Everyone embarks on a health kick every once in a while. Whether you’ve had a rough period with your eating habits or you want to make some healthy changes, taking responsibility for your well-being is a positive move. While many people recognize that exercise, salad, fruits, and vegetables are synonymous with a healthy lifestyle, most don’t have the knowledge to maintain a consistently healthy routine.
Although strict diets can yield the best results when it comes to body transformations, they are notoriously hard to stick to. People can generally maintain a strict routine for a while but eventually, they become too restrictive and the proverbial wheels come off. When these diets are broken, any progress that was made is often canceled out quite quickly.
One of the best ways to maintain a health kick into the long term is to implement changes that are realistic and easy to follow. Don’t expect to run five miles if you haven’t worked out in years, and avoid thinking that starving yourself will help you lose weight. This is a recipe for failure and you could end up injuring yourself or getting sick.
The food that you eat has a massive impact on how you look and feel. Your diet affects your mental and physical well being and is a major contributor to overall health. For the most part, the kitchen dictates the success of your health kick.
If you’re making an effort to give your health and well being a boost, here are seven dietary tips to make things a little easier.
1. Breakfast is key
Some modern diets incorporate intermittent fasting. This means that you eat all your meals within an eight hour period, and fast for the other sixteen hours. This can be an effective strategy for many.
However, a lot of people skip breakfast because they “don’t feel hungry in the morning”, or they eat a starchy, carbohydrate, or sugar-filled meal to start the day. These approaches don’t provide you with adequate nutrition, meaning you’re starting your day off on the wrong foot.
Eating a healthy breakfast in the morning boosts your metabolism and immune system, giving you the energy to perform optimally throughout the day.
Oats and whole grains are ideal foods to consume in the morning. They provide a healthy balance of good carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat, and are packed full of nutrients. What’s more, oatmeal is extremely versatile and can be combined with many different foods. Research oatmeal health benefits and preparation tips to find a recipe that suits you best.
2. Reduce your sugar intake
An alarming amount of adults consume well over the daily recommended serving of sugar every day. In fact, it’s estimated that the average American gets 15% of their daily calories from added sugars alone. This isn’t including natural sugars found in certain foods.
Sugar is one of the leading contributors to serious illnesses, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. By reducing your sugar intake, you can lower your chances of encountering such health problems.
Here are some top tips for avoiding sugar:
- Replace sugary foods with whole food options.
- Don’t drink sugar (e.g. soda, desert-style coffees, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages).
- Read food labels carefully.
- Be aware that words ending in “-ose” are likely to be types of sugar.
If you consume high amounts of sugar regularly, take things slow, and gradually introduce changes.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fish oils contain essential fatty acids that have amazing health benefits. Not only can they help support the immune system and increase cognitive function, but they are also effective in staving off serious illnesses such as heart disease.
These fatty acids can be consumed organically through certain seafood. Fish including mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna are rich in omega-3, making it easily accessible.
Alternatively, you can take omega-3 as a supplement.
4. Meal preparation
The key to achieving any goal is to be organized. Plan healthy meals ahead of time and batch cook several portions. Extra portions can be frozen for later.
By preparing meals in advance, you ensure that you have healthy eating options no matter the occasion. Many people blame their busy schedule for having a poor diet. You’re reducing your risk of failure when doing meal prep.
Planning ahead also makes shopping a lot easier.
5. Remove temptation
It’s difficult to follow through with a healthy eating routine if you’re constantly tempted to eat unhealthily. Go through your cupboards and pantry, ensuring that you get rid of any tempting junk food.
If the junk food in your home belongs to another family member, ask them to keep it out of sight so it doesn’t trigger cravings. People who have food on display around their homes are linked to higher consumption of junk food, as well as obesity.
6. Ensure you have ample healthy snacks
Not having a healthy snack at-hand when a hunger pang hits can lead to the derailment of your diet. The hungrier you get, the likelier you are to opt for an unhealthy food choice.
Pick up plenty of healthy snacks when you’re grocery shopping and bring them with you everywhere. Keep snacks in convenient locations such as your car and office.
For healthy snacks, the best options are those packed full of protein. Nuts, yogurt, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and jerky are perfect choices.
7. Eat your leafy greens
Leafy green vegetables are the perfect source of vitamins and minerals. They are rich in antioxidants, making them powerful in preventing illness and fighting off potential infections. The darker the leaf, the more antioxidants they contain.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet. One cup can provide you with more than your recommended daily amount of vitamins K, A, and C. Although it can be cooked, it’s recommended that you eat kale raw if you want to get the full nutritional benefits.
Some other healthy greens include collard greens, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, romaine lettuce, watercress, swiss chard, and bok choy. Apart from being delicious and healthy, most of these vegetables are versatile and go well in various dishes.
So go on out and start living life healthy.