Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible.Which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a way that works for you.
Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat smart–it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat. Your food choices can reduce the risk of illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Habits of healthy eating can boost your energy, sharpen your memory, and stabilize your mood.
Healthy eating tip #1: Set yourself up for success. To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps, rather than a big drastic change. If you approach change gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.
- Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned about counting calories, or measuring portions, think of your diet in terms of color, variety and freshness. Focus on finding foods that you love and easy recipes that incorporate fresh ingredients.
- Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or just giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad full of different color vegetables to your diet once a day, or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking.
- Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect, and completely eliminate the foods you enjoy. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy and reduce the risk of disease. Every healthy food choice counts!
- Think of water and exercise as food groups in your diet. Water helps to flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many of us go through our day dehydrated–causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It is common to mistake thirst for hunger, so stay well hydrated. Find an activity that you like to do and add it to your day. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant, and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices.
Next time, more healthy eating tips. There are several more tips for planning a healthy diet and sticking to it. What changes are thinking of implementing?
A better diet, a little more exercise–healthy living is easy if you take it one tip at a time:
- Enjoy the benefits of yogurt. It’s creamy smooth and packed with flavor. Research suggests that one humble carton of yogurt may: help prevent osteoporosis; reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and aid in gastrointestinal conditions.
- Help your holiday heartburn. Try these hints and you can stop the burn before it starts: nibble–enjoy your favorite foods in moderation–packing your stomach with food makes heartburn more likely. Know your triggers–certain foods feed heartburn’s flame. Typical triggers include foods full of sugar and fat. Get up—stretching out for a nap post-meal is a great way to guarantee you’ll get reflux, instead keep your head higher than your stomach.
- Kiss holiday cold sores goodbye. If you find you are more prone to cold sores, you may be your own worst enemy. That’s because lack of sleep, too much alcohol or sugar, stress, and close physical contact (think Aunt Mary’s smooches) can all contribute to outbreaks. To keep your kisser cold-sore free, try these tips: don’t overdo on the holiday goodies. Get plenty of rest. Wash your hands. Don’t share food or drink containers. Discard used tissue.
- Start a winter tradition—family workouts. Walking is suitable for young and old.
- Eat locally. Some nutritionists think eating locally may be even more important than eating organically. That’s because a vital factor in a food’s nutrient profile is how long it took to get from the farm to the table.
- Invest in your health—literally. Having an HSA (health savings account) or flex spending account for medical expenditures. How about making time for yourself to get to those doctor appointments? After all you are worth it!
Whatever healthy steps you choose to take–eating better, exercising more, saving for medical co-pays–they are an investment in you. Bank a little more sleep this new year. Set aside stressful differences. Stock a healthier pantry. It’s your body!