It’s no secret that we live in a world of unhealthy habits. Whether it’s through food or drink, we frequently give in to ‘comfort’ foods that give us short-term pleasures but also add weight to our bodies.
It’s never easy giving up bad habits, but this year, you can make a resolution to change the way you eat. Instead of focusing on weight loss, you can resolve to nourish your body with healthy food. There are many different ways in which you can achieve this goal, but you shouldn’t be limited to just one. Keep reading for tips on how to incorporate more vegetables, fruits, and herbs into your diet.
Make A List Of Necessary Foods
One of the first things you should do to shed off the extra weight is to make a list of all the foods that you need to survive. This includes healthy foods as well as nutrients that your body cannot live without. Your body needs every single vitamin and mineral in the correct amounts to stay healthy, so don’t underestimate the power of the food pyramid diet.
For instance, make a list of all the vegetables and fruits that you love. If you’re not getting the nutrients you need in sufficient amounts from the food that you’re already eating, it’s time to change your diet.
The next step is to cross off all the foods that you cannot live without. You will inevitably have to give some of these foods up, but you don’t want to deprive yourself of the ones that you love. You will need to replace those foods with healthier options, though.
Introduce A New Food Once A Week
One way of changing your diet without losing too much weight is to introduce a new food every week. Even those who try to eat healthy usually lose their resolve when presented with too much food in abundance, so giving in to this temptation is the fastest way to lose momentum. This is why it’s important to maintain a steady stream of healthy options throughout the year.
To keep things interesting, you can swap out the usual meat and sauce based options for something new. For instance, you could try serving fried chicken with spicy Spanish chorizo, or barbequed pork with North Carolina-style barbecue. These are just some of the delicious alternatives that you can make to break up the monotony of the same old food. And remember, the whole point of this is to keep you motivated to stick to a healthy lifestyle, so you should always look for ways to improve your diet without feeling deprived.
Eliminate ‘Empty’ Foods
As you make a list of all the foods you need to live (step one), you will inevitably be presented with many options. One of the best things that can happen to someone trying to eat healthier is to realize that there are many foods that they don’t need to avoid. There are many different types of unhealthy foods, and you don’t need to eliminate them all from your diet. It’s important to realize that some foods are simply bad for you and should be avoided. These are the ‘empty’ foods, as they do not provide your body with necessary nutrients. The good news is that you do not need to avoid these foods completely.
For example, you may need to exclude gluten and wheat for medical reasons, or you may simply need to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure levels. There are many different types of gluten free and wheat free grains that you can incorporate into your diet, like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. These are all excellent sources of nutrients that you may not be getting in sufficient amounts from the food that you’re already eating. Omitting these foods may also be necessary for someone with certain medical conditions. However, for the majority of us, these foods are simply unnecessary additions to our diet. They should not be seen as a bad thing, but rather as a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. Emptying your plate at each meal simply because there are no grains on it is a sure-fire way to lose momentum.
Eat More Veggies
It’s well-established that vegetables and fruits are healthy, but you may not be getting the amounts of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that your body needs to function at its best. In addition to helping maintain a healthy weight, more vegetables in your diet can also help improve your skin and hair, as well as protect you against certain types of cancer. The key is to consume more fruits and vegetables than you think you need. Some foods are naturally more nutritious than others, so you do not need to overload on added “fillers” to make up for the lack of fiber in others. For example, leafy greens like spinach and kale are highly packed with nutrients, fiber, and vitamins, and you would not need to add any additional ingredients to make them more nutritious. This is why it’s important to eat more vegetables than you think you need.
Eat More Fruits
Fruits are, in general, a healthy choice, and eating them can actually help boost your body’s vitamin levels as well as lower your cholesterol. Apples are a classic example of a fruit that is both healthy and tasty. Like vegetables, fruits contain nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that your body needs to stay active and well-nourished. The key is to eat the flesh of fruits rather than the fruit juices. If you’re drinking juices, you’re probably not eating the fruit itself, and you’re certainly not getting the benefits that you could from eating an apple or other fruit.
With the above tips, you can start incorporating more vegetables, fruits, and herbs into your diet. Remember to keep things interesting by experimenting with different food combinations and swapping out the usual meat and pasta based dishes for something new and healthy.