7 Simple Ways to Eat Better
The thought of dieting can seem daunting. We often associate dieting with deprivation of favorite foods, torturous cravings, flavorless health foods and constant hunger pangs. However, dieting doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s as simple as incorporating a few simple changes to your lifestyle in a thoughtful way. Here are a few ideas to get your started on your journey toward a healthier lifestyle.
1. Find healthy foods that you actually enjoy eating.
This may take some time and will require patience and a willingness to test new foods. Likely there are fruits, vegetables, healthy grains and other nutritious foods that you actually like. Once you’ve found healthy foods that you like, swap out some of your junk food for healthy substitutes. For example, almonds may be a satisfying crunchy snack for those who love potato chips. A juicy peach or bowl of raspberries may be the perfect stand-in for sugary deserts.
2. Try new recipes to find tasty ways to prepare vegetables.
With the enormous number of recipes available for free on the internet, there are plenty of delicious ways to cook vegetables. Look for recipes that offer flavorful ways to cook vegetables without adding a lot of unnecessary fats. Once you find a recipe that you like, try substituting different types of vegetables to get some variety. For example, a recipe for broccoli may work just as well with cauliflower, green beans, Brussels sprouts or zucchini.
3. Be aware of portion sizes.
While measuring every food item is tedious, it may be helpful to measure your portions for a short time to gain awareness of how much you are actually eating. You may be surprised to learn the suggested serving size of some of your favorite foods is a lot smaller than you thought. Once you have retrained yourself in proper portion sizes, you can stop measuring or weighing your food.
4. Use smaller plates to make your meals look larger.
There are two downsides to using large plates. First, you may accidentally let your portion sizes get out of control. Second, if you are able to keep your portions in check, you may feel like you are depriving yourself when you see a small amount of food on your large plate. Piling a small plate full of healthy foods will eliminate that deprivation message and the lack of room on your plate will help maintain portion control.
5. Challenge yourself to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
A great challenge is to eat two different types of fruits or vegetables at each meal. This is harder than it sounds! But if you are able to find ways to cram your plate full of different types of fruits and vegetables, you will have less room for unhealthy foods. This challenge also gives you the opportunity to try lots of different types of produce, giving you the chance to explore new foods and perhaps find a few new favorites.
6. Find alternatives to eating out of boredom.
Can’t resist mindless munching when watching television? Try sipping some herbal tea instead. Constantly reaching for an afternoon snack while at work? Keep your desk drawers stocked with dried fruit, nuts or sliced vegetables.
7. Substitute exercise for emotional eating.
Cardio, weight lifting or yoga is an instant mood enhancer. Our bodies release endorphins during exercise so the next time you’re a feeling down and tempted to eat an entire carton of ice cream, try excising instead.
Remember, your diet is all about moderation! Sometimes, we all need to indulge. Giving in to your cravings on occasion is not such a bad thing if you remember to exercise moderation. A single scoop of ice cream, a handful of chips, one slice of pizza or a sugary beverage enjoyed on infrequent occasions can help ease those feelings of deprivation. Just remember to be purposeful in your indulgence: eat slowly to savor your food, keep your portions under control and make sure these indulgences occur infrequently.
Reaching your weight loss goals doesn’t have to be about only consuming weight loss shakes and boiled chicken. It is much easier to achieve success when you make your diet about healthy lifestyle changes rather than simply counting calories. Embrace your love of food by searching out delicious healthy foods and recipes. Exercise moderation and allow for the occasional treat. Your slimmer, healthier future is easier to achieve than you may think.