With the New Year upon us, many people are ready to make a change to their diet. If you have been frustrated with your weight or have health problems, you might be eating the wrong foods. Many people eat too many processed foods and sugary snacks, which can cause weight gain and make you sick. People often look for a quick fix for a growing waste line or a medical problem. What is really needed is a life-style change incorporating healthy eating habits.
Following are 8 Ways to Overhaul Your Diet:
- Eat Breakfast—
Breakfast is thought to be the most important meal of the day, according to many nutrition experts. After a long night’s sleep, eating breakfast gets the body going and gives you energy for the day ahead. It is ironic that breakfast is the most skipped meal. Both children and adults are guilty of missing this important meal. Many of you feel rushed in the morning and don’t necessarily give yourself the time to grab something to eat before you head out the door. Do yourself a favor and take a little time to eat something healthy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be hard, or complicated. Try mixing a few healthful ingredients together to make a smoothie. Maybe try a banana, handful of spinach and some protein powder. Use whatever fruit and vegetables you like. The are many possibilities. If you are in a rush, grab a banana and yogurt. If you have a little time, make yourself some eggs. Try adding in some healthy vegetables and maybe some left over chicken or ham. Again—you have many options. The point is to eat something healthy preferably with protein and vegetables.
- Pre-plan Your Meals—
When it comes to cooking, it is important to pre-plan your meals. Make a list of some meals you would like to make. If you want to try something new, find some recipes you would like to try. You can use one of your favorite cookbooks, or search Pinterest. Make a grocery list of any ingredients you will need for the recipes you choose as well as any other items you may need. Once you have your groceries, you can prepare some items ahead to make things easier. Chop vegetables in advance for salads, snacking, stir-fries, etc. If you are making a dish with chicken, you can cook a few extra chicken breasts to have on hand for salads, or another meal such as chicken fajitas. Pre-planning saves time, gives you a set plan for meals and allows you to eat healthier. By planning ahead, you will be less likely to visit that local restaurant for a greasy burger and fries.
- Replace Bad Oils With Good Oils—
Calories are often hidden in unhealthy oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and others. Try replacing these unhealthy oils with olive oil or coconut oil. These oils are anti-inflammatory and contain healthy antioxidants. Update your pantry with these healthy oils.
- Replace Crackers & Chips With Nuts & Seeds—
Processed foods, including crackers and chips, are often loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Although they may taste good, many have addicting properties that keep you eating and wanting more. Try replacing some of these snack foods with nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds contain good fats your body craves. They also contain protein and fiber, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals your body needs. If you are looking for something crunchy to eat, snack on almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds. Nuts and seeds fill you up and give you extended energy. Enjoy 1 to 2 handfuls.
- Watch Out For Condiments—
While many people love condiments, many are loaded with sugar and chemicals. Ketchup and mustard seem to go hand in hand with a burger and fries, but when is the last time you looked at the ingredient list? Many people slather on the ketchup, not knowing they are consuming a large dose of sugar. Ketchup is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which essentially is sugar and is horrible for your body. Other condiments including sauces and dressings are also loaded with sugars and preservatives. Manufacturers often mask sugar in the ingredient list by using other names such as high fructose corn syrup, maltose, molasses, dextrin, fructose, dextrose, dextran, barley malt, evaporated can juice, rice syrup, sucrose and the list goes on. When choosing condiments, be selective and use sparingly.
- Make Your Own Dressings—
As I mentioned, many dressings contain sugar and other chemicals. If you like eating salad, you might want to consider making your own dressing. Many people like vinegar and oil, but there are many other options. You can make a healthy dressing using olive oil, lemon and your favorite herbs. Check out Pinterest for some healthy dressing choices. If you are eating out, ask for your salad dressing on the side. That way you can add the amount of dressing to your salad you like. Some restaurants have healthier dressing selections. Ask in advance what your options are.
- Look For 5 Ingredients or Less When Buying Processed Foods—
Consumers are often swayed into buying processed foods products because they are convenient, tasty and easy to prepare. Many processed foods however, are loaded with sugar and fat and contain a variety of chemicals and preservatives. Most processed foods also have a long ingredient list. If you are looking to overhaul your diet, look for products that have 5 ingredients or less. For example, you would be better off choosing a bag of Tostito’s over a bag of Dorito’s. Tostito’s contain 3 ingredients, whereas a bag of Dorito’s has a long list and many of the ingredients are long and hard to pronounce. Who know’s what they really are? A better idea is choose more whole foods. Many whole foods come with out an ingredient list, as they are made by Mother Nature. Fill your refrigerator and pantry with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, meat and good oils.
- Eat More Good Fat—
Although low-fat foods are popular, they aren’t all healthy. Fat plays a big part in how a food tastes. Low fat foods often have added sugar or other chemicals added to them to make them taste better. Opt instead for healthy fats found in assortment of whole foods. Add avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, dark chocolate and a variety of fish to your diet for a healthy dose of fat.
Thanks for reading!