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Though many of us are convinced that we’re eating well, most of us could afford to improve our diets in a number of ways. Those of us who eat large servings of food, for instance, may be accidentally overshoot our daily caloric goals. Some of us may struggle with snacking or binge eating.
Making a few simple changes to your diet, however, can drastically improve your health, leading to improved mood, increased energy, healthier skin, and stress-free weight loss. Follow these simple tips to improve your diet for the better!
Your taste buds are particularly receptive to different flavors during the first few bites of a meal. Take a small bite of food and briefly allow it to sit on your tongue. Savor the intensity of the flavors. Continue to pace yourself throughout your meal. It takes the brain roughly 20 minutes to process the fullness of the stomach. By enjoying your meal over the course of at least 15 minutes, you’ll be less likely to overeat, ultimately resulting in better health.
Enjoy Smaller Portions of Certain Dishes
You don’t need to eliminate your favorite foods from your diet to be healthy. Instead, focus on simply reducing your portion sizes. Instead of eating a large cut of steak, serve a smaller filet alongside a large salad, some quinoa, and a bowl of fruit. Rather than making pasta your main course, enjoy it as a side dish to salmon and grilled vegetables. Research indicates that we eat roughly the same weight of food each day, regardless of which food group it comes from. Opting for more fruits and vegetables will therefore help you reduce your caloric intake while keeping your full throughout the day.
For portion control on the go, ask restaurant servers to package half of your meal as carry-out before it arrives. In this way, you can enjoy your food while spreading a calorie-dense meal across two days.
Opt for an Extra-Healthy Lunch
Changing your lunchtime habits is one of the most effective ways to improve your diet. By treating yourself to a filling breakfast like eggs or oatmeal, you’ll be less ravenous at noon. You can then opt for a light and healthy lunch, such as a huge salad with homemade dressing. Eat a bean salad, hard-boiled egg, or a handful of nuts to provide your body with the protein it needs. Round off your meal with a fruit of your choice. By consuming an extra-healthy lunch, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a more indulgent dinner of your choice.
Grab a Large Water Bottle
Drinking water fills up the stomach, reducing hunger. Most of us aren’t drinking our recommended 64 ounces (roughly 2 liters) of water daily to begin with. To make things easy for yourself, invest in a water bottle that holds 32 ounces (1 liter) of water or more. By doings so, you’ll only have to refill your water bottle once during the day. By keeping your water alongside you and drinking up to 16 ounces (0.5 liter) before each meal, you can prevent weight gain while properly hydrating your body.
Pack Smart Snacks
Regularly grabbing snacks from vending machines or local cafés can easily ruin an otherwise-healthy diet. By packing healthy snacks, you can prevent yourself from falling prey to processed treats. Pack some chopped fruits or vegetables in a plastic container and take it to work. Fill up a few plastic bags with nuts, veggie chips, or healthy homemade popcorn and tuck them in your car for combatting on-the-go hunger pangs. Tuck a Greek yogurt or cheese stick in your bag for a mid-morning pick-me-up. By opting for healthier snacks, you can reach your daily nutrient goals while reducing your overall caloric intake.
Crunch Those Numbers
Though calorie-counting is a pesky chore, it remains one of the best ways to boost awareness of daily food consumption. Apps like MyFitnessPal make it easier than ever to track calories and lose weight. Simply look up the foods you’re eating or scan barcodes to access nutritional information. Type in your serving size and save each item to calculate the nutritional value of your meals. Use a pedometer app or fitness tracking device to calculate the calories you’re burning throughout the day, too. Even if you only count calories for one week, you’ll gain a much deeper understanding of your daily caloric intake and the potential “problem foods” in your diet.
Prepare Meals in Advance
Planning your meals ahead of time is a smart and cost-effective way to structure your weekly dining options. Before you go grocery shopping, select three or four dinners to make for the week. Think about the produce and protein options you may wish to include in your lunches. Prepare quantities of food that will last for more than a single day. On Sunday, set aside some time to cut up vegetables, cook grains, and make your first large meal of the week. If you have a busy schedule ahead of you, prepare additional meals and freeze them. In this way, you’ll have fast, healthy meals available to you throughout the week. Instead of grabbing a salty snack from the pantry, simply pull a pre-made meal out of the fridge and enjoy!
Allow Yourself to Eat Anything You Want
A healthy but restrictive diet can lead to hunger, frustration, and binging. Don’t put corn chips or cake on an “off-limits” list! Instead, enjoy these treats in moderation. If you’re prone to feeling guilty for your indulgences, take a few long walks to burn off the extra calories you’ve consumed. If you eat a healthy diet with reasonable portions on a daily basis, you can afford to indulge in french fries or a slice of pizza during the week.
You don’t have to eat plain celery for lunch every day to maintain a healthy diet! By planning your meals, eating reasonable portions, staying hydrated, and pacing yourself, you can stay fit while enjoying the foods you’ve always loved.
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