People have become quite health conscious. Yes, the trend is fast catching on and men and women are either trying to lose weight by resorting to fad diets or switching to a healthy diet in order to stay fit. However, in a bid to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve the perfect weight many people confuse healthy eating with strict dieting. Going on crash diets might help lose a few pounds but in the long run you will be limiting your nutritional intake, which will make you feel weak and lethargic and after a few days you might go back to your old unhealthy ways of eating. If fitness and health is your goal, there are several things you can do to develop a few healthy eating habits. Read on to find out more…
Say goodbye to processed foods
Though, processed and packaged foods are convenient and involve minimum preparation time, the fact is, they are not healthy. Such foods contain high amounts of preservatives, man-made colorings and other added chemicals. Processed foods tend to be higher in fat, salt and sugar and lack nutrients and fiber. So, chuck out packaged foods from your life and start preparing meals using fresh vegetables, lean meat, lentils, eggs, etc. Don’t forget to include milk, fresh fruits, nuts and legumes.
Go for whole grains
Whole grains offer far more nutrients and fiber than their refined ‘white’ varieties. According to a research, overweight people who opted for wholegrain wheat products lost more weight and also came out with lower cholesterol levels than those who consumed refined wheat. Whole grains tend to have a lower GI (glycemic index), so after consuming you feel full for a longer time while maintaining your energy levels and concentration.
Alter your cooking methods
The more you ‘do’ to your food, the less it does for you. Confused? Well, it is simple. All you have to do is avoid things like deep-frying and over cooking. Frying in loads of oil will drench your food with unnecessary calories, and cooking for a longer period of time – for example boiling vegetables until they are drained of color- will sap them of nutrients. Try to grill or barbecue meat, fish and vegetables. You can also slightly steam vegetables or stir-fry meat and vegetables, using just a little olive oil or a light spray of cooking oil.
Portion sizes matter
In today’s super-sized world, it can be hard to know what a healthy portion looks like. Many of us tend to consume more than we need on a daily basis. For an ideal lunch, lean protein should take up a quarter of your plate, another quarter should have low-GI or wholegrain carbs, and the remaining half should have salad or vegetables. Have a light dinner as you don’t actually need a lot of energy.
We often think of certain foods as ‘bad’ and cut them out altogether and end up craving them all the more, which results in binge eating. So, what you can do is set aside one meal a week to indulge in as a treat. You can eat anything you may have otherwise kept out of your healthy eating plan. However, don’t forget your portion size.
Sugary drinks no more
When we talk about healthy eating, the one thing we need to cut out completely is soft drinks or sugar-packed juices. Instead sip on water all day long as it helps in digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients. Water also eliminates waste from your body and regulates body temperature. So, make sure you drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water daily.