Healthy Changes to Your Diet

healthy changes-for-your-dietPlan healthy changes to your diet as a number of small, manageable steps. Start with simple health changes like adding a salad to your lunch or dinner each day. Avoid big drastic changes. Your small, positive healthy changes will soon become habits, you can then begin to add more healthy changes.

Here are several more healthy changes to help you eat healthier:

Cook your own meals. Preparing your meals at home can help you control what you’re eating and better manage exactly what goes into your meals. You’ll eat fewer calories while avoiding the chemical additives, added sugar, and unhealthy trans fats of prepackaged and takeout foods.

Make healthy changes:

You will need to reduce your intake of unhealthy foods in your diet, foods like donuts, fries and processed foods. Replace them with healthier choices, like switching to grilled salmon instead of fried chicken. Keep in mind that trading your daily breakfast bacon for a donut is not an example of a healthy choice and won’t lower your risk for heart disease or improve your health.

Simplify your diet. Forget counting calories or daily weigh-ins, think of your diet as an expanding variety of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients and single ingredient foods: a banana, an apple, a baked potato.

Learn to read the labels. You need to know what’s in your food and you will soon discover that food manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats in your packaged food. Yes, even foods claiming to be healthy, gluten-free or low-fat are often packed with added sugar.

Drink more water. Water helps your body eliminate waste products and toxins, and many of us go through life dehydrated. Too little water leads to fatigue, a lack of energy, and headaches. Drinking more water and staying hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices as you will not be “feeding” your thirst with empty calories from sodas and colas.

Practice moderation. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not overly stuffed. Moderation means eating slightly less than you do now, not necessarily eliminating the foods you love. You can still enjoy the occasional slice of pizza, just not the entire pizza.

Practice portion control. Just think smaller portions. If you are dining out, choose an appetizer over an entrée, and split a dish with a friend. Stop supersizing, your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be about the size of a deck of cards and a serving of “sides” like mashed potato, rice, or pasta should be about the size of a light bulb. Enjoy your meals on smaller plates and bowls, which will “trick” your brain into thinking you are still eating a larger portion.

Eat more slowly. It takes several minutes for your brain to signal your body that it has had enough food, so eat more slowly and stop eating before you feel full. If possible, avoid eating alone or in front of the television or computer which often leads to overeating.

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