About 45 million Americans go on a diet every year.
On top of that, the “science” behind what’s healthy and what’s not seems to change every few years. Common ingredients like eggs, salt, and butter seem to switch sides pretty often.
But the real secrets to eating healthy don’t lie in any specific diet trend.
Fortunately, the basics of following a healthy diet are straightforward. They don’t include calorie counting, macronutrient management, or other gimmicks. Instead, they focus on making healthy choices at mealtime and maintaining a balanced diet.
Keep reading for simple health tips that will help you kickstart a healthier lifestyle without all the strict rules and starvation. You’ll be on the path to looking and feeling better before you know it!
You don’t necessarily need to go vegetarian or vegan to eat a healthy diet.
Even if you want to keep being a meat-eater, you should include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. They’re the best way to help you get the nutrients you need, they’re low in calories, and they’re dense in fiber.
Fiber helps you feel fuller faster, which in turn helps you consume fewer calories throughout the day. It’s recently been called a superfood because it’s loaded with vital health benefits, like lowering cholesterol, regulating your digestive system, and controlling blood sugar levels.
Despite that, most American’s don’t eat nearly enough fiber. But upping your intake for fruits and vegetables can help you hit that goal.
Eat a side of fruits and vegetables with every meal. Try to make at least one meal a day where plants are the main course, like a veggie stirfry, or a salad.
If you want to lose weight, one of the easiest ways to do so is by drinking more water. More importantly: don’t drink your calories.
You should cut out sweet drinks like soda and sweetened teas and coffees. These load your body up with sugar and empty calories, plus they can dehydrate you too.
If you truly can’t stand the taste of water, try infusing it with fruits or vegetables. You can even buy special water bottles to make infusing them easier. Popular combos include strawberries and basil, cucumbers, or lemon.
As a general rule of thumb, the more processed the food is, the less healthy it is. Try to fill your diet with natural foods, or get the packaged foods with as few ingredients as possible.
Processed foods are all full of additives, sugars, and empty calories, which can have a negative health impact. And, eating too many processed ingredients can lead to serious health problems later.
To avoid unwanted health effects, learn to read the ingredient list, and don’t forget to check those labels while you’re shopping. You should avoid foods with ingredients that you don’t understand or can’t pronounce.
Sugar doesn’t fuel your body well, and the average American eats two to three times more sugar each day than what experts recommend. For men, that’s 37 grams of sugar a day, and for women, it’s 25.
But in America, sugar is in everything. It’s in bread, sauces, and most frozen foods. In fact, almost anything processed that you eat has added sugar.
When you’re starting to eat healthily, pay attention to how much sugar you eat each day, just in sweet treats alone.
A good starting point is only to have one sweet treat a day if you’re used to more. From there, you can shoot for a day or two a week with no sweet treats, all the way up until you’re limiting your sugar intake to healthy quantities.
Keep in mind that natural sugars are in products like fruit and milk, and they do count toward your daily intake. Learning to manage your sugar consumption is hard work. Even if you struggle at first, stick to it and keep trying.
This might be one of the hardest things to learn when you’re not used to eating healthily. Learn to recognize the cues your body puts out when it’s hungry, and pay attention to them.
When you sit down to a meal, eat more slowly. It can take about 20 minutes before the “full” signal hits your brain. By eating more slowly, you won’t overeat before you get that signal.
Start to pay attention to why you’re eating. Are you bored? Are you in the middle of an afternoon sugar crash? Do you overindulge at social events?
When you can identify the trigger for your eating, you can adjust your patterns, so they’re healthier too.
For example, if you know that you’re only snacking because your friends are, switch to a low-calorie option like cucumber slices instead of chips. If you’re bored, maybe you can go for a quick walk or switch activities instead of reaching for a snack.
These simple health tips will help you start on the path toward a healthier life. They’re easy to follow, common sense, and can have a dramatic impact on your life.
As you continue on the path toward wellness, you’ll pick up more tips and information about what’s healthy for you. Every change you make helps you create a lifestyle where you feel energized and comfortable in your skin every day.
Considering getting a vegetable chopper to make snacking on veggies even easier? Check out our vegetable chopper guide here.