9 Easy ways to eat healthier starting today
Everywhere you turn it seems like there's a new diet or nutrition plan claiming to be the end-all be-all for everyone. The truth is, you'll probably do best by taking baby steps. Start by slowly introducing healthy habits into your regular routine, then it won't be such a shock. Gradually, you'll find yourself cutting out more of the bad and eating more of the good.
Eat with color
Get some color into your diet. Not everything you eat has to be green, nor does it have to be red (meat lovers). Having a nice variety of color in your food is usually a good indicator that you're getting a variety of nutrients — especially when the color is natural to the food itself (not processed). Sorry, Skittles don't count, regardless of how delicious the rainbow tastes.
Start by including one fruit or vegetable into every meal. It will make things more colorful, nutritious, and you'll get closer to meeting your recommended daily value (9 servings).
Usually, necessity is what leads to the discovery of great substitutions, but thankfully, the internet is full of great suggestions. For example, try swapping half of the potatoes in your mashed potatoes recipe with cauliflower. You'll be cutting out a lot of the starch and not losing much on the taste side.
Be aware of what you're drinking
Flavored drinks often get you in two ways — with calories and sugar. Water is always going to be your best bet, but if you can't resist flavor, try adding some to water with lemon, lime, or a berry. A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that people who drink diet soda or sugar-free beverages are more likely to consume other junk food throughout the day.
"The key finding is that on the days when people drank diet beverages, they consumed a higher proportion of discretionary foods compared to on the days that they did not drink diet beverages," study author Ruopeng An, an assistant professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Live Science.
Eat more fiber
Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to substitute white bread and pasta for whole grain options. Fiber helps keep you full longer, so you won't be as tempted to snack on something unhealthy throughout the day. Apples and broccoli are also a great source of fiber.
Don't give up on dessert, just be smart about it
You don't need something sweet after every meal. So, make dessert a treat, in the literal sense. Treat yourself on certain occasions — like social events — and stick to your routine when you should.
Eating healthy takes planning
Today's world is fast-paced and Americans especially, often think of food as fuel. As a result, we want something quick that requires little to no effort. An easy way to combat this is to take a few minutes each day to plan some snacks and meals for the next day. Planning requires effort, but once you start, you'll noticing a big difference in the way you eat and feel.
Get your daily fix of superfoods
They're called superfoods for a reason. Avocados, blueberries, and salmon — just to name a few — can really do wonders for your health and body. Have an avocado or blueberries as a quick snack instead of opting for the candy and chips. Your body will be thanking you.
Get a friend to join your in your efforts
Embarking on a journey to eat healthier, like many other things, can be made easier when you have a friend doing it with you. Another person can help keep you accountable and motivate you during the difficult times. You can play that some role for them.
Take a multivitamin daily
Multivitamins are a great way to boost your health. They often increase energy levels too. Your body needs these nutrients but doesn't always get sufficient amounts through the food and beverages you consume. Taking a daily multivitamin, coupled with other health-promoting tips mentioned here, will definitely help you on your track to healthy living.