Whether you’re dieting to lose weight or just want to look and feel better, you’re probably wondering why no one can tell you how to eat healthy without some fancy, convoluted chart or graph. Well, my dear, I can help, and it won’t even require an app, calculator, or pie chart; eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be easy, if you keep these 9 simple pointers on how to eat healthy in mind.
1. Do the Math
Weight loss, weight maintenance, and weight gain all boil down to a variation on one simple math equation. If you want to LOSE weight, you must consume FEWER calories than you burn. If you want to GAIN weight, you must consumer MORE calories than you burn. And if you want to maintain your girlish figure, you must consume THE SAME number of calories you burn. Easy peasy!
2. Skip the Soda
Simply put, soda provides no nutritional value. In fact, it’s been shown to leach valuable calcium from young bones, especially in women and girls. So even though it’s tasty (it’s my own personal crack, really), if you want to eat healthy, skip the soda. Thinking of switching to low-cal or no-cal instead? Don’t bother — the artificial sweeteners in diet soda have been shown to cause cancer in lab rats, and the caramel coloring in both regular and diet colas have been modified lately to avoid a closer look by the FDA… so play it safe. Skip the soda altogether… who knows what else could be lurking in there? Opt for a healthy mixed fruit juice or water with lemon instead.
3. Forget Fast Food
Fast food is all about convenience… and calories. Did you know that one fast food value meal can have all (or even MORE than) of the calories you’re supposed to consume in an entire day? And most of those calories come from fat. So while it’s cheap, and quick, it’s not a healthy choice. If you’re serious about eating healthy, forget fast food… or at least opt for a salad or grilled chicken (without dressing) instead of a burger and fries.
4. Try for Five
According to the USDA, we’re all supposed to get five handful-sized servings of fresh fruits and veggies every day, but hardly any of us do! If you swapped your mid-morning candy bar for a banana, and your afternoon potato chips for a handful of sweet berries or carrot sticks, and your soda at dinner for a bottle of mixed fruit juice, you’d already have three servings, and you’d have replaced all of that junk food… you’re eating healthy with the power of fruit!
5. Eat Smaller Meals, More Often
Studies have shown that eating five small meals a day, rather than three large meals, can actually kick up your metabolism and keep it rocking all day. That’s good, because a quick metabolism means extra calories burned with less effort… hooray!
6. Shop the Perimeter
Ever notice where in the grocery store all the bad-for-you junk food and processed food is? And where all of the healthy whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh produce are? In almost every grocery store in the U.S., the layout of the grocery store is the same: the inner aisles hold all the junk, and the perimeter boasts all the good stuff. If you want to eat healthier, steer your cart around the edges of the grocery store, then head for the check-out without being tempted by the Doritos in aisle 7.
7. Swap Your Bread
Sometimes eating healthy can mean making one simple switch. For instance, swapping your bland, bleached white bread for tasty, wholesome whole grains. Why? Well, white bread is literally BLEACHED, removing all of the nutrients, and of course containing nasty chemicals instead. Whole grain bread, on the other hand, contains all of the fiber and other nutrients white bread lacks, and it tastes really, really good… and it doesn’t contain bleach.
8. Don’t Delete!
I just mentioned that whole grain bread is better than white bread because it’s rich in fiber. Why is fiber so good for you, especially when you’re trying to lose weight or just eat healthy? Because it will help you feel fuller, longer… it will help your digestive system process the other nutrients you need, and it can even help regulate hormones. So why on earth would anyone follow a diet that required them to avoid fiber? Its sounds crazy, right? Well, fiber is a carb, and the popular but terribly unsafe and unhealthy Atkins diet heavily restricts carbs. So think about your special diet choices, and if a diet requires you to delete a particular source of calories, beware!
9. Color Your Plate
Here’s a truly simple way to eat healthier, and it’s so easy to remember! The more colorful your meal is, the healthier it is likely to be… why? Think of all of your favorite fruits and vegetables… they’re so bright and colorful, especially when compared to junk food, which is usually beige (think fried food, French fries, etc.). Keep your plate colorful, and you’re probably eating healthy… especially if it’s colored with lush leafy greens.
With so many easy-to-remember and easy-to-follow ways to eat healthy, you’ll be looking and feeling better, and more energized in no time… and you might even lose a little weight! Which of these tips surprised you, and which will you try first? Or will you go for broke and try these all at once? Do tell!
Top Image Source: Basistka