Eating healthy is a challenge with all of the conflicting information and our uber-busy lives. When you feel overwhelmed with anything it’s always best to go back to the basics.
The same principle applies to nutrition. Since the beginning of time there have been a lot of whoppers put into the media about what is healthy and what’s not. There are, however, those nutrition truths that have never changed.
These seven simple ways to improve your nutrition are some of those truths. If you put these rules into play in your eating habits, you’ll do your body and health a whole lot of good.
1. Cut Out Sugary Drinks
Drinking is meant to serve one purpose; to quench our thirst. Somewhere along the line, drinking has become a snack.
With the exception of the occasional hot chocolate around a campfire and beer with the guys, the best rule to follow is to drink nothing with sugar in it.
If you can successfully cut back on your sugary drinks, you will find a big difference in your energy levels and you will probably even lose weight.
Liquid does very little to sustain us but when we drink calories, we are adding to our daily calorie intake without making us any less hungry.
For many of us, sticking with a calories in versus calories out diet plan is our main goal in losing weight. Sugary drinks are like a surprise attack on that tactic. You’ll lose the battle.
2. Eat the Rainbow
No, don’t go eating a bunch of skittles and call it a day. We’re talking about a rainbow of far more nutrition here.
When choosing which fruits and veggies to eat, which should be done at every meal, you want to make sure you eat a variety of colors. Why?
The compounds that determine the color of a fruit or vegetable is directly linked to the antioxidant or vitamin that each food delivers.
By choosing an orange carrot, a green lettuce, and a purple beet, you’ve just given yourself a natural multivitamin.
3. Use a Small Plate
Our minds can often play tricks on us. For example, if we enter a room that is stuffed with clutter, we would feel like the room is quite small.
Enter the same room with very little furniture and you’ll think you’re in a bigger room. Spatial visualization can be illusioned.
We can apply that to our eating habits. If you use the same amount of food on two different sized plates, you’ll naturally think that the smaller plate has more food on it, simply because the food takes up more of the plate.
So, if you use a smaller plate to eat, not only will you only be able to fit a limited amount of food on the plate, but your brain will be tricked into thinking it is getting more food.
4. Season with Herbs and Spices
Salt consumption is often a big problem with many Americans. With high blood pressure being an all too often health issue, controlling the amount of salt that we get in our diet is crucial.
Salt can make the body hold onto water, increasing the volume of blood in the body, putting more pressure on the heart to pump this extra load. Without something to counteract this extra pressure, you’re in for a world of hurt.
Nobody likes bland food, so to keep your low salt diet tasty, use herbs and spices in your cooking. Spices like cumin, cayenne, garlic, and pepper keep your food interesting as does a fresh bite of cilantro or parsley.
5. Stick to Complex Carbs
Carbs have gotten a bad rap over the years. With keto and paleo diets being so popular, many people have drastically cut out carbohydrates from their diets.
The problem doesn’t lie with carbs. They are an essential macronutrient that your body needs. The problem lies with the type of carbohydrates you eat.
Simple carbs like white bread, donuts, biscuits, cookies, white pasta, and crackers will all cause a drastic spike in glucose in the body that will settle itself into a cozy corner somewhere and turn into fat deposits in the body.
Complex carbs, on the other hand, like sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grains, oatmeal, and beans, deliver a steady source of energy that the body will use up (along with a good dose of fiber) leaving none to turn into fat.
6. Go Lean with Protein
Every once in a while a nice juicy steak will do the soul some good, but as a rule, when you choose your protein, go for the leanest cut you can find.
Good examples of lean protein include chicken breast, pork loin, and any beef cut with the word “round” in the name.
This will help you keep saturated fats low in your daily diet.
7. Go Fatty with Fish
There are healthy fats, however, that you want in your diet because they help lubricate your joints, keep your brain sharp, and fight against heart disease.
Fatty fish are one of the best sources of these healthy fats called omega 3 fatty acids. When deciding which fish to buy for dinner, opt for salmon, herring, and mackerel most often.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Like anything in life, once you learn the rules, it’s pretty smooth sailing from there on out.
Take one of these seven tips and apply it in your life until it becomes a habit, then move onto the next. If you successfully apply all seven, you’ll be in a much healthier state.