Contrary to popular belief, improving your diet does not mean you have to do a complete food overhaul. There are simple ways to include the right foods while avoiding the less desirable ones each day. Incorporating simple habits into your life can make eating well a seamless part of existence.
Plan Your Off Meals
With the rare exception, no one is going to give up all sugar or fat. There are times you want to celebrate with a dessert or a decadent meal. This is fine as long as you plan these meals and stick to your plan.
Complete abstinence from unhealthy foods makes most people crave them more, but sitting down and planning when you will indulge gives you something to look forward to throughout the week. It can also motivate you to stick to your healthy eating on days you aren’t going to indulge.
Don’t commit to deprivation. Know when you have a treat meal coming and enjoy it without any guilt.
Shop the Edges
You may go to the grocery store with the best intentions and a detailed list. However, it’s easy to start putting items in your cart that you don’t need. To avoid the visual appeal of processed food, shop the edges of the store.
Most grocery stores are set up to house whole food products on the outside. Processed and packaged food tends to take up the middle of the store. Avoid the middle to help ensure the food that goes into your cart will be fresh. This usually means not roaming up and down aisles.
If you do need something specific from the middle of the store, know where it is located and get it without roaming. Those who have a major problem with impulse buying might be better off ordering groceries online to avoid the store altogether.
Replace Your Salt
Our bodies need salt, but they often don’t need as much as many people use. It’s also important to understand that our bodies crave more electrolytes than just sodium. That’s why choosing salt alternatives that offer more minerals than sodium alone is a great way to improve your diet.
These healthier salts still taste great and can replace regular salt in any recipe. They just offer your body more than massive amounts of sodium that can disrupt your system. This is an easy switch that can boost your health in a myriad of ways.
Eat from a Smaller Plate
No matter what you eat, portion control is key. That’s why you should choose a plate that is small or medium-sized instead of large. This will keep you from putting more food on your plate than you need to eat at one time.
You can also divide your plate into portions. Designate the largest portion for vegetables while the smallest will be for fattier, calorie-dense foods. This simple trick gives you a quick way to assess what you are eating and to keep your portions in line.
If you want to eat something sweet, don’t simply eat it from the container. For ice cream, choose a small bowl to hold your treat. If you crave chips, grab a bowl and pour some in there to enjoy. Eating straight out of the bag means you will be more likely to overeat.
There are a ton of good reasons to choose water, but most of us still don’t drink enough. Instead, we often reach for sugary drinks that add calories without really helping us hydrate. These drinks are also often full of caffeine and sugar, and that can lead to weight gain and health problems.
Choose water most of the time when you want something to drink. Keep a refillable bottle close so you can fill it up before leaving the house and sip from it all day. Make water your go-to choice, and keep it with you at all times so you don’t have to deliberate when deciding what to drink.
Drinking water can also keep you from snacking when you’re not really hungry. Try having a glass of water before you dig into a snack and see if you still feel hungry enough to eat when you’re finished.
Improve your diet by making simple changes you can stick to in the long run.