15 Key Tips for Healthier Eating
1. Start the Day with Breakfast
While the verdict is still out on whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day, nutrition experts often suggest to not skip it. Eating a well-balanced breakfast can subside hunger, boost energy, improve cognition, and pave the way to healthier eating choices throughout the day’s entirety. A nutritious breakfast should be protein-rich, including these breakfast ideas you do not want to miss!
2. Color the Plate
For all you visual learners (and even those who are not), plates bursting with diverse colors often tend to be the most nutritious. Coloring the plate with various veggies is a simple way to not only keep calories in check, but to ensure meals are supplying ample vitamins and minerals the body needs to function at its prime. Also have fun experimenting and trying new veggies and preparation methods such as tasting it in its raw form, roasting with olive oil, or throwing into a casserole.
3. Offer Variety
But healthier eating is not always about the vegetables… Although veggies should absolutely not be discounted, their intake is not the only shining star on the meal plate. Healthy eating discourages the concept of simple “diet foods” and incorporates vibrant and nourishing whole grains, fruits, legumes, lean meats, and healthy fats. (Oh, and indulging on your favorite scoop of ice cream every now and then!)
4. Stop Fearing the Fat
Yes, fat in the diet is a healthy eating tip… But here us out: Whereas fat was previously feared, ongoing recommendations discourage you to not to. While they may be calorically-dense, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils are rich suppliers of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Nonetheless, ongoing research suggests this healthy fat supports heart health and weight maintenance, as they tend to be more satisfying and lower the risk of overeating. Incorporate healthier fats in your diet by aiming for at least two servings of fish each week, swapping olive oil in place of a store-bought salad dressing, and giving these avocado toast recipes a try!
5. Moderate Portions
Portion control is key when it comes to healthier eating, as large servings increases the risk of overconsuming unnecessary calories. Moderate portions by loading the plate (or at least half) with veggies, using smaller plates, splitting oversized entrees at restaurants, drinking water before and with meals, rationing out snacks, and practicing mindful eating techniques.
6. Practice Mindful Eating
Speaking of mindful eating… The practice of mindful and intuitive eating entails tuning into the body’s hunger and satiety cues, primarily in hopes to heighten food appreciation and reduce the risk of overeating. Start the practice by bringing your awareness to the entire body prior to eating, using the senses to enjoy the food at hand, and recognizing personal feelings throughout the entire dining experience. Further rid all distractions, including sitting down without electronics, and focusing most attention on the meal and members who may also be surrounding the dining table.
7. Scale Back On Sugars
Did you know Americans eat approximately 80 grams of sugar each day? This is quite startling considering the American Heart Association’s recommendation of no more than 38 and 25 grams of sugar per day for men and women, respectively. And whereas it was previously jingled to “help the medicine go down,” sugar is actually driving overweight and obesity rates up and increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Scale back on sugar by reducing the obvious (think cookies, cakes, muffins, and other sweet treats), reading labels for the less obvious, limiting artificial sweeteners, and eating these foods to beat sugar cravings.
8. Go Easy On the Salt
While sodium is a critical mineral and electrolyte for regulating fluid balance within the body, too much of it can increase blood pressure. And with heart disease being the number one killer in the U.S., there is a need to go easy on the salt. The general recommendation of sodium intake is 2,400 milligrams (mg) per day or 1,400 mg if directed by a medical provider, commonly related to high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. To moderate sodium intake, go easy on the salt shake, limit processed and packaged foods, and opt for more wholesome foods. Also simultaneously reduce salt intake and enrich the flavor of your foods by spicing it up in the kitchen!
9. And Increase Potassium
Potassium is an extremely important mineral and electrolyte, working with sodium inside the body’s cells to create nerve impulses, muscle contractions, and heart function. In general, adults should consume 4,700 mg of potassium daily for optimal health, as some research research has shown maintaining or increasing potassium intake may even decrease the risk of certain chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney stones. Increase potassium intake by consuming more bananas, plantains, radishes, potatoes, white beans, apricots, tomatoes, pistachios, and carrots.
10. Give Trans Fat the Boot
Though most nutrition experts try to stray away from categorizing foods as “good” and “bad,” trans fats are the exception to the rule. Research claims and statistics suggest a high intake of trans fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol in the blood, lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. More specific (and startling) statistics suggest individuals with a high intake of trans fat are 21 percent more likely to develop heart disease, increase their risk of heart attacks as much as one and a half times while growing the risk of heart disease death by 28 percent, and have a 34 percent risk of overall mortality compared to those with a lower trans fat intake.
11. Read Food Labels
But you might be wondering, “How am I supposed to know how much sugar and fat and how many calories and servings are in the foods I purchase?” The answer lies in a food label, as they nutritional story of a product, allowing you to make a well-informed decision on if it should stay on the shelf or end up in your grocery cart. Reading food labels offers healthy eating facts, which can mostly be determined through deciphering through the Nutrition Facts and Ingredients labels.
12. Use Healthy Baking Swaps
Love to bake but not all the added calories, sugars, and fats that come with eating them? Try these 10 simple baking swaps to optimize nutritional value and naturally eat healthier, all without sacrificing flavor and your personal health goals!
13. Watch Liquid Calories
One of the simplest ways to improve healthier eating habits boils down to what you choose to sip with meals and throughout the day… While some liquid calories come from nutritious beverages such as calcium-rich milk and 100 percent fruit juice, most come from soda, alcohol, and other sweetened beverages that tend to supply nothing more than calories. Nonetheless, watching and cutting out liquid calories can cut down on significant calories. And water is always the best beverage option and individuals should aim for a minimum of 64-ounces of water daily unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare professional.
14. Consider Other Lifestyle Factors
Eating habits can be influenced by a number of other lifestyle factors, including sleep and stress. Deter the risks of emotional eating and heightened cravings by sleeping the seven to nine hours on a regular basis and practice stress management techniques. Exercise is also a recommended and encouraged complement to healthy eating and can further motivate healthy eating choices, with general recommendations suggesting a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity on a weekly basis and the incorporation of two to three strength training sessions.
15. Trust in bistroMD
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