Tips for Healthy Eating and Nutrition
The level of choice that we are given to when choosing what to consume is staggering in the modern age. More and more we're overloaded with options, and sometimes items that appear to be health foods with great nutritional value are actually sugar and preservative loaded junk foods that won't do much for your healthy eating efforts. Thankfully, in order to eat more healthily the first few steps are very basic, and you'll soon get into a routine of eating more healthily, controlling your diet and improving your nutrition habits. This will make you feel so much better in your day to day life!
So without further ado, let's get on with four steps to eating more healthily...
1. Take control of your cupboards
Most of us will know from personal experience that the vast majority of us humans are prone to temptation. The chocolate bar sat in the cupboard, the packet of crisps just waiting to be eaten. The first step for anyone attempting to eat more healthily and improve their diet is to banish this temptation from their kitchen (or bedroom, bathroom...wherever your chocolate stash is hidden). This starts when buying food at the supermarket. A number of tips are applicable here:
- Never go shopping on an empty stomach! This makes you far more prone to temptation.
- Write a list before you go to the supermarket. This both saves you time and saves you from reaching for the ice cream.
- Buy as fresh produce as possible. This will have a far higher nutrition value than frozen foods.
Removing the possibility of eating the foods that you want to cut out will go a long way to helping you get them out of your diet. After all, you're not likely to make a midnight trip to the supermarket when you get a late night craving! Fill your cupboards with fresh, nutritious food and you'll be surprised how quickly the healthy eating habit develops.
2. Learn the Basics and Cook in Bulk
It's easy to slip into a microwave meal/take out routine of eating, especially when working the 9-5 or longer. However, for many people cooking their own meals can become not only a health benefit, but also a great hobby and relaxation technique as well. Once you learn the basics of cooking a meal, it becomes a lot less time consuming to produce and enjoy healthy, home cooked meals that will impress your guests and yourself.
If you've never cooked before, start by doing the basics. There are plenty of beginners cookbooks out there, many that focus on healthy eating. One that is very popular currently is The Hairy Dieters Eat for Life. This book and others like it are filled with simple, healthy recipes that will teach you the basics of cooking in a number of different styles without taking up too much of your money or your time.
Cooking in bulk is a good idea if you lead a busy life. While freezing food will reduce the nutritional value of what you're eating, it's no great sin to freeze a pasta sauce, soup etc. and heat it back up for a quick meal at a later date. Just make sure you fully de-frost the meal before you eat it! Cooking in bulk can save you time and money and allows you to eat a quick, healthy meal when you just don't feel like cooking. All in all, these tips can actually save you money over regular take outs - healthy eating doesn't have to break the bank!
3. Learn your stuff
There's a wealth of information out there about cooking, nutrition and healthy eating, making it very easy to learn the basics about fuelling your body. Plenty of information can be found by just punching "Basic Nutrition", "Healthy Eating" or "Healthy Recipes" into Google, but for something a bit different check out some of these blogs (just google the names): Choosing Raw, Green Kitchen Stories, Nom Nom Paleo or Naturally Ella.
Learning about the food that you're putting into your body can be extremely beneficial in the fact that it both makes you think twice about stocking up and eating unhealthy foods, but it also allows you to spot when you're being fooled by clever marketing. There are a number of misconceptions surrounding food and diet, and of course people both medically trained and otherwise will have different opinions on certain topics. However, it's all about finding what works for you, the foods you enjoy eating and how you best keep on track, using as much as they information that's out there.
4. Don't give up
When you're starting out on the journey to healthier eating and a more nutritious diet, it can and will seem extremely difficult. If you're trying to cut down on the quantity of food or sugar that you are eating, your body will likely go through a difficult time trying to adjust. So take it slowly, gradually reduce the amount you are eating and above all don't give up! You'll be surprised how quickly you can build the habits which will last for a lifetime.
It's important at this point to focus on the benefits you're receiving. If you stick to a fresh, nutritious diet you'll begin to reap the benefits in terms of energy and general well-being in a matter of weeks. The first "You're looking great!" comment will make the few weeks of adjusting 100% worth it, as will the improvement in how you're feeling.
If you're ever feeling low and struggling, remind yourself of your goals and why you're doing this - hopefully to look and feel great! Talk to your family and friends for support and utilise online resources such as the ones linked to above to find your inspiration and motivation when you need it most.
Best wishes on your journey to eating more healthily, I hope this article has been useful to you!