If your goal is to become healthier overall, don’t let a strict diet fool you into thinking that you will instantly see results. You can enjoy all the benefits of healthy eating without committing to a strict diet. However, you have to make these five simple changes to your diet.
Boost Your Fruit and Veggie Intake
Fruits and vegetables are as good for you as your mom told you when you were a kid! They may be even healthier than you think! Most people don’t meet their daily recommended amount of fresh produce. Ideally, you should be loading fruits and vegetables onto your plate with every meal of the day.
You should aim for at least half of your plate covered with these good foods. Fresh produce is full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber, and you should aim to consume two cups of fruit and around two and a half cups of vegetables each day.
Choose Healthier Fats
All fats are not equal. Not all fats are bad for you. Your body requires fat to properly use vitamins and nutrients from food and for basic bodily functions. Therefore, your goal shouldn’t be to eliminate fat from your diet, but rather, to change the types of fats you eat to healthier ones. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats.
These fats raise the bad kind of cholesterol in your blood and increase the likelihood of you developing heart disease. Also, try to limit animal-sourced fats like lard, butter, bacon, and untrimmed meats. Use coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil in your cooking to consume healthier fats. Increase your omega-3 fat consumption for better brain health as well.
Replace Drinks With Water
If you have a habit of drinking sodas, fruit juices, coffees, teas, and sugary beverages throughout the day, the simple switch of drinking water can greatly reduce your calorie intake. Simple sugars in beverages aren’t healthy for your blood sugar levels, so replacing most beverages with water is a very beneficial habit.
However, you could also flavor your water with cut fruit, herbs, and even chia seeds. If you want to have a warm beverage, try having hot water with citrus slices and some herbs. You could also have a herbal tea, instead of coffees and teas with cream and sugar.
The benefits of an increased fiber intake go far beyond simply losing inches off of your mid-section. Fiber is very important for colon health and overall digestive health. By having more fiber in the day, you can enjoy better energy levels, a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes as well as lowered risk of developing some cancers. Fiber is also very satiating and can help you refrain from mindless snacking on unhealthy foods between meals. You can increase fiber intake by eating wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and more nuts and seeds.
Practice Portion Control
Eating in smaller plates is one way of reducing your portion size if you have gotten into the unhealthy habit of eating too large meals. Using smaller plates is an optical illusion, and it works. Portion control is important for health to avoid overeating, which can lead to obesity, resulting in a higher risk for a host of other health conditions. Make sure to always eat from a plate, not directly from a bag. And never eat in front of a computer or while watching television.
Also, try to buy items in single-serving portions to avoid making the mistake of eating more than you should. Eating slowly and in smaller portions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t savor every bite and enjoy the food you eat! Make sure you concentrate on your meal when you are eating and minimize distractions like television or in-depth conversations.
As humans, we are hard-wired with a basic goal of survival. Drastic dietary changes trigger fear in us, thanks to our reptilian brain. Don’t dive into the ketogenic diet, a low-carb diet, a juice diet, or any other highly restrictive diet in pursuit of good health. Slow and steady is key. Begin with these five small changes and continue making small changes as you go to allow yourself enough time to get used to every step you take towards better health.