You may be surprised to learn that healthy eating has more of an impact on weight loss than exercise does. Committing to a healthy lifestyle is difficult, and making good choices dozens of times a day can seem impossible at times. Don’t lose hope. Start adding some of these healthy eating habits into your daily routine, and you’ll be on the path to wellness in no time!
Eat at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal
Ideally, half of your plate should be made up of fruits and vegetables. Not only do they provide vitamins that keep you healthy, they also provide a lot of bulk to keep you full. What do we mean by “bulk?” Well, let’s take spinach as an example. Did you know that 100 calories of olive oil is less than a tablespoon, but 100 calories of spinach is 10 cups? Eating a salad that large isn’t recommended, you definitely get more bang for your buck by filling up with veggies.
Eat the rainbow
Making your plate especially colorful makes your dinner more Instagram-worthy; it also provides your body with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Leafy green vegetables, for example, are rich in iron and folate, while orange vegetables are typically plentiful in vitamin A and C. If your favorite vegetables are potatoes and corn, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone. Next time you go to the grocery store, challenge yourself to try a new fruit or vegetable. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be exotic. What about picking up some avocados to substitute for mayonnaise on your sandwich? Avocados are rich in heart healthy fats and have more potassium than bananas.
Don’t cut out foods completely
Unless you have an intolerance or are severely allergic, there’s no need to cut out a certain food or food group from your diet. As the saying goes, “you always want what you can’t have.” If you put ice cream and cookies on your banned list, you’re more likely to sabotage your dieting efforts than if you were to allow them as an occasional treat. Also, allowing yourself a small portion of your favorite snack regularly (such as enjoying one square of chocolate every night) will prevent you from devouring half a gallon of ice cream in one sitting.
Cravings are confusing
Cravings aren’t always your body screaming to be fed. People often mistake thirst and boredom for hunger. If you’re craving a particular food, your body might be lacking a certain mineral. For example, a craving for chocolate might mean that you’re deficient in magnesium, which can be found in beans and whole grains. Our best advice for staving off cravings? Try waiting it out. Wait 10 minutes and you’ll probably forget about the leftover cheesecake in the fridge.
Eat less processed food
Eating food that’s closer to its whole, natural state will be easier for your body to digest and give you a lot more energy. The easiest way to cut out the majority of processed food is to only shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This means the dairy, meat, and produce section. These sections are on the perimeter because they’re perishable and trucks have easier access to restock with fresh products. Products in the middle of the store can be sitting on the shelves for months before you pick them up. Next time you go grocery shopping, don’t go hungry. You’ll automatically make healthier choices and limit your frivolous purchases. Your waistline and wallet will thank you.
Drink water instead of sugary drinks
It’s very important to keep your body hydrated. Save yourself hundreds of calories a day by switching from sugary sodas and fruit juices to water. If you think water is boring, try slicing up some fruits to give your drink some extra oomph.
Switch to whole grains
Whole grains contain more fiber, which will keep you fuller, longer. If you don’t like the flavor or texture of whole grain products, many companies are making versions that taste similar to traditional products, but still contain the nutrients of whole grains.
Read the label
Food labels hold a plethora of useful information including the expiration date, ingredients, and portion size. You’d be shocked to know that only about half of Americans read them. When reading the nutrition facts, pay close attention to the serving size. Sometimes a package may be relatively small but contain multiple servings.