How to Start Eating Healthy
Are you ready to get started on a healthy eating plan, but are not quite sure how to begin? If you are new to healthy eating, it can be overwhelming to change your diet. It can also be hard. Our taste buds get used to certain foods and drinks, and we miss them when we can no longer have them. The good news is that many people have switched to a healthy diet, and you can too.
The secret to starting a healthy eating plan is to take it slow. If you deprive yourself of your favorite foods all at once and replace them with new foods that you are not sure you even like, you are in danger of giving up altogether. A smarter approach is to gradually introduce healthy dishes into your diet and to gradually eliminate unhealthy foods.
Before you start eating healthily, you need to know what a healthy eating plan looks like. In general, a healthy diet is very high in fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains and a small amount of lean animal protein. What a healthy diet is lacking or very low in is processed, prepackaged or fast foods, soft drinks, sports drinks, white foods such as white potatoes, flour, rice, etc., sugar (either natural or artificial), trans fats and artificial flavorings, chemicals, colorings or preservatives.
Each meal or snack that you eat should contain something from the three macro nutrient groups: fat, protein and complex carbohydrates. This will ensure that your body has what it needs to keep you nourished and keep your blood sugar levels even. A sample meal would contain two or three ounces of chicken, steamed broccoli, wild rice, baked sweet potato and a salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzled over it with water to drink. A sample snack might be whole grain crackers, cheese, mixed nuts, fresh berries, raw mini sweet peppers and water.
Keeping a food journal will also help you with your new eating style. For a couple of weeks, write down everything you eat. At the end of each day, review your journal. This will give you an idea of your current eating habits and let you know where you need to work to make it healthier. If you notice that you only eat fresh vegetables once each day, you can concentrate on adding more in. Perhaps you didn’t realize that you eat ten mints from the office candy jar each day! A solution would be to preselect how many mints you will allow yourself for the day and lay them on your desk. When they are gone, do not go back for more!
Try experimenting with different healthy foods. For example, try a different new vegetable every day to see which ones you like the best. Replace your white bread with different varieties of 100% whole grain bread. Mix different fruits together in a fruit salad and eat it for dessert.
And don’t forget seasonings! As you move away from premade foods and begin eating food in its original state, you will miss the chemical additives that give processed foods their signature flavors. By enhancing your food with spices and herbs, you will not feel as though you are eating bland foods.
The more you incorporate healthy foods into your diet and remove the unhealthy foods, the easier it will get. Not only will you begin to love the taste of those foods, but you will have more energy and be healthier as well!