My research into how to get healthy by eating healthy has lead me to believe that everyone has their own take on this subject, so instead of reinventing the wheel, I have decided to talk about the basic principles that most health authorities agree upon. By no means am I saying that you and I have to adhere to all of these principles every day for the rest of our lives, but understanding them and making an effort to incorporate them into our daily life should be the goal.
Keep it simple. Instead of following some fad diet with lots of rules, keep your healthy eating routine simple. Eat real food that’s mostly plants with lots of color and variety.
Adopt a healthy attitude towards food. All the healthy eating advise will be for not if you do not adopt a healthy attitude towards food. Take a hard look at your eating habits. Do you eat more when you feel stressed, sad, happy, what is it? Try to evaluate whether you have an unhealthy emotional attachment to food. See food as sustenance. And while trying to fix your food attitude, talk to friends and family to get sustainable support.
Don’t deprive yourself. Everything in moderation, as they say.
Log everything you eat. While the idea of calorie counting can seem like a chore, logging what you eat will give you a better understanding of what you are actually munching on. Once you get in the habit of logging, take it to the next level by determining how many calories your body needs each day and sticking with it. I use the Lose It app.
Prep for meals in advance. Being proactive about meal planning can save a lot of time and stress in the long run. While the upfront work may sound scary, you’ll be thankful when you find yourself running late and only have a few minutes to eat. Pick a day or a night to prepare several meals that you can simply warm up throughout the week. Or take the time to separate your snacks into portion-controlled bags that you can grab on your way out the door.
Plan for leftovers. If you are preparing a large meal, double the batch. Prepare one to serve and the other to put in the freezer or fridge. This way you have double the food but half the mess! You can also prepare extra chicken or steak to cut up and add to a salad to make for a filling lunch the next day.
Eat a healthy breakfast. Start your day off right by making the first meal you eat a healthy one. Don’t bog yourself down with something heavy. This will just make you sluggish and unproductive.
Make lunch the night before. Stop telling yourself you’ll have time to pack a lunch on your way out the door in the morning. While you’re cleaning up from dinner, put together your lunch for the next day. Whether it be leftovers from dinner or a mason jar salad, planning ahead makes it easy to walk out the door with a healthy lunch.
Eat your veggies. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables to meet your daily fiber needs while keeping calories in check.
Choose whole grains. Make a simple swap in your eating routine by choosing 100% whole grains instead of highly processed white or enriched grains. Whole grains, like steel cut oats, brown rice, barley and 100% whole grain bread or pasta, provide greater nutrition from energy rich B-vitamins to filling fiber.
Eat lean protein. Protein is an important nutrient for your body. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans, soy foods, nuts and seeds.
Go for frozen foods. Frozen food can be a healthy alternative to fresh foods, and they will last longer too. I use frozen fruit for my smoothies, veggies for my side dishes and sometimes I use by frozen protein to make sure it does not spoil before I use it.
Don’t bring junk into the house. If you’re easily swayed to nosh on chips, cookies and ice cream, keep the processed snacks out of the house. This simple trick makes healthy eating easy. Out of sight, out of mind.
Stock your pantry. Pantry staples make it easy to whip up a dinner in no time flat.
Stockpile healthy snacks. Keep healthy snacks on you at all times—pile them in your office drawer, fridge, gym bag and purse. Take the time to separate your snacks into portion-controlled bags that you can grab on your way out the door.
Put the healthiest food right up front. If you must keep some unhealthy items in your home, at least make sure that they are difficult to access, to prevent consumption. Keep all of your healthy items right up front. Make the healthiest foods the first thing you see when you open your cupboards and refrigerator, and you will be more likely to eat those things instead of the bad stuff.
Cook at home as much as possible. When you eat outside the home, you never truly know what is in the food that you’re eating.
Stay away from fast food. As we all know fast food is bad for our health, yet it continues to remain a weekly staple for too many people, including me. It seems like everything is fried and has too much fat, if you have to eat out, take a few more minutes and order that salad on the Panera app and pick it up in under 10 minutes.