While there seems to be a new dietary recommendation every week or so, the following healthy eating tips provide the foundation of a proper nutrition plan for a lifetime.
Top 10 Healthy Eating Tips
It is not always easy to eat well in today's hustle bustle to get everything accomplished before the day is over. However, with a little planning and a lot of reminders of its benefits to your health, healthful eating can be easy. Here are some prime strategic points:
- Choose whole foods: As often as possible, whether food shopping or dining out, select whole foods over processed foods. For example, buy fresh chicken breast over the frozen breaded cutlets. At a restaurant, order steamed broccoli instead of the creamed spinach.
- Omit white food products: In order to benefit from the good stuff fiber has to offer (25 grams of fiber per day is recommended), choose grains over refined products. Such items as brown rice, whole grain breads, and whole wheat pasta are far better choices than their white counterparts. Also, since white sugar is basically empty calories, limit it as much as possible. Instead, choose honey for its antioxidant power as well as its sweetness.
- Eat those vegetables: At least 5 servings of vegetables a day is a must for this list of healthy eating tips. One serving is equal to ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of leafy green vegetables. Not only will these nutrient-packed items fill you up with their fiber content, they will provide your immune system with all the fighting power it needs.
- And those fruits: At least 2 servings a day of fruits reaps the same benefits as vegetables. Use the two servings as your snacks instead of the more common junk food or processed "nutrition" bars.
- Monitor portions: It is incredibly easy to consume more food than your body actually requires. One reason for this simple mistake is the brain's inability to keep up with how your stomach is feeling, ie: full or still hungry. Measuring your servings will not only ensure you are eating appropriate amounts, but will also help you trim down if needed. And, if portion control is difficult for you, buy food products in single servings whenever possible or divvy up your larger portions into smaller ones as soon as you get home from the store (and when you are not hungry).
- Plan: Planning not only meals, but also snacks, is the most advantageous tactic to eating healthy. Since extra calories, and most often the non-nutritious calories, come from snacking throughout the day and evening hours, be prepared for these times. See the list below for some healthy alternatives to the junk food you may be choosing to nosh on.
- Get variety: Healthy eating involves getting a vast array of nutrients into your body for energy and well-being. The prevention of many diseases stems from this tip. Eating the colors of the rainbow will ensure you are getting all the phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body depends on.
- Eat low fat foods: Since saturated fat has a direct impact on cardiovascular function, in this case, less is more. The more artery-clogging saturated fat a person consumes, the worse health their heart, arteries, and blood vessels will be in. Also, for weight loss goals, lowering overall fat intake will automatically decrease calories consumed since 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories and 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate contains 4 calories.
- Eat Breakfast: Your metabolism needs some food in the morning to "wake up." In other words, since cells require energy for function, by feeding it all engines are turned on and working. Result: rate of metabolism and calorie usage is optimized.
- Drink water: While this tip may sound like a broken record being played over and over again, there is much truth to its benefits on health. Being well hydrated not only keeps your energy level up, but will also help with immune function, kidney function, liver function, and overall cellular health.
Instead of the chips and ice cream, the following food choices will add to your repertoire of healthy eats:
- Air-popped popcorn or 94% fat-free microwave popcorn
- Grapes or other "pop-in-the-mouth" fruits like dried cranberries and raisins
- Rice cakes (they have come a long way since the plain cardboard) with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- Low fat fruit-flavored yogurt
- Hummus with raw vegetables
- All fresh fruits
- Whole wheat crackers with 1 slice of low fat cheese
- One handful of almonds mixed with dried fruit of choice
- Soy crisps
Healthy Eating Tips for Weight Loss
Besides the general healthy tips offered, for weight loss consideration, there are a few diet tips that can set the stage for lifelong success. These include counting calories to ensure you are giving your body the deficit it needs to draw energy from fat stores, drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day to help keep hunger pangs away for short periods of time, adding variety to meals by finding new low fat and low calorie recipes, and eating mindfully with your goal in mind before reaching for seconds.