The 10 Easiest Ways to Switch to Healthy Eating

The 10 Easiest Ways to Switch to Healthy Eating

Making the decision to focus on healthy eating is an important first step in the ongoing journey of treating your body right. When it comes down to everyday reality, however, it can feel intimidating to overhaul your habits. By learning how to eat healthy foods in a way that works for your tastes, resources and schedule, you can reap the benefits of healthy eating without growing frustrated or discouraged. Follow these easy healthy eating tips to jump-start your lifestyle change.

1. Focus on quantity as well as quality. Choosing moderate portions is the key to healthy eating. Use smaller dishes when eating at home to avoid over-sized servings. At restaurants, split a meal with a fellow diner or take half home in a doggy bag. Use visual clues; for instance, one portion of cooked meat should be about the size of a deck of cards.

2. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Fresh produce is an essential part of eating healthy. Not only do fruits and vegetables boast important nutrients, they also provide a feeling of fullness without too many calories. Sample different produce until you find fruits and vegetables you enjoy and will be able to incorporate into your daily diet.

3. Transition gradually. Changing set habits is challenging, so be patient. Do not expect to have a perfect diet overnight. Healthy eating should come in small steps, such as reaching for an apple instead of a candy bar or swapping broccoli for French fries as a side dish throughout the week.

4. Incorporate a variety of different foods into your daily diet. Instead of eliminating certain food groups, recognize that healthy eating stems from a balance of different nutrients. Turn to whole grains for healthy carbohydrates. Nuts, soy products, lean meats and beans are all good sources of healthy proteins. When you eat an unhealthy food, counteract it with a nutritious choice later in the day.

5. Plan meals ahead of time. When you are busy and hungry, it is easy to reach for whatever is nearby. Take time to write down a weekly or monthly schedule and have all the necessary ingredients on hand. If you are just starting out, plan two or three meals a week and gradually transition into planning every meal.

6. Eat regularly. Especially if you are trying to lose weight, it might be tempting to skip meals. However, regular meals keep your blood sugar steady and your appetite in check. By having a small, healthy snack every few hours, you avoid the pressing hunger or weakness that might lead to bad choices.

7. Become aware of your personal temptations. To eat healthy, you need to understand your own habits and triggers. If you know that you will be attending a party with plenty of tempting sweets, eat a healthy meal beforehand and drink plenty of water to keep your hunger in check and let you sample moderately. If you binge on unhealthy foods during times of stress, find a new coping mechanism, such as jogging or meditation.

8. Do not be afraid of healthy fats. It might seem as if fat has no place on a list of healthy eating tips. However, unsaturated fats from sources such as avocados, salmon, pumpkin seeds, almonds and flax seed oils nourish your body in essential ways. Avoid unhealthy fats, such as the ones found in most fried or baked goods.

9. Shop intelligently. Since the middle aisles of grocery stores often feature processed foods or snack foods, focus on the outer perimeter. The produce aisle, meat department, bakery and dairy section offer the whole, fresh and basic foods you need for a healthy diet.

10. Slow down. Eating too quickly makes it hard for your body to properly process hunger signals. Take time to savor your meal and enjoy the different tastes. This also makes it easier for you to note when you stop feeling hungry and avoid accidentally overeating. Drink water with your meal to stay hydrated and boost your healthy eating habits.

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