We have all heard of the benefits associated with healthy eating — it nourishes your skin, helps you shed those extra pounds, reduces the risk of diseases, and relieves stress.
Weight gain is one of the biggest reasons why people switch to healthy eating but it’s not the only one. People who are health conscious also prefer eating healthy to eliminate the risk of cardiovascular problems. In today’s world, we all seem to be surrounded by junk food and consequently, saying goodbye to burgers, pizzas, soft drinks, and fries is a challenge or nearly impossible for most of us. But this doesn’t change the fact that it is necessary if you wish to eat healthily.
While a complete switch to healthy eating is very difficult for most, it is possible to improve your health by taking some tiny steps towards eating a little better. After all, something is better than nothing. To help you out, here are some tips to come up with a healthy eating strategy:
1) Don’t Miss Breakfast
The worst eating habit is skipping meals. Just because you have gained some pounds doesn’t mean that you have to skip one of the three main meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is recommended that you reduce the quantity you consume, rather than skipping the whole meal.
And do you know what the best healthy eating strategy is? Having a healthy and hearty breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you cannot miss it. You can eat anything you like – be it cereal, pancakes or even a smoothie, if you are short on time. Don’t forget to include eggs in your breakfast meal plans; they are one of the best sources of high-quality protein.
2) Avoid Salt
Salt is the root of high blood pressure and potential heart disease, making it extremely unhealthy. Although it is impossible to eliminate salt altogether as the food becomes bland for those who are used to it, you can reduce the quantity of salt you use or replace your meals with less salty ones.
Processed foods tend to have high amounts of salt. Thus, the best way to avoid salty food is to cook at home and adjust the level of salt as per your taste. Salt intake of 5 grams per day is recommended for most adults.
3) Increase Your Protein Intake
Healthy eating is about nourishing your body with all the essential nutrients and fibers. Protein is the most essential nutrient your body needs. Having a meal rich in proteins makes you feel full, helping to avoid hunger pangs and reduce calorie consumption.
Increased protein intake also strengthens your muscles and makes you feel stronger. So, if you are the kind who feels hungry often, increase your protein intake to feel fuller automatically rather than constantly munching on unhealthy snacks. Peanuts, nuts, eggs, milk, beans are all amazing sources of proteins.
4) Switch to Olive Oil
If you are like most people, you probably use either vegetable oil or the standard cooking oil at your house. Surprisingly, no matter how many natural ingredients these oils claim to consist of, they are still extremely unhealthy. Olive oil is a much healthier choice, as it eliminates the chances of diseases and cardiovascular problems. Once you start cooking your food in olive oil, you’ll notice the difference it makes and how much lighter you feel after it.
5) Drink Loads of Water
Ever wonder why every health expert stresses the need to drink plenty of water? It’s because water has some exceptional benefits for your body. Many experts suggest drinking two glasses of water right after waking up to help burn calories and reduce weight.
Even throughout the day, try to quench your thirst with water, rather than sodas and other canned beverages. This can significantly reduce your sugar intake. And do you know what the best part is? Water has no calories so you can drink as much as you want.
6) Choose Your Calories Wisely
Some people feel hungry all the time and have biscuits, chips and other unhealthy snacks to kill it. This is nothing but a waste of calories. A single pack of chips has approximately 200-300 calories and surprisingly, so does a burger. So, if you do have cravings for unhealthy food, make sure to choose your calories wisely. Instead of munching on unhealthy snacks all the time, save the calories and splurge on a cheat meal of your choice once in a week.
7) Find an Alternate to Your Cravings
Craving for burgers and fries is inevitable but honestly, it’s the unhealthiest craving anyone can have. So, how about you find healthier alternatives to your cravings?
If you like having tea and coffee with sugar, switch to black coffee, green tea, or sugar-free tea. It may taste odd at first but cutting down on sugar is very important. Similarly, rather than gobbling chips, make popcorns at home. When you feel like having French fries, treat yourself to baked potatoes. Instead of fried options, opt for baked and grilled food since it is a lot healthier. All these alternatives are surely a great step towards healthy eating.
8) Give Healthy Recipes a Shot
Since you are willing to take a step forward in healthy eating, how about incorporating some healthy recipes in your meal plans? You don’t have to do it every single day in the beginning; even a few times a week can be a good change.
Believe it or not, there are so healthy recipes out there that taste absolutely divine. You can try out baked chicken parmesan, chicken fajita salad, and honey garlic salmon, to name a few.
If healthy recipes are not your thing, try to make adjustments to your existing recipes to make them healthier. For instance, opt for whole-wheat pasta instead of standard wheat pasta or brown rice instead of white rice.
9) Swap Snacks with Fruits
While this may seem hard initially, it needs to be done. Everyone loves one fruit or another so why not use them as snacks whenever you are hungry? Fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals, making them a vital part of a healthy diet. Citrus fruits, strawberries, and cranberries are particularly useful as they contain phytochemicals that ensure optimum health.
10) Eat Slowly
Many people might find this unimportant because eating is eating, whether slow or fast. However, there are many studies that have proved how the speed of eating affects the quantity you consume. It is said that you’re likely to eat more if you eat quicker.
Moreover, the majority of people who are overweight are fast-eaters. Eating slowly allows you to chew properly and consume lesser calories. Changing habits can be hard but something this simple is definitely worth a try!
Shifting to healthy eating is not a piece of cake nor can it happen in a day or two. You have to give it some time and take it slowly because changing habits is not easy. Rather than completely changing your diet and routine all at once, try to make small changes. The above-mentioned tips will ensure you are headed in the right direction towards a healthy eating strategy.