People are now more concerned about striking a good balance between exercise and healthy eating. This way, they can improve their body’s ability to fight disease and contribute to the achievement of an ideal body weight. Eating healthy can also help improve the mood while enhancing overall well-being. Integrating healthy eating habits into your busy lifestyle can be tricky, however. Here are 10 tips to make it possible.
Set Realistic Expectations
Embarking on a mission to eat healthy should always start with a goal. One has to remember that eating healthy can provide a number of benefits. Do not aim to achieve all of these benefits all at once. One should always have a clear picture what he or she wants to achieve. Having a healthy habit diet is only one of the ways you can achieve your goal.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then eating healthy is not enough. You also have to exercise. Having said that, be realistic in your goals. If you want to lose 20 pounds, it would be unrealistic to achieve this goal in one week. You can, but you will have to put a great deal of effort on your part. Many people fail in their health goals because they expected too much. If they are unable to meet such expectations, they get discouraged. This can make them to abandon their efforts.
Think of what you want to happen to your health. Learning how to stick to a diet is only one of the ways you can effect such changes in your life.
Have a Breakfast High in Protein
Most people start their day with a cup of coffee, several slices of bacon, and a couple of buttered toasts. Some may also have pancakes and potatoes for breakfast. These are excellent sources of carbohydrates that should give you enough energy to last a few hours in the office. The energy that these foods provide does not last that long. After a few hours you will feel hungry again.
The fat in bacon as well as in the butter you put on your toast can also be an excellent source of energy. After all, a single gram of fat can provide you with 9 calories as opposed to carbohydrate’s 4 calories. Unfortunately, starting your day with a high fat meal is not a good way to implement your plan on how to start a diet that is healthy.
A better approach is to have a high-protein breakfast. Protein molecules are large. This takes the digestive system to break it down a lot slower than carbohydrates. The good news is that you will have a steady supply of energy that will last the whole day. What this means is that you will feel full a lot longer. Eggs, yogurt, and milk are great foods to start your day.
Go for Lean Proteins
One of the healthy eating habits that you should strive to incorporate into your daily life is steering clear of fatty meats. While fat can add flavor to your meal, too much fat can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. Always go for lean protein like chicken breasts and skinless drumsticks or thighs. Beef, veal, lamb, and turkey are excellent choices, too.
When using these ingredients in your dish, make sure to trim off the fat. You don’t need to remove all the fat, however. Your body still needs a good amount of fat for it to stay healthy. For example, in using pork, you can remove the skin and some of the fat underneath it. This will add flavor to your dish. This is one of the ways on how to stick to a diet for beginners. Once you are comfortable with your diet plan, then you can remove all of the visible fat.
Tofu, eggs, beans, and nuts are also good sources of protein. Including seafood in your diet at least twice a week should help in your healthy eating goals.
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Small, Frequent Feedings Work Best
Some people think of dieting as abstaining from eating. As such, many of them will only eat once a day. For some, eating twice a day is enough. Most will skip breakfast, while others will not eat during lunch or dinner. This is one of those eating habits that you should break.
If you eat larger, less frequent meals in a day, your body will try to adjust its metabolism. It will become slower in an effort to accommodate the long period whereby the body is not getting any food. As such, it will try to store as much of the energy as fat and glycogen. The body will store these molecules in adipose tissues, the liver, and skeletal muscles. The brain will also crave for more sugar because glucose is its primary fuel.
If you are wondering how to stay on a diet, it is best to eat smaller portions of food on a more frequent basis. This will prevent your body from storing energy as fat. Having a steady supply of the right amounts of energy also promotes healthier metabolism.
Add a Serving of Vegetables and Fruits Every Day
Two of the healthiest foods you can include in your healthy diet habit are fruits and vegetables. For starters, these are rich in phytochemicals that can provide the body with many benefits. It can enhance the function of the immune system, contribute to healthier digestion, and aid the body in different metabolic processes.
Vegetables are excellent for their low-calorie content while being a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Many of these veggies are best consumed raw. They give you that crunch that other food items may not be able to provide. The same is true with fruits. They are rich in antioxidants and fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. You will have to be choosy, though, as some fruits can contain a lot of sugar.
It would be best to include a serving of fruits and vegetables with each meal. If you want to be successful in your healthy eating program, you might want to make sure that half of the food on your plate consists of fruits and vegetables. This is one trick on how to stay on a diet that is healthy.
