Eating healthier meals can be tough especially if two of your four major food groups are take-out and delivery. Now, for whatever the reason, you just might be looking for ways to eat healthier. You understand that processed food, fast food, energy drinks, and sodas are not all that good for you.
You have heard the many statistics that doom you to a shorter life filled with sickness and disease. This is what’s in store for you if you continue to skip the fresh produce instead of the fast food.
5 Tips for Eating Healthier Meals
The following best practices lead to the development of healthy eating habits. At first, you may have to make a conscious effort to eat healthy. Follow these proven tips for eating healthier meals regularly.
Not All Carbohydrates Are Evil
There are eating plans like the ketogenic diet that tell you carbohydrates are out to get you. This is not true. The problem is that people eat the wrong types of carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are quickly processed by your body and stored as fat. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates take a lot longer to be processed then used as energy. These carbohydrates are found in natural foods like whole grains and vegetables.
Simple carbohydrates have little to no nutritional value and eating too many can lead to overweight and obesity. This leads to a much higher risk of developing any number of diseases. These include diabetes, some cancers, and a list of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, and stroke.
Eat complex carbohydrates; those found in fresh and natural nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Avoid simple carbohydrates found in baked goods, sugar, white flour, sodas, and energy drinks.
Eat More Fiber
What are some healthy high-fiber foods? Natural foods high in fiber include beans and lentils, pears, broccoli, peas, berries, and artichokes. Dietary fiber attaches to waste products in your system. This helps cleanse your body of toxins and other harmful compounds and components. High-fiber foods also help regulate your blood sugar level, while simultaneously improving your digestion and promoting weight loss.
Read “15 Whole Grains High in Fiber” for more information about healthy grains you should consider when you start eating healthier meals.
Drink Lots of Water Daily
You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it many more times. We cannot talk about eating healthy and not mention how important water is to your system and overall good health.
Humans can survive for more than 30 days without consuming any food. However, after just a couple of days of not drinking any water, a multitude of health problems appear.
You need to consume about a half- gallon (64 oz.) of water each day. This is above and beyond the liquid in the foods you eat and the water in the beverages you drink. That’s the general consensus. However, everybody is different and has different requirements.
If you don’t want to do the math, you can use this handy Water Intake Calculator.
You also need to drink a lot of water to keep your brain healthy. Additionally, drinking water throughout the day keeps you feeling full so you don’t overeat. Water is also an extremely efficient detoxing agent.
In any case, keep in mind the properly hydrated body is a healthy body.
Liven Up Your Plate with Color
Eating healthy means you need to get a wide range of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins into your body. Generally speaking, you can do this by eating the colors of the rainbow; well, most of them. No, this doesn’t mean you can choose multiple processed foods that are different colors.
Focus on raw and minimally cooked vegetables and fruits (organic if possible), and think color variety. Choose dark green, orange, yellow, and red colored natural foods. This is a good way to start eating healthier.
Understand the Layout of Your Grocery Store
This might sound ridiculous, but bear with me. If you focus on the outer aisles of your grocery store or supermarket, you’ll speed your way to healthier eating. In the outer aisles you will find produce, dairy, and meat products.
You will find most of the highly processed foods are located in the interior aisles. So, stick to the outer aisles when shopping for groceries. Of course, you can also find bakery goods in the outer aisles; put your blinders on when you pass by. 🙂
This tidbit of information can actually save you time and money. You won’t waste time looking for what you need and won’t be tempted to spend money on what you don’t.
Avoid Temptation When You Start Eating Healthier Meals
Making the decision to start eating healthier meals is easy. Unfortunately, sticking to the game plan… not so much. In the beginning, you’re going to find yourself tempted by everything you were eating that’s not healthy for you. It’s going to be a struggle but you need to resist the temptation.
The good news is your body shortly becomes acclimated to your healthy eating plan. As this process takes place, you’ll experience fewer cravings for the “junk food” you gave up.
Now you may be wondering why this is the case. Well, for one thing, you won’t be eating the sugar found in processed foods. As you know by now, sugar is found in most processed foods, and sugar is addictive. So by eating healthier meals, you are breaking that addiction.
Eating healthier meals will drastically reduce the “temptation” factor. That doesn’t mean temptation will never rear its ugly head. Of course you’ll be tempted and you’ll “fall off the wagon.”
One trick you can try is to drink a glass of water before you place your order for delivery. Yes, I said the dreaded “w” word again. Give it a try; you just may be surprised to discover you didn’t really want that Big Mac after all. You might be confusing your body. It may only be thirsty, not hungry.
But, if drinking water (or other beverage) doesn’t do the trick, then “treat” yourself to whatever it is you’re craving. Just be smart about it; don’t go overboard. Do you really need 2 banana splits to satisfy your cravings… seriously?
Are you sure you really need to chow down on burgers, fries, and Pepsi to make you feel better? Think about how you’re undoing all the progress you’ve made before you make a run to the drive-through window.
Eat more fiber – Learn to love vegetables
Drink more water – Water is good; fizz it up if you have to
Eat more color – Make your own happy meals
Get to know the layout of your favorite grocery store or supermarket – Make grocery shopping easy. Also, save time and money.
Avoid temptation – Think beyond the moment. Sure, you can pick up a $2.00 heart attack-in-a-sack from any number of fast food chains. But is that what you really want to do?
You need to eat smarter, starting now. You know eating healthier meals is the right thing to do if you primarily eat fast food or fast delivery. Over time your conscious efforts will turn into unconscious and automatic habits that deliver multiple health rewards.