Diet affects your weight and plays an important role in your overall health.
There are many ways to eat healthy, but the keys are making good food choices, learning to substitute, and learning how the right foods can help your body.
Making Good Food Choices
1. Whether eating out or choosing a recipe, look for words such as baked, broiled, or poached. Steer clear of fried, sautéed, or battered.
2. Choose fresh vegetables that are steamed or raw. Over-cooked boiled vegetables yield little of the health benefits those foods should provide.
3. Choose whole-wheat products over their white flour based counterparts. Whole wheat has more fiber and nutrients.
4. Size matters. Eating too much of even a healthy food can lead to weight gain. Learn the correct portion sizes and stick within the guidelines of the USDA’s food pyramid.
5. Avoid prepackaged food and prepare foods at home. Prepackaged foods, even the healthy variety, have added sodium and chemicals. If you cook at home you know exactly what is in that meal.
Learn to Substitute
1. Instead of cooking with butter, choose healthier oil such as canola, olive or rapeseed. Those oils can lower cholesterol in the blood.
2. Instead of beef, use chicken or turkey. In recipes that call for ground beef, substituting ground turkey or chicken saves on calories and fat.
3. Try eating vegetarian or fish twice a week. Eating a meatless meal or one with fish is a great way to have a lean, healthy meal.
4. Go for the water. Break your soda habit by substituting water. Drinking soda, even diet varieties, provides added chemicals and sometimes calories. Also, drinking at least eight glasses (8 oz. each) of water a day is a great way to keep your body hydrated and healthy.
5. Instead of canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, try fresh. Not only do fresh fruits and vegetables taste better, they provide more health benefits than the canned or frozen variety.
Making the Most of it
1. Green leafy vegetables are packed with goodness. They provide fiber and vitamins to help the body prevent disease and maintain optimal health.
2. Eating foods made with whole grains can help your body reduce cholesterol, and help control your weight. Whole grains take longer to digest, which helps your body feel fuller longer.
3. Don’t discount beans. Beans and other legumes are a terrific source of protein, especially when combined with a starch. They have many health benefits including weight and blood sugar management, as well as heart health.
4. Be sure to get enough calcium. Low-fat dairy products not only provide you with your daily requirement for vitamin D, but they also help your body keep the bones strong. Dairy products are rich in potassium, another important nutrient.
5. Reward yourself once in a while. Once a month give yourself a little reward by indulging in a treat. Keep the portion size under control, but allow yourself to enjoy something you may be craving. This tactic will help you stay on a healthy eating journey.