Wherever we go, there seems to be an endless supply of healthy eating tips.
Magazines, television, internet, radio… everywhere! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that there is an intense demand because so many people struggle.
So, why is healthy eating so difficult for you?
Isn’t it the result of the methods you’ve been choosing?
You try to change EVERYTHING at once, then you get overcome with it all, and finally give up because the effort is simply too much.
Do you scoff at the possibility that small changes have the potential to make a big difference in your health?
Be assured that a gradual, step-by-step approach does work!
But remember, you must focus on changing one or two habits at a time, allow these to become ingrained, then implement additional changes in your eating habits.
Here are 28 small changes you can make towards healthy eating:
What will you decide to change TODAY?
#1 Eat more whole grains
When buying bread, go for brands that state whole wheat, or whole grain as the first ingredient.
The grain is where all the nutritional goodness is contained, therefore ‘whole’ breads are more nutritious, and sustaining than the processed varieties, such as those made with white flour.
If healthy eating is something you’re striving for, try making at least half your grains ‘whole!’
#2 Eat plenty of veggies
Most of us don’t eat enough vegetables each day, which means we’re missing out on the essential nutrients and fibre.
Aim for around 3-4 servings every day, and try to include a mix of different coloured veg, so that you benefit from all the nutrients available.
#3 Eat plenty of fruit
Aim for around 1-2 servings of brightly coloured fruits each day, and don’t forget you can include fruit canned in natural juices, frozen fruit, or a small handful of dried fruit to increase the variety in your diet.
If you don’t like fruit and vegetables read this post.
#4 Make fresh fruit and veggies accessible
Prepare a large bowl of fresh fruit salad and store in your fridge, or keep veggie crudités in plastic containers for an easy, healthy snack any time of the day.
#5 Eat from the ‘food groups’
A healthy diet is one that contains a variety of food for all the food groups. The 5 commonly accepted food groups are:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta
- Meat, fish, eggs, beans, and other non-dairy sources of protein
- Milk and dairy foods
- Small amounts – healthy fats, and foods, or drinks high in fat and/or sugar
So, try to keep a bowl of colourful fruit in your kitchen, and place other healthy snacks at the bottom of the fridge, so that your children can easily access them.
If you do have junk food in your home, place it out of sight, on the top shelve of your cupboard, to help remove temptation.
#7 Cook ethnic cuisine
Very often ethnic recipes are much healthier than American cuisine, so check out your local library for inspiration, and add more variety to your current eating.
Take care with recipes that are loaded with heavy cream, or coconut milk, and go for a lighter alternative.
#8 Choose omega-3 rich foods
Everyone should be eating one to two portions of fish each week, one of which should be oily fish.
The omega-3 fats, found in oily fish, are vital for heart health, improving mood, and brain power. Opt for salmon, mackerel, or sardines regularly; smaller amounts can also be found in canola oil, sesame seeds, and nuts.
Check out this recipe for salmon with limes and herby cream sauce.
#9 Drink water
Water is essential for keeping the cells in our body hydrated, for chemical reactions, for the digestive system, and for energy production.
So, aim for around 8 cups of water each day. If you find it difficult to drink enough, try carrying a bottle of water with you at all times, to encourage more drinking.
#10 Don’t drink soft drinks
I’d suggest that you reduce your intake to ‘never,’ or ‘rarely!’
Soft drinks provide no nutritional value, and there’s simply no room for them in your diet if you’re aiming to eat healthy.
You should also try to reduce your intake of fruit juice, sports drinks, and alcohol, and replace with water as much as possible
#11 Never, ever super-size
In fact I’d go even further…never eat fast food! Fast food isn’t really ‘food’ in my opinion, it has zero nutritional content, and isn’t good for you in shape or form. So, why bother eating it?
If you really must indulge, go ahead, just don’t super-size, unless you want to be served a heart attack on a plate!
#12 Teach your children to cook
If you want to teach your children healthy eating skills, teaching them to have an active interest in cooking is an excellent way.
Kids love to try out food they’ve helped to create. If they’re picky about veggies for example, ask that they help in the preparation. This should be enough to encourage that they try a few mouthfuls at least.
#13 Always read labels
Food manufacturers don’t make it easy for us to know what’s in our food.
