Eating well is one of the most important things you can do for yourself: it nourishes your body so that it can function properly, helps you ward off preventable illnesses, and promotes an unmatchable feeling of energy and wellbeing. Healthy eating can sometimes be complicated, but it is something that you can work on gradually, implementing small steps here and there. Here are some simple ideas to keep in mind:
Begin your day by drinking a tall glass of water to rehydrate your body after sleep and to set the tone for the rest of your daily routine. It helps your body flush out toxins, increases your metabolic rate, and makes you feel less hungry, besides improving your complexion and your hair. Don’t forget to keep drinking water throughout the day to reap these benefits.
We often underestimate the amounts of food we eat, and what seems like a normal serving can be actually twice as much as the recommended portion size. Don’t fill your plates to the brim and try to use smaller dishware at home. If you feel full at a certain point during your meal, remember that it’s completely ok to stop and save some of it for later.
Unless you have a specific health condition, it isn’t necessary to eliminate any food or food group from your diet. Outright banning certain foods makes them “forbidden” and, therefore, more tempting. If you reframe that thought, and see it as something that you choose not to eat instead of something that you can’t eat, you’re much more likely to stick with your plan.
Although you shouldn’t consume them in excess, fats are an essential part of your diet: they’re necessary for your body to absorb some vitamins, and unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 play an important role in the development and maintenance of your nervous and cardiovascular systems, besides lowering inflammation. You can find those in fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil.
Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet by preparing your meals with more herbs and spices and less salt. It will give you some fresh variety both in taste and in nutrient content – healthy food doesn’t have to be bland at all! Stronger flavors also make you feel satisfied more quickly.
Most fruits and nuts are the perfect snack: they’re already separated into manageable servings, and they’re chock-full of vitamins and minerals. Use them instead of high-calorie prepackaged snacks and keep those as a less frequent treat – or make homemade versions with less fat and sodium, like oven-baked potato chips, for example.
Surrounding yourself with people who are also focused on a healthy lifestyle is a great way to encourage and support each other. This is especially important if you feel peer-pressured to make unhealthy choices at home, at work, or at other social settings. It’s also good to stay in the loop and follow motivating fitness and health accounts online for some inspiration to stay on track.
Dr. Patricia M.D.