diet, make it a point to eat foods of all colors of the rainbow; you get the most nutrients (both vitamins and minerals) from real food. The trick is to be creative. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring, as long as you incorporate a variety of foods into your diet.
The best part is that you don’t always have to eat fruits and vegetables raw; there are sneaky ways to incorporate these foods into your meals or snacks. You can:
Ready to start your journey now? Include just one extra fruit or vegetable into your next meal and go from there. In no time, you’ll be eating a real food diet.
Water is the most vital liquid for our diets. In fact, water makes up 50-75% of our bodies. Of course we need it more than sugary beverages!
As previously mentioned, soda isn’t good for you—and it’s not good for your wallet, either. The trouble is that some people don’t particularly enjoy water. If you find water to be “boring,” the good news is that you can still find foolproof ways to drink more of it.
One way to make water more exciting is to add berries and/or herbs to your water. While you could also buy fruit-infused water from the store, these contain artificial sweeteners. Just stick to fresh-cut produce, such as basil, cucumbers, grapefruit, strawberries, lemons, and mint.
There are also apps that hold you accountable for your daily water intake; you’ll receive push notifications when it’s time to hydrate.
If you don’t eat breakfast, now’s the time to start. A nutritious breakfast sets you up for success, as you’re more likely to continually make healthy choices during your day. It gives you energy, a metabolism boost, and motivation to stick with whole, nutrient-rich foods.
Plus, a filling breakfast prevents overeating and giving into cravings later. Your breakfast can be as simple as a bowl of oatmeal with fruit or as elaborate as eggs, vegetables, and your choice of lean protein. Stick to whatever healthy breakfast foods make you feel good!
Restriction can lead to a slippery slope—you may binge or intentionally eat less. Therefore, it’s best to accept that you’re craving a particular food and eat it in moderation.
When you “ban” a certain food from your diet, you want it more. Try to set an 80/20 rule for yourself: eat healthy 80% of the time, and save the remaining 20% for the foods you crave.
The bottom line is that you can still eat the foods you love—just reduce your portion size or eat these foods less often.
We hope these healthy eating habits help you crush your goals in the New Year!