Healthy eating is a major part of our health. Whether you have a specific goal, like losing weight, or just want to improve your overall health, diet and food will play a large role in your healthy lifestyle. You may have no interest in losing weight, but you may be wondering why you feel tired all of the time and want to have more energy. Diet may be a place where you can improve your health by eating the right foods.

We touched on diet in our recent blog post 11 Tips for Living a Healthier Lifestyle. Note, while healthy eating is extremely important, it’s also important to regularly exercise. Eating the right diet can improve heart health, prevent diabetes, make us feel better and give us more energy.

Different diets work for different people. By the word “diet,” we mean the food you eat every day. It’s important to get the following foods on a daily basis:

Protein – This includes meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, etc. Try to grass-fed meat when possible.

Fruits – The healthiest way to consume fruit is to eat whole fruits. Eat fruit in moderation because they contain more sugars than other foods.

Vegetables – Vegetables are a great food because they are nutrient dense and low in calories. Make sure the vegetables your eating are prepared with healthy methods.

Ask you cook throughout the day, you may also use natural oils for cooking, like coconut oil or olive oil.

The following are a few tips for eating healthy:

-Keep your diet low in carbohydrates.

-Keep your diet low in sugars, unless they come from whole fruits.

-Eat less processed foods. Try to eat whole foods and prepare your own meals.

-Eat when you’re hungry.

Popular Diets: As a part of our Healthy Eating 101 post, we’d like to include some baseline information on popular diets out there.

Keto – The keto diet stands for “ketogenesis.” When a person limits carbohydrates in their diet, the liver begins producing ketones and the body burns stored fats. This diet has also been used to control blood sugar. Under the keto diet, junk food and refined carbohydrates are limited.

Paleo – The paleo diet, also know as the “caveman diet,” stands for “Paleolithic.” It refers to the Paleolithic Era and suggests that people eat the same way they used to during that time. Under the paleo diet, no grains (including wheat, rice and corn) are consumed. Sugar is limited to whole fruits and people also avoid beans and peanuts. To learn more about the paleo diet, look up the work of Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain.

Clean Eating - Clean eating refers to eating micro-nutrient dense food and staying away from processed foods.

Do what works best for you. You can try one of these diets for 30 days and see how it affects your mind and your body. Ask yourself the following questions:

-“Do I feel better?”

-“Do I have more energy?”

-“How is my relationship with food changing?”

Lastly, share your tips for eating healthy with us!

Changing habits and getting into shape isn’t easy. Real change doesn’t happen overnight. To be healthier, start following some of these tips for a month and then add more goals to your list. Developing lasting, healthy habits is key. While you’re at it, review last month’s blog post on Healthy Foods that Aren’t so Healthy.

Weight loss apps: If healthy weight loss is your goal, you may want to try some smart phone apps like My Fitness Pal, Lose It and S Health (on Android phones). These apps can help you track meals and workouts. These will also track your progress so you can see how well you’re doing and where you can improve.

Eat breakfast: Many people skip breakfast, but just because you’re eating less doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Eating breakfast every day will boost your metabolism.

Keep gym clothes in your car: If you have a bag of gym clothes and equipment ready to go in your car at all times, you can’t use the excuse that you’re not prepared to go. Also, you can avoid stopping at home, where you may get distracted on your way to the gym.

Motivation: Stay positive during your journey to health. Use motivational quotes to inspire you. Try putting them on your water bottle or on your phone’s screensaver.

Here are some examples:

“Healthy isn’t a goal. It’s a way of living.”

“Work hard and be proud of what you achieve.”

“The habits that took years to build, do not take a day to change.” –Susan Powter

Eat on a smaller plate: The research shows that eating meals on smaller plates makes you feel like you’re eating bigger portions. Moderation is key!

Don’t shop hungry: If you’re hungry when you get to the grocery store, you’ll spend more than you intended to. You may also end up bringing a bunch of unhealthy snacks home because your stomach was growling.

Exercise with YouTube on: There’s a big selection on YouTube when it comes to workout videos. Pick a workout that you enjoy like dancing and search for it on YouTube. You can also look up videos for weight lifting, in case you want to check your form.

Bag ingredients before cooking: Try bagging ingredients for a recipe well ahead of time, or when you come home from the store. When all you have to do is throw the bag into the slow cooker or the blender, you’re more likely to stick to your diet plan.

Try slow cooker freezer bag meals and smoothie recipes. Throw ingredients into ziplock bags and store them in the freezer. You have a bunch of meals ready to go.

Eat one to two cups of vegetables before going to a party: Feed yourself a light meal of vegetables before going to a party where you’re likely to hang out by the snack table.

Drink enough water: Many of us don’t get the recommended eight glasses a day of water. To combat this, buy a water bottle that holds a liter of water and draw markings around the bottle for each hour of the day. Drink 200 ml of water each hour (which equals a glass). Also, try drinking lemon water each morning.

Portion unhealthy snacks: If you have to have those gummy bears or chips, portion the bag into serving sizes and store each serving in a ziplock bag. Then, you’re not tempted to finish the bag in one sitting and you can enjoy a guilt free snack.

We wish you luck throughout your journey to create healthy habits. Remember, it’s a process, not a race.

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