Everywhere you look today, there are articles and news stories about how you can improve your diet and the importance of eating nutritionally sound food.
Unfortunately, eating better is a good idea but sometimes can be hard to carry out in our daily lives. Here are five ways that you can eat healthy without much impact on your daily lives.
- Replace The Chips. Many people like to sit down in front of the TV with a bag or bowl of chips and snack while they watch their favorite show. Snacking is one of the quickest ways to add extra calories to your diet and extra pounds to your body. If you’re snacking on foods that are low in nutrition but high in fat and salt, your body will pay the penalty. You can always swap your chips for something else. Air popped popcorn, veggie chips, pita chips and plain old vegetables like celery and carrots are healthy choices for snacks. Find more excellent alternatives to chips here 16 Healthier Ways to Satisfy Any Chip Craving
- Switch To Whole Grains. Most of us eat a lot of refined grains. In fact, before MyPlate was the recommended nutritional guideline from the government there was the food pyramid, where the staple of all dietary needs was grains.The tricky thing about our diet is that most of our grains are refined. The refinement process for grain takes out most of the nutrition. White rice is a notorious example of food stripped of its nutritional value.
Researchers found that women and men who ate mostly white rice—five or more servings a week—had a 17 percent higher risk of diabetes than those who ate white rice less than one time a month. Harvard School of Public Health quoting Nurses Health Study I and II
The Mayo Clinic also notes why it’s important for us to eat whole grains instead of refined. The husks of grains like rice, barley, and wheat contain B vitamins. During refinement, these shells and vitamins are removed, and the grains lose most of their nutritional value. So choose brown rice, brown bread, and cereals instead of the white varieties, and eat those in moderation as overeating whole grains, like overeating any food will lead to weight gain and possibly blood sugar spikes.
- Eat Fruits instead of Sweets. Sweets are a large part of the American palate, and they are a problem when trying to cut calories and also get your recommended nutrients. The best way to curb a sweet tooth while getting excellent nutrition is to swap sweets for fruit. Try to stick with Northern Fruits such as apples, pears, and cherries instead of tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes to cut down on sugar. Also, make sure to eat ripe fruit. Most grocery stores sell fruit that isn’t ripe, to avoid waste. Unripe fruit can taste bland, so make sure you give your fruit enough time to ripen. This will increase the sweetness and help satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Eat the Right Fats. Most of the cooking we do in America has added fat. When you bake you add butter when you sauté you add oil when we cook we coat the pan with oil, so food doesn’t stick. When choosing oils and fats, it’s important to choose the right types of fat. For a long time, we were told that margarine was the best substitute for any fat. Many people are still using margarine in place of all fats. Keep in mind that Margarine is a food made in a factory and not all margarine is created equal. Click here for an educational article about margarine by Harvard Health Publications
Healthy fats tend to be plant-based fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and plant oils. Even grass-fed butter is better than margarine. Olive oil is lower in saturated fat and higher in the unsaturated fats, which is good for your heart. A Harvard health study showed that olive oil is better for your body than margarine or butter. Click here to explore the American Heart Association’s excellent web page Fats and Oils
- Lose The Salt Shaker. Salt may help food to taste better, but there are options. Instead of salt, season foods with sodium-free spices like pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder, and paprika. Reach for fresh or dried herbs, like thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro and basil. Forty percent of salt is sodium. Sodium enters the blood and plays a key role in maintaining blood pressure. It attracts and holds water, the sodium in the blood helps maintain the liquid portion of the blood. On the other hand, if you consume too much sodium, your body may hold onto extra water, increasing the volume of your blood. If you have too much sodium in your diet, your blood pressure can increase, leading to a condition called hypertension. Sodium is also found naturally in foods. The Harvard School of Public Health says people over fifty and African Americans should watch their sodium intake carefully to avoid health issues.
These five are easy ways to improve your diet without having to sacrifice flavor or cravings. Which one have you tried?