Along with a daily exercise routine, these 5 easy tricks will help you get rid of the confusion and get started on the path to healthy eating.
1. No processed foods.
The problem with processed foods is that they’re full of junk that you don’t want going into your body because of all the havoc they wreak on your organs. They mess with your digestive process, increase stress and anxiety levels and pile on the pounds.
Ingredients like preservatives, salt, sugar, artificial dyes and fat are all harmful and cause a plethora of chronic diseases and inflammation. The best thing to do is stick with what you can make yourself and with what nature provides you with – fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc.
The problem may be that you don’t know where or how to cut back on processed foods. A good idea would be to start with the food labels before buying anything. Try to stay away from artificial additives and sweeteners, vegetable oils or refined sugars. It’s a process so make small changes each day and you’ll eventually look a plate of french fries in the face and not care for it at all.
Another good idea is to create a food calendar. Find seven well-balanced meals and rotate for each night of the week. It’s definitely easier to stick to a healthy diet if it’s already planned out.
You can also cook several dishes during the weekend so that when you’re tired or running late during the week, you have something nutritious ready-to-go, instead of just reaching for a bag of chips or cookies.
2. Eat the rainbow.
Colorful foods means there’s a concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. So whether it’s fruits or vegetables, eat a diverse range of colors so you’re getting the most out of their nutrients
For example, leafy green veggies, such as spinach, kale, collard greens and romaine lettuce, are full of essential nutrients, like iron, magnesium, zinc, that increase energy levels and boost the immune system. They also help you alkalize and detoxify your body and boost your mineral levels.
3. Portion control.
The secret to controlling your portions is by eating on smaller plates. When you serve food on large plates, your brain sees the small amount of food compared to the large size of the plate and makes you want more food, regardless of how full you may be. On the other hand, serving your food on small plates will make you feel satisfied and satiate your hunger.
4. Roast instead of frying.
You can roast pretty much anything you want, from potato (regular and sweet) wedges, sliced vegetables, chicken fingers – anything. The great thing about roasting foods at high temperatures is that you still get great flavor, but without any of the mess or extra, unwanted calories.
5. Eat several meals during the day and chew slowly.
Eating healthy isn’t only about what you eat or how much, but also when you eat which can seriously affect your energy levels and metabolism. It takes your brain nearly 20 minutes to let you know that you’re full. So chew slowly and be mindful of what you’re eating. Eating an average of 5 well-balanced (an average of every 3 to 4 hours) meals during the day will help keep maintain your weight, increase your focus and kick your cravings.
Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., founder of the New York-based BZ Nutrition, tells SELF, “Eating regularly throughout the day keeps your metabolism running at full speed, prevents dips in your energy, keeps you alert and focused, and [can help keep] your weight steady by preventing overeating at later meals.”
Eating every 4 hours also provides you with the energy your body needs to carry on throughout the day without your blood sugar levels dropping, leaving you feeling sleepy and sluggish. “When you go along in between meals without eating, it is difficult to go into your next meal in control and avoid overeating,” says Julia Levine Axelbaum, R.D., L.D., Bariatric Dietitian at NewStart Clinic.
Be smart about your choices and opt for snacks high in protein, complex carbs and fiber. Those are the ones that will give you the energy you need and keep you feeling full and clear-headed. You can keep healthy snacks at your desk at work, in your bag and right in front of you on your kitchen counter.
Enjoying a healthy lifestyle means balancing out what you eat. So if you make healthy choices all week long and crave some brownies or a chunk of pie on the weekend, cut yourself a break and enjoy it.