Transforming your eating habits can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. A common mistake people make is doing the “cold turkey” diet or restricting themselves from foods they enjoy to reach their goals. However, this is often unsustainable and overwhelming. Maintaining a balanced diet is important for keeping your body healthy, but you don't have to do it all overnight.
If you want to start eating better, taking small steps is much more manageable. We've created a list of ideas that can help you implement a healthier lifestyle. You can try as many of these tips as you want or introduce one at a time to let yourself adjust.
13 Tips for Eating Healthy
If you and your family want to focus on healthy eating, you don't need to throw out everything in your fridge and start over. With these practical tips, you can learn how to maintain a healthy diet sooner than you think.
1. Eat a Colorful Diet
For some people, the key to sticking to a balanced diet is visualization. Check that there's a good variety of colors next time you fill your plate for dinner! For example, instead of just eating chicken and rice, choose a colorful vegetable to add to your plate.
Red peppers, broccoli, sweet potato or zucchini are easy to dice up and roast in a skillet. Using the color test is a good way to eat healthy and gauge if you're getting essential vitamins and nutrients.
2. Reduce Sodium
Most Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day, which is more than double the established Guidelines for Adequate Intakes (AI) of sodium — 1,500mg. Too much sodium can have detrimental effects on our health, including heart disease and high blood pressure. Prepackaged, frozen and processed foods tend to have the highest amounts of sodium.
Cooking fresh meals at home, using no-salt spice blends or flavoring your meals with herbs and lemon juice can help you reduce your sodium intake.
3. Implement More Fiber
Most people in the United States don't have enough fiber in their diet. Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy gut and reducing your risk of certain conditions. You can add more fiber to your diet with fruits, leafy greens, whole grains, avocados, beans, potatoes and nuts. Popcorn is a great source of whole-grain fiber and a delicious snack all in one!
4. Replace Saturated Fats
Next time you look for ingredients on a label, remember that unsaturated fats are “healthy” fats, while saturated fats are not so healthy in excess. Saturated fat is commonly found in fatty meats and dairy items like cheese, cream and butter. Choosing leaner cuts of meat or using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. You can also find healthier alternatives to saturated fats in avocados, nuts and coconut products.
5. Limit Added Sugars
It goes without saying that excessive sugar in your diet can lead to a wide range of health problems, including obesity and certain types of cancer. It's fine to indulge your sweet tooth every now and then, but try to be intentional with sugary items.
For example, if you love to drink soda, try swapping it out for flavored sparkling water or unsweetened drinks. Try dark chocolate or fruit with Greek yogurt for added protein if you're prone to snacking on candy
6. Increase Potassium
Potassium is an essential nutrient that improves the function of our nerves and muscles and helps our bodies maintain optimal fluid levels. Bananas, beans, tomatoes, yogurt, spinach and dried raisins all contain high amounts of potassium.
Potassium is also known to help balance sodium intake, as high levels of potassium can help excrete sodium and decrease blood pressure. Next time you season your food with salt, try adding a potassium-rich food to maintain a healthy diet!
7. Introduce More Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are two essential nutrients that work together to maintain bone health, among other functions. Foods high in calcium include plain Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, spinach, kale, salmon and 100% orange juice.
Other than getting your daily dose of sunshine, it's a bit more challenging to find high amounts of vitamin D in everyday foods. You can add more to your diet by eating various types of fish, egg yolks and mushrooms. You can also take vitamin D supplements.
8. Eat More Fish
Adding fish to your diet can provide a variety of health benefits, including anti-inflammation properties and protection against bacterial infections. Oily fish, including trout, salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel, are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids can potentially lower your risk for arthritis, heart disease, cancer and dementia.
In fact, swapping out red meat for fish as your main protein can reduce your daily calories and intake of unhealthy fats.
9. Get Active
Being physically active can significantly impact your diet. Exercise has been proven to improve our moods and decrease stress and anxiety. It's easy to turn to your favorite comfort foods when you're stressed, which can steer you away from your healthy lifestyle goals. Implementing at least 30 minutes of light exercise, such as walking, into your day can help you stay on track.
10. Drink Plenty of Water
Proper hydration helps our bodies get rid of waste, maintain a healthy temperature and lubricate our joints. Staying hydrated can also help you feel full and satisfied, making you much less likely to binge on snacks throughout the day.
As a general rule, aim to drink about four to six cups of water daily, depending on your weight and lifestyle. Carrying a water bottle with you on the go can help you stay on track.
11. Make Sure to Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast has been associated with a higher risk for obesity, strokes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Not eating breakfast can also leave you ravenous by the time lunch rolls around, where you'll be much more likely to grab something unhealthy like fast food.
Try making a quick fruit smoothie to go or prepping some whole-grain overnight oats if you're short on time in the mornings.
12. Eat Slower
Eating at a fast pace can cause you to get full before your brain can perceive that you're full. If you're a fast eater, you may be consuming more calories without ever realizing it. Eating more slowly and chewing thoroughly can help you avoid overindulging. Bonus tip — avoid watching screens while eating, including on your TV or phone. A study found that children who eat in front of screens are more prone to overeating.
13. Use a Meal Delivery Service
Depending on your schedule and lifestyle, sticking to a certain diet can be extremely difficult. A meal delivery service could be right for you if you struggle to come up with healthy recipes or never seem to have the time or energy to cook. A meal subscription service offers the convenience you desire while providing all the high-quality, delicious ingredients you need!
Stick to a Balanced Diet With Fresh Meal Plan
Nutrition is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As a premium meal kit delivery service, Fresh Meal Plan offers quick, flavorful meals delivered to you. Choose from hundreds of menu options, including keto and vegan diets, that fit your needs. Instead of spending hours grocery shopping, prepping and cooking, you can enjoy a nourishing meal ready in three minutes or less.