It’s no secret that clean eating provides health benefits and maintains the intricate workings of our bodies. While important, healthy diets are not easy to sustain and can often feel overwhelming. To alleviate the burden, we’ve broken down the most important steps you can take today to easily integrate healthy eating into your lifestyle.
#1 Pump the breaks
Did you know that the speed at which you eat can influence your weight? Now you do, and you can remove marathon eating from your list of food-related mistakes. Research shows that fast eaters are more likely to be obese than their slow eater counterparts. This is due to the fact that slow eaters not only chew their food more, but also consume fewer calories because they’re more in tune with their body’s satiety signals. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to sense that you are full, so slow down and enjoy every bite.
#2 Learn to love Greek yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt contains up to 3 times more protein than regular yogurt, is higher in fat, and has fewer carbs. Its generous amounts of protein will help you feel satisfied longer, meaning you’ll have better control of your appetite and likely consume fewer calories throughout the day. So, next time you need a little afternoon snack, go for the Greek.
#3 Stick to your shopping list
Impulse purchases are real and supermarkets know how to prey on your weaknesses. Going grocery shopping without a list is dangerous, and going to the store hungry adds fuel to the fire. Plan what you need ahead of time, on a full stomach, and stick to your list as you shop. Not only will you buy healthier items, but you’ll also save money by avoiding those tempting extras.
Make a conscious effort to drink water instead of soda, juices, and other alternatives. Thirst is often confused for hunger, so reaching for a glass of water before you opt for food may help you avoid consuming unnecessary calories. In fact, some studies suggest that people who drink mostly water consume fewer calories per day.
#5 Ditch the grill
Preparing your food is a big factor in how it affects your health. Logically, grilled chicken and fried chicken offer different nutritional values. Because of this, grilling, broiling, deep-frying, and frying should be avoided. Methods like baking, poaching, stewing, pressure cooking, and simmering are among the healthiest.
#6 Find alternatives
Implementing healthy diet changes doesn’t have to mean leaving your favorite foods behind. There are many healthy alternatives to popular foods that don’t come with the unhealthy side effects. You may be surprised to experience how satisfying these substitutes are, and will likely enjoy them even more with time.
#7 Prioritize your food
Eating your greens before other components of a meal is a surefire way to ensure you get ample nutrition, and don’t fill up on less healthy food items. Making this part of your routine may help you eat fewer calories throughout the meal, and healthier calories overall.
#8 Skip the juices
Many fruit juices are not made from real fruit. Rather, often they’re made from concentrate with added sugars that don’t offer the fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that real fruit does. It’s not uncommon for fruit juices to have as much sugar as soft drinks, so stick to the real deal.
#9 Ask for sauces and dressings on the side
A bowl full of veggies and protein is an ideal healthful meal. However, salad dressings aren’t always light in calories, and some can drive your salad’s calorie count even higher than other menu items. By ordering your dressing on the side, you can control the portion size you consume and limit your caloric intake.
#10 Forget the frills
Some foods are healthy, until we add sugar, syrup, cream, and sweetener. Yes, we’re talking about coffee and we may be about to crush your spirits. Black coffee is considered healthy and even offers many benefits. The additives that make your favorite drink taste like dessert can negate coffee’s benefits, leaving you left to consume an unhealthy, high-calorie drink. So, take it black and leave the unicorn lattes in the past.
Plate size is a major determiner in how much food you serve yourself, and ultimately eat. A bigger plate makes your portion appear smaller, while a smaller plate makes it look bigger. Studies have shown that people eat an average of 30% more when their food is served on a large plate. Looks like it may be time to invest in some new kitchenware.