What we eat has a large effect on our health. It may not seem like much to eat junk food or even just food that’s relatively low-nutrition today, but the food choices you make today repeated day after day could turn into weeks, months, and years of eating low nutrition food. By not feeding your body nutritious food, you are shortchanging yourself and lowering your quality of life.
Improving your health begins with noticing what you eat and changing these food bit by bit to more nutritious and beneficial alternatives. So if you’re serious about learning how to eat healthier, make the first small change today and read the rest of this article.
The Right Way to Start Eating Healthier
There are many ways to eat healthier but if you try to do everything all at once, you will often find yourself unable to stick to the plan because it’s too difficult to make so many changes at one go. Often, it will seem much easier just to get back into the habit of eating what you have been used to.
The trick to eating healthy and incorporating it permanently into your life is to make small, sustainable changes that will stick, and to keep adding on to these changes and the sum of all these tiny changes will eventually turn into a composite of healthy eating habits. Here are some ways you can eat healthier.
How to eat healthier #1 - Eat more fruits
Fruits and vegetables include large amounts of vitamins and minerals that nothing else can compete with. Every day, we should aim to eat at least 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables - at least that's what the American Heart Association recommends. However, if you were to force yourself to consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables where previously you did not even have fruits in your diet, you are setting up yourself to fail. Try adding one or two pieces of fruit that you like into your diet at first.
Bananas, for example, can be easily added on to any meal. You don’t even have to prepare it, just twist a banana off the bunch, peel the skin off, and you have an instant healthy food packed full of vitamins and minerals. Don’t wait till the end of the meal to eat a banana. Try having it at the beginning of your meal so you eat less of other food that may not be as healthy.
How to eat healthier #2 - Eat more green leafy vegetables
I specified green and leafy because some people will try to pass off potatoes as vegetables. Technically, they are, but they’re just not as good as green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale. Like fruits, vegetables are a powerhouse of vitamin and minerals. However, unlike fruits, vegetables are usually less pleasant to consume and many people have an aversion to vegetables since they were kids.
A way to get around this is to add vegetables in small amounts to fruit smoothies so that their tastes are unnoticeable. I find that a handful of any green, leafy vegetables and two bananas make a great smoothie without a strong veggie taste. Experiment with different fruit and vegetable combinations that taste good to you.
How to eat healthier #3 - Drink more water
This may not seem like a big deal but drinking more water actually makes you healthier. A lot of people don’t drink enough water or don’t even notice they need water until they are really thirsty. By that time, they’ll already be dehydrated and that is not good for the body.
I used to forget about drinking water and it made my skin dry and gave me constipation. Nowadays, I put a bottle of water beside me so whenever I am thirsty, I’ll just grab the bottle and drink. Having the water in an accessible and visible way makes me notice my thirst more than it would have if I didn’t have it where I could see it.
Instead of reaching for that can of sugar-loaded soft drink, have a bottle of water by your side and drink from it instead. By drinking more water, you are automatically reducing the amount of other unhealthy beverages that you will consume and the extra empty calories that come with them.
How to eat healthier #4 - Eat fermented foods
Our gut is populated by trillions of bacteria that keep us healthy and may even boost our immune function. By consuming fermented food loaded with lots of healthy bacteria or yeasts, you are giving your gut flora a much needed boost. People today take too much antibiotics and although it kills of the bad microbes, it also destroys any good bacteria in your gut. Eating fermented food may help restore some of the good bacteria.
It’s really easy to add probiotics to your diet. Yogurt, kefir, miso and sauerkraut are examples of some delicious probiotic food you can try although yogurt would probably be the easiest to start with.
How to eat healthier #5 - Eat seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts are another great way to make your diet healthier. Seeds and nuts not only make great snacks but are nutrient dense foods packed with plenty of vitamins and trace minerals. It’s easy to add seeds and nuts to your diet. For example, you could sprinkle ground flaxseed on almost anything that you’re eating. If you have a habit of snacking when you’re watching television or doing certain activities, why not replace the snack with a packet of nuts. You’ll be doing your body a huge service by eating nuts instead of potato chips.
How to eat healthier #6 - Eat more fish
Fish is a good way to add more nutrients to your diet. They are a good source of vitamin B12 and high in iron. Iron is an important component of our diet and keeps hair, skin and nails as well as red blood cells healthy. Many women are low in iron without knowing it.
Fish such as cod, sardine, and salmon are also high in omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your brain, nerves and eyes.
Eat healthier for the long term
By adding these delicious and easy to obtain foods to your diet bit by bit, you’ll eventually have a diet that’s healthy and beneficial to your body. Because you are eating so many nutrient-densefood, there probably won’t be a lot of space left for you to take in the junk. Remember, it’s not about replacing all of your diet at once. What you really want are long term changes and it’s important to make these changes bit by bit so they will continue to stick.