Some people think that eating healthy is about strict nutrition programs, depriving yourself of the meals you like and consuming tasteless meals. However, it is actually about feeling good with your body, alleviating your mood, being more energetic as well as being as healthy as possible. All these can be achieved by following our nutrition tips below and applying them in a way that fits into your lifestyle. What is more, your diet can remain tasty even though it will be healthier.
Start with making a healthy diet program with manageable small steps at a time rather one big change. For example, instead of counting calories, focus more on what your diet includes such as variety. Try to find recipes that are easy to make and include some fresh ingredients. Change your nutrition habits slowly and steadily. Just remember that every small change you achieve is a step towards improving your diet and becoming healthier and this is what really matters.
Think also of adding exercise and plenty of water to your diet program to achieve even better results. Find something that you enjoy doing and add it to your weekly plan. The benefits of habitual exercise are well known and in addtion exercise can play the role of preventing many diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and many more.
Moderation is the key
Most of people never change their eating habits because they think that starting eating healthy is as an “all or nothing situation”. However, the key for a balanced and healthy diet is in moderation.
But, how much and what we mean by moderate?
This depends upon your overall eating patterns. Taking into account your current eating habits, you will have to make a new diet plan that you will keep for the rest of your life and not only the first days or till you reach your ideal body weight.
In general, moderation means eating less than what we currently do. Specifically it mainly means eliminating in some kind the unhealthy foods such as unrefined sugar and trans fats and increasing the healthy ones such as fresh vegetables. By saying “in some kind” I do not mean to take of your diet all your lovely foods such as bacon and sweets. It actually means to eliminate meals like those at once or twice per week.
Another idea regarding moderation is to think smaller portions for your food. If you are not feeling full at the end of your meal, try adding more vegetables to it. In order to measure your portions have in mind that the average serving for meat, chicken or fish should be the size of your hand’s palm and a portion of bread is approximately like a CD case. Regarding the potato, rice and pasta, the regular size is almost a cup of 250ml.
It is not only what you eat but how you eat
Healthy eating is not only about what food you consume, but also about how you think about it. You have to think that food is not a pleasant gulp during work hours, but real nourishment…
Try to eat with other people (if this is possible). Eating in front of the television alone, the most of times is driving to mindless overeating without needing it really. Eating with company though, allows you to control your eating and has a number of social benefits.
Do not eat fast. Take your time to enjoy your food. Nowadays, due to busy programs we tend to eat quickly forgetting about taste and flavors. You should reconnect with the tastings to enjoy your food more. Eating slower might help you to control your portions as well.
Listen to what your body is saying when you are about to eat something. Are you really hungry or is it a simple craving?
During a meal, when you feel 80% full, stop eating. It actually takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to tell your body that you had enough food.
Get more fruits and vegetables with your meals
In a balanced healthy diet fruits and vegetables should be abound. Both of them are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, nutrients that your body needs to function perfectly and keep you healthy and full for many hours. What is more, sweet vegetables can be added to your foods, in order to increase the sweetness to your meals and thus eliminate your sweet cravings.
Eat healthier carbohydrates
This tip is very important in my opinion and can lead to huge differences in your eating habits, general health and body weight goals. By consuming healthy and high in fiber carbohydrate sources, you will be loaded with long lasting energy and you will avoid the insulin spike. What is more, healthy carbs contain phytochemicals as well as antioxidants which can protect your heart, prevent diabetes and some types of cancer.
But which are exactly healthy carbs? Well, good carbs include fruits, grains, vegetables and beans. This kind of carbs are digested slowly into your body, making you feel full for many hours and most importantly keeping your insulin and blood sugar in low levels. Thus, try to avoid unhealthy carbs such as refined sugar, white rice and white flour. This kind of carbs will cause insulin spike and will fill you with energy which lasts a few minutes.
Avoid unhealthy fats, but choose the healthy ones
Healthy fats are necessary in order to feed your heart, brain, cells but also your skin, nails and hair. Research has shown that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are of great importance for improving your mood, protecting from cardiovascular disease as well as dementia.
The fats that you need to add to your healthy diet are the monounsaturated and the polyunsaturated fats. These fats come from oils (like olive and canola oil) nuts, seeds, fatty fishes, flaxseed oils and walnuts. What you should avoid is saturated and trans fats. It is really important to avoid mainly trans fats such as margarines, cookies, baked cakes and fried foods.
Add protein to your meals
Protein from our food is broken down to amino acids that the body needs to basically build its blocks for energy and growth. Protein is very important for maintaining organs, cells and tissues. It is true that a lack of protein in our diet can slow down growth, low immunity, decrease muscle mass and weaken our organs like our heart as well as the respiratory system.
Some types of foods that are high in protein and can be included to your healthy meals are: Beans, seeds, nuts (prefer the unsalted), lean meats, eggs and fresh fish. Although protein is really important for life, try to focus on equal servings of protein with the rest nutrients, such as whole grains and vegetables.
Last but not least, salt should be eliminated from your daily diet. Consuming too much salt with your food can increase high blood pressure which can cause many other health problems. According to your daily allowance, you should limit your salt to 1,500mg -2,300mg per day. This equals one teaspoon.
In order to limit your salt intake try to avoid salty snacks such as potato chips; opt for fresh fruit and be careful when you are eating out since restaurant food is sometimes loaded with salt.