Eating healthy can be, at times, difficult. There are plenty of cheap, quick alternatives tempting us. Add in a busy schedule, and sometimes what’s more convenient often isn’t the best choice for our bodies.
As easy as it is to eat unhealthy, it’s becoming easier to eat healthy. The demand for organically grown and chemical-free alternatives is increasing, and support of local farmers and businesses seems to be growing stronger.
If you want make healthier choices but are struggling with the temptations of an unhealthy diet, here are a few tips to help make eating healthier a piece of…fruit.
1. Kick soda to the curb
Toss out the sodas and other sugary beverages in your refrigerator. Stuffed with sugar and empty calories, soda is bad for our bodies. Drink water instead. Water is critical for our health but often overlooked when it comes to proper nutrition.
When considering how much water to drink a day, there are many things that must considered. How active someone is, where they live, and the status of their health are all things that affect how much water we need. A general rule is to strive for eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day.
If you need a break from water because your palette needs something more refreshing, try drinking low-sugar, all-natural juices to mix it up.
Regardless of the substitutes you make, sodas should be viewed as a treat instead of an everyday necessity. It might take a slight adjustment period, but if you cut out the colas, you’ll soon realize that doing without isn’t that bad.
2. Replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones
The first step to making healthier choices is to narrow your options. Take a long look in your pantry and refrigerator. Identify your “snack” items, things like potato chips, cookies and other sweet treats. Toss them out and replace them with healthier options like fruits, carrots, low-fat yogurt, and unsalted nuts and popcorn.
Snacks are a good way to replenish nutrients between meals during the day, but if you have unhealthy snack choices, you’re doing more damage to your body than good.
3. Reduce snacking
Once you get healthier snack options in your pantry, try monitoring your snacking habits more closely.
Snacking is a natural habit we form when we’re bored or feel we need a little boost in the day, but excessive snacking can increase our daily calorie count and salt and sugar intakes. Awareness can be the key to nip snack attacks in the butt.
Try reading the labels for salt, fat, and calorie information. For example, a handful of almonds (15 or so) are roughly 170 calories. Two handfuls are 340 calories. By being aware of how many calories you’re consuming you are more prepared to make healthy snacking decisions. You just might think twice before grabbing another handful of nuts.
4. Go for fresh fruits and veggies instead of canned
Adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals is an important part of proper nutrition, but not all fruits and vegetables are equal. Canned fruits and vegetables have higher amounts of salt, sugar, and other unhealthy preservatives that negate the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
With the weather getting warmer, there are more opportunities to buy locally grown produce, and more grocery stores are featuring organic fruits and vegetables. The next time you’re grocery shopping, try visiting a farmer’s market. If you don’t have time, then sticking to the fresh produce aisle at the grocery store works, too.
No matter how you slice it fresh food is always better than processed when it comes to our bodies’ health.
5. Reduce the red meat
Red meat causes heart disease, high blood pressure and, in large amounts, has been linked to cancer. A good way to balance your nutrition is to reduce the amount of red meat you eat. Try fish or poultry instead.
If you are having red meat more than once or twice a week, you are eating too much red meat. Look at your nightly menu and swap out red meat for healthier protein options.
If red meat is one of your guilty pleasures, try managing your menu around red meat. Make other choices throughout the week then reward yourself one night at the end of the week.
Red meat is like dessert for some, and it should be treated at such.
Proper nutrition is an important part of our health and welfare. Making a few positive changes to our eating habits can mean more energy, less illness, and all around better lives.