Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about physical fitness. In fact, most health experts agree that diet and nutrition are the most important factors in your fitness journey.
I’m sure you already know that healthy eating habits are important to your overall wellbeing. But putting that knowledge into practice can be harder than it sounds. We might know that clean eating is best, but on busy nights in between the kids’ t-ball practice and ballet lessons, it can be tough to make that clean eating a reality.
Here’s the good news: Even small changes in your diet can have a significant impact on your overall health. So don’t go overhauling your entire meal plan. Just try incorporating these tips this week.
5 Small Steps to a Healthy Eating
The USDA recommends filling half of your plate with high-quality fruits and vegetables at every meal. While many diets restrict fruits and “sweet” veggies, all fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy lifestyle.
Fruits and vegetables provide vital vitamins and fiber to keep your body healthy. And the more colors you add to your plate, the more nutrients you’re ingesting. So pick your favorites, keep them on hand and pre-washed, and fill up half your plate every time you eat.
Tired of boring fruit and veggie options? Check out this website for more than 200 recipe ideas. There are even some options to sneak healthy foods into your picky child’s meal.
Healthy eating habits aren’t just about food. If you’re hooked on sugary sodas, energy drinks, or other high-carb beverages, you’re ingesting lots of empty calories every day.
Think about how many calories you’re drinking every day. That fancy flavored coffeehouse latte? Upwards of 400 calories if made with whole milk. Your mid-day soda? 150 calories. Your morning glass of orange juice? About 160 calories.
You get the point. The drinks we ingest throughout the day add up to a lot of extra sugar. Instead, replace at least one drink a day with a tall glass of water. Not only will you be saving yourself some serious calories, but you’ll also be giving your body what it desperately needs.
Switching from whole milk products to low-fat or skim is an easy way to reduce the fat content in your diet. And this switch is particularly easy because you and your family probably won’t even notice the difference.
Dairy is important to your diet, and it’s especially important for growing children. Milk, yogurt, and cheese contain lots of calcium, protein, and Vitamin D, among other nutrients. But milk also contains high amounts of saturated fat. Low-fat substitutions allow you to still enjoy all the benefits of dairy without risking your heart health.
Just a few small substitutions can make a big difference in your overall fat intake.
- Swap 1% milk for whole. You might even consider skim milk as an option!
- Substitute low-fat plain yogurt for sour cream.
- Choose low-fat cottage cheese high-fat yogurts or cream cheeses.
- Want to get away from dairy products altogether? Try almond milk, oat milk, or other non-dairy products on the market.
This week, swap at least half of your grains for whole-grain products. Heavily processed grains, like white bread or white rice, lack the nutrients found in their whole-grain counterparts. So when you’re choosing what to eat this week, look for healthier options:
Integrating whole grains is an easy way to create healthy eating habits without sacrificing taste. In fact, many whole-grain options are even more delicious than their heavily-processed alternatives.
One of the easiest habits for weight loss is simply ingesting less. If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting back on calories is key. And the simplest way to do that is to visually separate your food.
The next time you’re at a restaurant or served a meal at home, separate your portion in half. This visual cue helps you to recognize which portion you’ll eat now, and which you’ll save for later. By physically splitting the meal into two parts, you’ll know when it’s time to stop. And you’ll be eating 50% fewer calories than you would have otherwise.
The road to health starts with small steps. Try integrating these healthy eating habits into your diet this week. We think you’ll notice a difference in the way you feel.
Until next time, take care of yourself and one another.