The recent pandemic has many people thinking about how to take more control over their health and wellbeing, not just for themselves but also for their families. It is common to feel overwhelmed when trying to implement new habits, but it is worth the effort! Over time healthier eating habits will be become second nature. As you start to feel healthier you will naturally gravitate to implementing even more healthy habits.
It is often hard to know where to start. With so much conflicting advice circulating about what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat, it’s understandable to feel confused about where to start when you have decided that now is your time to start eating healthier.
Here are some simple steps to get you started. Remember it is not an all or nothing approach to healthy eating. Baby steps are fine. If your aim is to evolve to a healthier diet then starting slow and making lasting changes is key to long term success!
Start with making simple swaps from less healthy foods to healthier options. Once you begin to feel the benefits of healthier eating such as more energy, better sleep maybe even weight loss you will feel motivated to continue to improve your diet.
Try these suggestions to start eating a healthier diet
1. Limit or eliminate processed foods
The farther away a food product is from its source the more processed it is, for instance a French fry is a far cry from the whole potato that came out of the ground. Highly processed food tends to have a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, most of which are about as far away from real food as you can get. Instead of reaching for that processed glucose syrup laden chocolate bar opt instead for organic dark chocolate and handful of raspberries. Fruit is an excellent option o combat sugar cravings.
2. Say no to sugary drinks
They offer no benefit to you and and tax your body with unnecessary sugar and empty calories. Instead opt for sparkling or plain water with a squeeze of lemon or lime in it. Cold green tea with lemon is also a nice alternative.
3. Add veggies to every meal
Veggies are power packed with nutrients and will sustain you with energy and fibre. Try adding spinach to your eggs or morning smoothie. Snack on carrot sticks and humous. Add a side salad to your lunch. Make veggies the largest part of your evening meal, instead of steak have a cauliflower steak, skip the pasta and use courgette noodles the options are endless. Remember to start slow and build up to your ideal diet!
4. Drink lots of water
Water keeps you hydrated and can offer a feeling of fullness. Often your body can misinterpret thirst for hunger. When a food craving strikes have a glass of water first and see if it subsides.
5. Limit your meat intake.
Opt to have meals without meat 4-5 times per week (there are many delicious options) This will not only stretch your food budget farther it can help to lower your cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss and may even make your skin glow!
Remember being healthy is a lifelong journey and your body’s nutritional needs will change over time (sometimes even day to day!) Listen to what your body is telling you (unless it is telling you to eat a whole bag of crisps for breakfast, lunch and dinner!) Your body is able to give you cues as to what it need to function well, learning to respond with healthy options to those cues will help reduce cravings for unhealthy food choices and make you feel healthier overall! You can do this!