How to Eat a Healthier Diet
For most Americans, healthy eating is a daily challenge. With fast food restaurants on every corner and aisles of endless unhealthy options at the grocery store, healthy eating habits often go by the wayside in favor of convenience, comfort and flavor. The good news is, with a few simple changes to your diet, eating healthy doesn’t have to feel like such an impossible goal. In fact, a healthy diet doesn’t need to mean strict limitations or depriving yourself of the things you love. If done correctly, you can incorporate healthier options into your diet daily, while still enjoying some of your favorite foods on a regular basis.
The most important step in changing your diet for the better is to set realistic goals, so you set yourself up for success rather than failure. For starters, do away with calorie counting and limited portion sizes, and instead focus on adding color, variety and freshness to your diet. Aim to incorporate vegetables into every meal, for example, and try to use fresh ingredients as often as possible. Start slowly and work your way up gradually to a healthy diet, rather than simply waking up one day and replacing all your favorite foods with healthier options. Start with one meal per day and work up from there.
Another important step in eating healthier is to cut yourself a little slack and remember that moderation is key. Thinking of eating healthier as an “all or nothing” affair will almost always end in failure. Allowing yourself certain foods, in moderation, is key to success when it comes to improving your diet. Thinking of your favorite foods as “off limits” will make focusing on healthy eating more difficult and shift your focus to what you can’t have. Instead, enjoy your favorite foods in smaller portions, while increasing the amount of healthy foods you eat.
Other tips for improving your diet include filling up on colorful fruits and vegetables, which tend to be lower in calories and richer in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Focus on variety, as well, and try to get a full rainbow of color into your diet daily. Eating more veggies doesn’t have to mean salads at every meal! Broccoli, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and beets can all be incorporated into delicious, fulfilling meals. Have a sweet tooth? Try munching on a some mango or a banana instead of reaching for sugar-laden, heavily-processed sweets.
At the end of the day, if you’ve filled your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, that little slice of cake isn’t going to undo all your hard work and effort. Healthy eating involves more than just cutting out certain foods, but also increasing the foods that help fuel your body and keep you healthy. Make small changes every day, and soon you’ll find your plate is filled with healthier options more often than not!