So, you need to get into the habit of reading the fine print on the back of packs. I’ve written about sneaky food labelling before. Make sure you know what you’re buying.
#14 Reduce your portion size
Are you gaining weight despite trying to eat healthier? While you may be eating good food, perhaps you are eating it in all the wrong portions.
Try to get into the habit of checking the suggested serving on the back of food packages, to find out what an acceptable serving should look like, and also use these everyday items to estimate portion size.
#15 Stock healthy food
If you only buy ready meals, and convenience foods, guess what? That’s what you’re going to fill up on.
But, if you make the effort to stock healthy ingredients, removing those that lead to binging, you will find eating healthy much easier.
What unhealthy food could you stop purchasing today?
#16 Eat healthy snacks when away from home
Try to keep a supply of healthy snacks with you at all times, and especially when you leave home. This way you can graze on healthy food that will help maintain your energy and blood sugar levels, and prevent cravings for coffee and donuts.
Easily transportable healthy snacks include whole nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or whole fruit. For more healthy snack ideas go here.
#17 Preserve the nutritional goodness in your veggies
If you cook your vegetables to a pulp, you won’t benefit from the nutritional goodness!
Instead use lighter cooking methods such as steaming, or stir-frying quickly, or try raw vegetables occasionally for added variety.
#18 Use healthier cooking methods for meats
When cooking meat, poultry, and fish avoid frying in too much oil, and instead choose grilling, poaching, baking, or roasting without added fat most of the time.
#19 Go vegetarian one night each week
Vegetarian cooking can be really healthy, so rather than serving meat at each meal, be adventurous and try these suitable meat substitutes:
- Peas, beans and lentils
- Soya-based foods, including tofu
- Seeds, nuts and nut butters (such as peanut butter)
- Eggs (if appropriate)
#20 Fill half your plate with veggies
An easy way to make all of your meals healthier is to simply add an extra portion of vegetables, or a large green salad, rather than having a huge portion of creamy potatoes, or French fries.
#21 Eat plenty of fibre rich foods
A diet rich in fibrous foods is essential for a healthy digestive system.
So, try to include plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grain breads, oats, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, and make sure you’re drinking lots of water so that the fibre can work effectively.
#22 Share dessert
When you feel like having dessert, split with your partner or a friend to cut the calories in half, but still satisfy a sweet craving.
If you’re eating dessert at home, choose to bake it yourself – it will be much healthier, and tastier, than the store bought varieties.
Check out these healthy low-fat desserts.
#23 Drink tea
Tea is thought to be beneficial in reducing the risk of a number of diseases. So, next time you make a cup of tea, brew it for 3-5 minutes to bring out the beneficial polyphenols.
#24 Don’t drink too much coffee
While a little coffee can be part of a healthy diet, having too much can put you on an energy roller coaster.
Stick with one to two cups each day, and for the rest of the day choose water, white, green, red or black tea, or any of the herbal varieties.
#25 Eat regular meals
If you’re trying to lose weight, fasting is not effective long-term.
Instead eat regular, light meals to help you lose weight, maintain your blood sugar levels, and prevent binge eating.
Aim for 3 meals, and 2-3 healthy snacks each day, if appropriate.
#26 Bring a packed lunch
In the interest of your health, and your pocket, bring a packed lunch to work with you.
This way you’ll be able to control what goes into your food, and the time you save waiting in line to order can be enjoying by taking a brisk walk instead.
#27 Allow your children to pick ‘treats’ from the produce section
More often than not children want to choose something for themselves at the supermarket.
So, rather than allowing them to pick sweets or chocolate, why not give them the opportunity to choose a ‘treat’ from the produce section, such as a piece of fresh fruit?
Young children are often happy that they simply get to choose something themselves, and it will also teach them to appreciate healthy food.
#28 Start your own fruit and veggie patch
If you want to eat the most nutritious, delicious tasting veggies and fruit, you’ll simply have to grow you own.
Gardening has the added benefit of being a great form of exercise, it’s cost effective, and if you have children it’s an excellent way of getting them interested in eating fresh produce, and teaching them where food comes from.
Begin by planting a couple of pots of herbs, or putting in a few rows of vegetables. You can then see if you enjoy gardening, before launching into a full-scale project.
What are your healthy eating tips and ideas?
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