Healthy Eating Habits for a Stronger Body and Soul
If you have decided to start out on the road toward a healthier habits changing the way you eat is one vehicle to take you there. Here are some useful tips to bear in mind as you become more aware of what your body needs to function effectively.
These will help you develop healthier eating habits that will not just benefit your body, but also your mind and your outlook on life.
Apply a Dose of Moderation
As you strive to change your unhealthy eating habits into smarter traits the most important factor to ensure success is ‘moderation’. It would be unwise for you to abruptly cut out all processed foods and soda. Likewise, jumping into a strict daily 30-minute exercise program is also ill-advised. Instead, aim for attainable weekly goals that will gently ease you into the lifestyle you are aiming for. This will make the new routines feel more like a part of you and you will be more inclined to stick to them.
You could think about aiming for less processed foods and soda in the first week. For week two try to take a few minutes to plan a grocery list that supports your new healthy eating practices. Week three might find you making a conscious effort to drink more water and exercise at least twice.
Keep making these small changes weekly and you may find that you develop the confidence to make bigger changes or to make more than one change within a given week.
You should also apply moderation to the quantity of food you consume at a given time. This means that at the end of a meal you should not feel stuffed but just full. Moderation suggests that you are not required to cut out all of your guilty pleasure foods, just have less of them.
After all, quitting your bacon cheese sandwich abruptly may leave you craving it more and this could drive you completely off your healthy eating track.
Moderation tells you not to fall into the trap of thinking that one nutrient is more important than the others. Your body needs a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals (plus exercise) in order for it to be healthy and strong.
How, When, Where and Why You Eat
The ultimate goal is to achieve a pattern of healthy eating that fits seamlessly into your daily routines. This means you will need to focus on aspects of your eating habits other than what it is that you eat. The ‘why’ you eat should be for nourishment and care of your body and not just to stop your stomach from grumbling while you rush through a busy day. This will help you to select healthy choices as much as possible rather than bulky, empty calories.
The ‘where’ you eat has to do with both location and company and is closely related to the ‘when’ you eat. There are many social and emotional benefits to dining with company, especially if they are on the same nutritional track as you are. Before you get up to grab a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry, you may be mistaking a need for water for a need for food. Have a glass of water and see.
It is recommended that your last meal of the day should be 14-16 hours before breakfast. This gives your digestive system a chance to better regulate itself, a key ingredient to controlling your weight. And since you have waited so long, do not skip breakfast. Your metabolic rate will enjoy the healthy boost a good breakfast provides and you can keep that rate up during the day by having several small healthy meals, instead of a huge lunch and dinner.
The ‘how’ you eat takes in the physical act of eating. Ensure that you chew your food properly before swallowing. This not only aids the digestion process but help to slow down your food intake. It may lead you to enjoying the meal more since you spend time savoring each bite and appreciating the blend of textures and flavors in the meal.
Remember, it only takes a few minutes for the brain to get the message from the stomach that you are full! Therefore, you should stop eating just before you get that feeling of fullness.
Minimize Processed Foods and Stop Drinking Soda
The label ‘processed foods’,will be used here to discuss foods that have been put through a number of multifaceted processing steps. A good reason to avoid these foods is that; during processing chemical agents such as additives, artificial coloring and preservatives are added.
When purchasing packaged foods go for those labeled as organic and stating they contain no additives, artificial colors or flavors. Also keep an eye out for those with no added sugar or preservatives. Be sure to check the label when purchasing meat and eggs. It should say Free Range, Cage Free, Wild Caught, or Hormone Free. Steer clear of refined grains and sugar, as these generally provide empty calories.
Eliminate soda from your diet if at all possible, or try to cut it down to a bare minimum. They are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, unsafe chemicals and preservatives.
They provide little if any nutritional value and according to most sources, they will weaken your bones. Reach instead for probiotic drinks, herbal teas, natural fruit juices or some kombucha.
Don’t worry, as you go through each week changing out the unhealthy habits for healthier ones you will find you naturally gravitate to healthier choices. Before you know it you’ll be consuming far less processed foods and soda than you thought possible.
Don’t Overdo Caffeine, Sugar or Salt
While it’s quite easy to become hooked on any of the three, actively trying to reduce them in your diet is another matter. You may be able to limit yourself to: two caffeinated drinks a day (perhaps a coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon); sweets only at desert; and a small salty snack a day. You will still find, however, that they are hidden ingredients in some of the other things you consume.
Many canned and processed food have high sugar and salt content. One smart move is to opt for fresh or frozen foods instead. Also advisable, is to sweeten your food yourself since manufacturers tend to add a lot of sugar to attract your sweet tooth. Go for unsweetened, plain, or unflavored options for your food, and then add naturally sweet fruit for healthy sugar and flavor. Choose low-salt or reduced sodium options when available; take your gravy on the side when dining out; and ask for low-sodium dishes.
Your caffeine, sugar and salt intake will naturally be reduced as you consciously decide on what is best for you to eat and fall into the habit of making healthy choices.
Build Your Meals Around Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. You can optimize your intake of these by going for as many different colors of fruits and vegetables as you can. In order to ensure that you meet your daily required fruits and vegetables intake, it is best to plan your meals with fruits and vegetables making up the bulk of what you eat.
Doing so will help you to reduce the amount of calories you consume per meal. At the same time it will be bumping up your nutrient intake. Who knows, while you are at it, you may find yourself trying out (and liking) some new ones.
Green vegetables are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Satisfy your sweet tooth with sweet potatoes and yams, corn, and squash.
Fiber and water are necessary for a balanced diet and fruit is a tasty way of adding these to yours.Fruits are also great source of vitamins and antioxidants (which help fight cancer).
A healthy lifestyle begins with healthy eating habits. Today our diets are lacking in several areas, we rely on the experience of others rather than our own desire to live a healthy life. As a result, we are easily influenced to adapt new habits but are usually quick to drop them after a trial period of a few days.
Your goal should be to set your own objectives based on your personal desire to live healthier. In doing so, you are one step closer to achieve your goals.