We know that changing your eating habits can be hard. We've been conditioned to believe that eating healthy means eating boring, tasteless food or adhering to grueling diets that take all the enjoyment out of mealtime.
Truth is, you can have your cake and eat it too, sort of. You can take great strides in your healthy eating journey; you just need to focus on making small changes.
Healthy eating can be easy, affordable, and most importantly, delicious. It’s all about making smart choices that help promote a healthy dietary routine. Experts suggest that making healthy eating habits a part of daily life is a much more effective way of reaching your health goals than following.
To start your journey, you have to figure out what your bad habits are and find healthy alternatives. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you along.
Keep a food journal
Write down what you eat and drink every day. Keeping track of your food intake is a great way to identify your healthy and unhealthy dietary choices and help you make changes. In your food journal, you should include the specific amount of food that you ate, the time of day that you had it, and of how you feel before and after you eat. All of these are important in identifying your eating pattern as well as being extremely useful in helping you find healthy alternatives in your dietary plan.
Most experts recommend drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. Drinking enough water improves the body’s ability to break down food, which is essential to having a well-functioning digestive system.
Avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks because they are high in calories and are bad for your teeth. Even unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are high in sugar so avoid those as well. Healthy alternatives to these include low-fat milk, tea, and coffee; however, these should be taken in moderation. Your drinks total for these alternative juices should not exceed a total of 150ml per day, which is a small glass. Remember to drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.
Set SMART Goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Your health goals need to be specific and realistically attainable, so start small and work your way to bigger achievements. When you set goals, you have a source of motivation that you can return to again and again as well as being able to track the progress that you have made.
Try to set realistic goals. They could be finding healthy alternatives to your diet or walking daily. Remember to celebrate each small goal met.
Now that you've assessed your eating habits and set measurable goals for yourself, it’s time to go shopping! Below is a list of 7 foods to avoid and to look out for.
Foods to Avoid:
- Sugary Drinks
- White Bread
- Candy Bars
- Pastries, Cookies, and Cakes
- Ice Cream
- Foods High in Added Sugar (Check the label)
- Processed Food
Foods to Look Out For:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish (preferably oily fish with omega-3 fatty acids)
- Skinless poultry and lean animal proteins
- Plant-based proteins
The key to healthy eating is simple, be aware of what you are putting inside your body (always read the label) and don't over indulge. Good nutrition doesn’t come in a pill or a smoothie. Try eating a variety of foods instead as your body benefits most from healthy eating and staying hydrated. If you are unsure of what you are eating, ask your doctor or a nutritionist.