Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult with these easy tips to improve health and nutrition.
Living a healthy and safe life can begin with the food you eat. Ever heard the saying you are what you eat? The food we put in our bodies has a huge impact on our mood, energy levels, and long-term health. Even though healthy eating can often seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be hard work. When equipped with the basics, creating healthier eating habits can become a simple and easy part of your daily routine.
If you’re a beginner to the world of healthy eating, welcome! Read on to learn about the basics of healthy eating, the benefits of nutrient-rich diet, and top tips to make healthy eating part of a sustainable lifestyle change that helps you feel your best.
What is Healthy Eating?
Understanding the basics of healthy eating is the first step towards a beginner diet that fits your needs and is tailored to your goals. A healthy diet will always look a little different from person to person, but most healthy eating plans emphasize a variety of foods that are rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Think about the meals you tend to eat. Is there a variety of colors: dark leafy greens, bright red tomatoes, orange carrots? How much protein – like seafood, meat, eggs, soy products – do you tend to have? Do you enjoy eating your meals and feel good after? Do you feel satiated throughout the day? All of these questions can help you figure out where you are on your journey to healthy eating.
Why Eat Healthy?
Eating healthy is an important part of living a happy, fulfilling life. While many people focus on eating healthy to help with weight management, there are many benefits to eating healthy beyond that. Three randomized clinical trials, the “gold standard” in nutritional research, showed that healthy eating can improve your overall health by reducing cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Healthy eating can also protect the body against diseases like diabetes or even cancer. That’s right: just modifying the food you eat can make a huge difference in your long-term health and well-being.
7 Ways to Eat Healthier
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a challenge. Simple swaps and a little intentionality can go a long way towards increased health benefits and delicious, satisfying meals. Here are the some great principles to create a healthy, balanced diet.
- Focus on real, unprocessed food. Think about real food like ingredients – fruits, beans, whole grains, seeds, eggs – rather than the pre-packaged, ready-to-go meals or snacks that you’ll find in the inner aisles of the grocery store. While processed foods are convenient (and occasionally, the best option for you and your family) they often lack the nutritional value that real food provides.
- Choose complex carbs. Yes, carbohydrates are good for you! Complex carbs are found in foods like oatmeal, beans, and vegetables like broccoli. These provide long-lasting energy to keep you going throughout the day and help lower the risk for heart disease.
- Eat the rainbow. In addition to looking good for Instagram, a plate filled with a variety of colors has huge health benefits. Plants contain different phytonutrients, which give them their color as well as different vitamins and minerals. Many colorful fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Center lean protein. A high-protein diet can help keep you full for longer and give you more energy. Meats like chicken breast, lean beef, and turkey breast are all good lean protein options for meat-eaters, while shrimp and tuna are high-protein seafood options. Eggs, Greek yogurt, lentils, and cottage cheese can also help sneak in more protein to your diet.
- Eat healthy fats. These healthy fats, sometimes called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can keep you full while providing multiple health benefits. Olive oil, avocado, salmon, and nuts like almonds are chock-full of these healthy fats.
- Get enough fiber. Dietary fiber aids digestion and helps maintain bowel health. Aim for a mix of soluble fiber – like beans, apples, barley, and psyllium – and insoluble fiber, like cauliflower, wheat bran, and potatoes.
- Don’t drink your calories. Drinks like soda, juice, and alcohol are surprisingly calorically-dense and full of sugars that, in high quantities, can be associated with health issues. With all the effort you put into eating healthy foods, make sure to pay attention to the drinks you consume, too. Try to drink at least four to six cups of water every day to keep your body hydrated.
Making Healthy Eating Sustainable
Have you ever tried out a new diet, swore that on Monday all of your eating habits would change, and then found yourself giving up a few weeks in? You’re not alone. A 2013 study showed that most people quit diets within the first month – if not the first week.
To reap the benefits of a healthy eating plan, it needs to be sustainable and fit into your lifestyle – not just a temporary trend. A restrictive mentality or rules about food that you “can’t” eat can make it harder to see this as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. If you or your family have comfort foods or favorite dishes that aren’t as nutritional, that’s okay! Part of healthy eating is incorporating balance. Enjoy these foods in moderation alongside other colorful, flavorful real foods.
Building Healthy Habits
Overall health and wellness are created through more than just diet. Small lifestyle changes, integrated into your normal routine, complement the health benefits you’ll see from your meals.
- Plan (and prep) your meals. Spending time at the beginning of the week to intentionally plan out meals that incorporate real foods and balanced nutrients is an easy way to set yourself up for success. Batch cooking lean proteins, complex carbs, and hearty vegetables will give you peace of mind that every meal will be healthy and fulfilling and make meal-time stress-free.
- Drink lots of water. Not only can increased water consumption help you feel full, it helps you feel better – and function better. Particularly for women, drinking water affects energy levels, brain function, and can help reduce the risk of headaches.
- Get your beauty sleep. Studies have shown that sleep is just as important as nutrition for disease risk and weight control. Plus, if you’re tired, you’re more likely to be hungry and accidentally over-eat. The SoClean 2 makes it seamless to maintain your sleep equipment and ensure you’re ready for a restful, healthy night of sleep.
Healthy eating is an important part of a balanced lifestyle. Making small changes to your meals can make healthy eating part of a sustainable routine that ensures your body gets all the nutrients it needs to function well and protect against disease. With these quick tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way towards better health – for you and your family.