Observe Healthier Substitutions
If you look at your diet today, you may notice that there are certain ingredients that are not that healthy. For example, mayonnaise is a very common ingredient found in many salad dressings. While you may argue that a vegetable salad is healthy, adding mayonnaise can negate the health benefits of the vegetables. Instead of using mayonnaise, you can try substituting it with Greek yogurt, hummus, olive oil, almond butter, mashed avocado, or pesto. The unique taste of these alternative ingredients will elevate the flavor of your salad.
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There are also cooking processes that are healthier than others. For example, air frying can provide your food with that distinct taste of fried food but without the guilt. It is a lot better than deep-fried foods. Of course, you can also grill, broil, or bake your food. These cooking processes are healthier than submerging your food in a pan full of oil.
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Another healthy substitute is sweet potato French fries. These can provide you with the same experience as a traditional potato-based French fries but with fewer calories. Plus, sweet potatoes contain more nutrients than potatoes.
Ditch Ordinary Snack Items for Something Healthier
Since we already touched on sweet potato French fries above, you might want to extend your plan on how to start a diet to include healthy snack options. Many of the snacks that people enjoy today are rich in carbohydrates, high in calories, and saturated in trans-fats. This is not the best way to lead a healthy life.
If snacking is essential in your daily routine, then you need to look for healthier options. A good example is the sweet potato French fries we mentioned. Instead of munching on some potato chips, you will have a much better chance of staying healthy if you make your own chips. Try banana chips or sweet potato chips. You also do not have to fry them. What you can do is to bake them so that they will also turn out crispy.
Other excellent snack items can include almonds and walnuts. You can also try dried raisins, strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries. These are great sources of antioxidants, which can help boost immune system function.
Experiment with Herbs and Spices to Enhance the Flavor of Your Dishes
When people think about a healthy habit diet, they almost always think about bland dishes. This is one of the reasons why people fail in establishing a healthy eating habit. They do not make their dishes as tasty and palatable as it is nutritious.
Healthy eating does not have to be dull, boring, and tasteless. You can always experiment with different herbs and spices to elevate the flavor profile of your dish. For example, not many people like artichokes. This is a vegetable that is rich in folate, magnesium, and vitamin C. To make this vegetable more palatable, you can pair it with parsley, paprika, coriander, or bay leaf. These herbs and spices can help amplify the mild, potato-like flavor of artichoke.
Asparagus, meanwhile, works well with dill, nutmeg, rosemary, basil, and mustard. You can also give broccoli a more pleasant taste by using oregano, chives, garlic, sage, thyme, or red pepper flakes. The same is true with Brussels sprouts. Adding thyme, parsley, oregano, or rosemary can make the vegetable more palatable even to kids.
Drink Plenty of Water Before, During, and After Your Meal
There is a neat trick on how to stick to a diet plan that fosters healthy eating: drink more fluids. Water is the best fluid that you can give to your body. After all, water makes up about 57 to 60 percent of the adult human body. The current recommendation is to drink at least 60 fluid ounces of water every day. This is the minimum amount that you should strive for.
Drinking water before, during, and after meals can also help contribute to your health goals. If you drink a glass of water before a meal, it will occupy some of the space in your stomach. When you eat your meal, food goes down to the stomach and mixes with the water inside. Since the food shares the stomach space with water, you can only eat a certain amount of food to make you feel full. This way, you will eat less.
Drinking water while eating replenishes some of the water in the stomach that may already be in the small intestines. Drinking water right after a meal can help wash down other food particles that may remain in the alimentary tract.
Clear Your Pantry of Junk Foods
One of the secrets to eating nutritious foods is to get rid of “unhealthy” food items in your pantry. Many American households love to stock up with junk food. Many of these foods contain artificial preservatives, food flavorings, and food flavorings. These are chemicals that your body doesn’t need.
In addition to the harmful chemicals, many of these food items contain trans-fats and other unhealthy fats. They also contain salt in excessive levels. Salt serves as a natural preservative, while also adding to the flavor of these foods. Salt intake should never be more than 2,300 milligrams per day. That is equivalent to about a teaspoon. Excessive salt intake can lead to health problems.
As such, it is important to look at your pantry and removing these junk foods at once. This will help you make healthy eating a habit.
Tweaking habits can be difficult but it can be done. You only need to start at your own pace and focus on changing one habit at a time. Before you know it, you are already leading a life of healthy eating.