Easy Ways to Kick-Start a New Healthy Eating Lifestyle
is a huge amount of sometimes conflicting, often confusing, nutrition and diet
information available. Therefore, its very understandable when people become
discouraged about selecting an eating plan for themselves. Even scientific studies
often contradict each other. How can we figure out how best to eat for overall
health or weight loss?
can focus on the basics. Unless youre going to follow a strict diet that
restricts or eliminates certain food groups (which should be carefully studied
prior to starting), you can begin by striving for balance in your diet. Below
are some common-sense guidelines that you can use to identify what kind of an
eating plan works best for your lifestyle and your body.
- Start drinking more water. Most experts recommend eight (8-ounce) glasses per
day. The easiest way to do this is to spread out your water intake throughout
the day and use containers that will help you keep track how much you drink. If
you arent drinking much water currently, try easing into it. You can add
one cup every few days until you reach 8 or more per day.
- Strive to eat 1-2 servings of fruits or vegetables at each meal or snack. This
will add up to several servings a day which is recommended for optimal nutrition.
Switch to whole grains. Go for the healthier whole grains in breads, pasta, tortillas,
and cereals. Also eat brown rice instead of white. Youll be taking in more
beneficial fiber and gaining all the other benefits of whole, rather than processed,
- Get your sweet tooth under control. Start to slowly reduce the portion sizes and
frequency of your intake of any sugared treats. Try switching to unsweetened breakfast
cereals. Go from full-sized candy bars to bite-size. And, if you are accustomed
to eating dessert after every meal, switch to fruit as a dessert a few times per
week. The less you eat the sweets, the less youll crave over time (really!).
- Switch to lean meats. Avoid highly marbled beef, high fat pork ribs and chops,
regular ground beef and other fatty cuts. Try substituting lean ground beef and
turkey, pork tenderloin and flank steak, along with fish and shellfish.
- Switch to lower fat dairy products. You can really influence your calorie and
fat daily totals by switching to lower fat milk, cottage cheese, cheese, sour
cream and more. If you enjoy fat-free, work your way down to that. If you really
dont enjoy the taste, then go to the lower fat varieties (thats what
- Find a couple of lower fat salad dressings that you enjoy. With all the vegetable
youll be eating as part of your new eating style, a couple healthier dressing
options will go a long way toward making them more enjoyable. In addition to using
on salads, you can use dressings for marinade, dips, sandwich spreads, and whenever
you can use some extra flavor.
- Slowly reduce your portion sizes. Most people who are carrying around some extra
weight probably are eating too much food. By slowly reducing your portion sizes,
youll feel less deprived as you make your way down to a portion size you
feel comfortable and satisfied eating.
- Learn how to read and compare nutrition label information. This will help avoid
common mistakes made by people experimenting with healthier foods, such as overeating
low fat items even though they contain as many calories as the full-fat varieties.
Look at things like fiber, protein and sugar content to help you understand what
youre feeding your body and how it makes you feel.
- Although this isnt directly an eating issue, increase your activity! Healthy
eating is only half of the equation. For ideal health, your body needs to move
and move often. Again, start slowly and gradually increase your activity. This
doesnt necessarily mean hard exercise. Walking, housework, gardening and
running around with your kids can lead to healthy changes in your fitness level.
Many experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise three times a week as a minimum
for overall health. Each person should talk with their doctor, and determine what
type and level of exercise will best suit them.
though you may determine you want to make additional lifestyle changes, these
basic healthy tips will give you a great start toward improved health. Take it
at your own pace and make changes that fit into your lifestyle. You dont
need to eat foods you dont enjoy just because they are healthy. It would
be better for you to experiment to find foods you do enjoy, so that you are motivated
to keep eating them. Always keep in mind that youre making these changes
to become a healthier person that will live a longer, more active life!
article may be reprinted with permission if the following resource box is included:
Rogers, a work-at-home mom of two, is the founder of Health-E-Meals.com, providing
practical healthy living resources for busy people. Visit her website
to sign up for the FREE newsletter, 'Dinners on the Double' - offering a quick
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