We all know what we need to do in order to have a healthier diet. We complicate our food journies with strict rules, fad diets and unnecessary drugs. From carnivores to vegans, the basic rules apply for all and have been given as advice for the longest. If you need a reminder on what these rules are, then continue to read these 5 simple tips you can use to shift your diet healthfully.
1. Hydrate yourself. One of the main components of your physical self is water, about 60% of your body's weight* to be exact. Therefore, it only makes sense that water would be a great thing to put into your body consistently. Dehydration is not the business y'all. Water helps flush out the toxins, push essential nutrients throughout the body and helps keep your skin clear. How much should you have? Well, according to Mayo Clinic, it depends on your lifestyle. "You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.*" If you do not like the taste of water, you can always add flavor to it without adding calories by infusing the water with different fruits (e.g. strawberries), vegetables (e.g. cucumbers) and herbs (e.g.. mints). (*Source)
2. Balance your meals. "A balanced meal contains adequate protein, fat, carbohydrate, and plenty of fiber. It is varied in food choices from day to day and emphasizes plant foods. Fruits and vegetables that are colorful add interest and phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the diet.*" This is not really rocket science but we act like it is. Like all things in life, balance is key in order to have a more well-rounded diet. A great way to adjust your meals is by making the vegetables your main dish and the meat (proteins) and carbs as your smaller side dishes. We typically do the reverse of this and wonder why we feel sluggish all the time. The heavier the meal, the heavier you'll feel, especially if you eat your heaviest meal for dinner. Another way to balance yourself is by having what'd you normally eat for dinner, for lunch and having a light meal for the evening. I learned this trick from my old personal trainer and you really do feel the difference when you eat less heavy foods at night. (*Source)
3. Control your portions. Fellow Americans, let's be honest: We eat way too damn much in one sitting. I don't want to speak for other countries but I wouldn't be surprised if this issue is a global one to a certain extent. Restaurants have been adding more and more to our meals which make us think we need more and more when we're home and that cannot be further from the truth. If anything, we need to greatly reduce our intake of food per meal. "'Super-sized portions at restaurants have distorted what Americans consider a normal portion size, and that affects how much we eat at home as well,' said Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 'One way to keep calories in check is to keep food portions no larger than the size of your fist.' Larger portions mean more calories, which can easily add up to extra weight.*" I can imagine some of you looking at your fist and thinking "For real, that's it?" Well, yeah but it's not as bad as it seems. The fist amounts are for your meat (protein), fatty foods and carbs. You can always add an abundance of vegetables as well as healthy snacks throughout the day to curb your hunger. (*Source)
4. Reduce the processed. Whole foods will make you feel whole period. The freshest of the fresh is preferred for your meals with more organic vegetables and fruits, whole grains and farm-raised meats (or plant-based proteins). If we reduce the amount of condiments, pre-made foods, and snacks, then we can make more room for homemade meals, snacks and sauces that do not contain super high amounts of sodium, sugar and fats nor any hidden additives that can cause us more harm than good. When you create your meals from scratch, you naturally have a better idea of what is going into your body. Furthermore, going from pre-made to homemade does not have to be a super challenging endeavor either. Eating Well shares how you can easily convert 6 processed foods to homemade gems HERE.
5. Don't deprive. One of the main reasons why fad diets fail is because there is typically some form of deprivation involved. These diets do not emphasize that changing the way you eat is more than a quick fix, it is a lifestyle change. Lifestyle changes are not easy to make which is harder to sell so they usually do not want to really put this out into the forefront in fear it will scare their potential customers away. You really don't have to deprive yourself of foods that you enjoy. You just have to greatly reduce the amount you eat and how consistently you eat your favorite unhealthy snacks, foods, meals. Moderation is everything.
I believe Michael Pollan of New York Times Magazine summarizes what a healthy diet looks like the best: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." It's really that simple, people.
How are you doing on your food journey? Are you remembering these simple tips in your day to day? Or are you still a work in progress with implementing all of these key factors? Let's talk about it!