Eating healthy isn’t always easy (or, at times, even possible depending on your circumstances). But there are a few simple steps you can take to help you get started. Committing to a goal of incorporating more “health” foods into your diet can be as simple as trading in a mid-afternoon candy bar for an apple.
Start small. Making incremental changes to your daily habits is difficult at first, and it can take more than a month to make a new habit stick.
It’s a common misperception that healthy foods are bland. However, by incorporating more colorful vegetables, fruits, and assorted spices into your diet, you may discover new tastes—and your palate will adapt to healthier foods over time.
For many Americans, the problem isn’t so much what we’re eating, but how much. This is especially the case when eating out. A simple trick here is to ask your server for a to-go container when you receive your order. That way, you can immediately set aside a portion of your dish to avoid overeating. Plus, you’ll have tomorrow’s lunch already prepared—it’s a win-win.
There are a few relatively simple ways to reduce the amount of fat, salt, and sugar in your daily diet. The best tip, however, is to prepare more of your meals at home. Restaurants typically add more fat, salt, and sugar to increase flavor. When you are eating out, consider opting for the grilled or baked option instead of something fried. Skip the heavy desserts, and instead ask for a bowl of fruit at the end of your meal.
Being on-the-go doesn’t have to mean compromising your healthy-eating goals. Prepare your meals at home in advance of traveling (and avoid the overpriced airport or train station fare) or research some restaurant or cafe options that serve healthier dishes in the area. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you’re stuck with fast food.
The same advice for preparing your own food applies here, too. However, if you find yourself scrambling in the morning to get out the door, gravitate toward the colorful fruits and vegetables at your local cafe. You can also keep healthy snacks at your desk to resist that 3 pm sugar craving—nuts, trail mix, and fruit are all better options.
A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and “good” fats has many benefits—both mental and physical. One of the leading causes of death in the U.S. is heart disease followed closely by cancer, and studies have shown that diet contributes to these sometimes fatal ailments. Changing your diet for the better can be a tremendous help in weight loss, reducing the risk of being diagnosed with cancer and heart disease, and it can even help with managing diabetes.
If that doesn’t convince you, a healthy diet also profoundly elevates your mood and improves cognitive function—making you a more effective human being. Having trouble sleeping? By eating better, you can sleep better since your body won’t be busily trying to digest that pizza and beer in the middle of the night. Also, remember to drink plenty of water—at least two liters per day. Sometimes, feeling hungry can actually indicate that you’re just dehydrated.
Ready to get started? Better eating habits are a quick way to a happier, healthier you.