Eating healthily doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or complicated. You don’t need to take cooking classes to know how to prepare your meals before you can eat healthy foods. There are simple rules that can guide you to eating well for your overall wellbeing and success.
And here are a few eating rules that can keep you healthy and double your chances of becoming successful:
Make the right changes
When changing the type of food you eat, make sure that you are replacing unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives. Giving up animal fats (such as pork fat) for refined carbohydrates such as fruit juices, white bread, and french fries does little to improve your mood.
Labels are there for a reason
When you buy packaged foods, take some time to read the labels.
Nutritional facts printed on packaged foods are there to guide you to make healthy food choices according to your needs. Most times, you will also find the recommended number of servings for the particular food.
But, many people get this information about servings mixed up. For example, the nutritional facts on a food package may indicate that it contains 180 calories, 5 grams of sugar, and the number of servings is 3. What this means is that you get only 5 grams of sugar and 180 calories if the food is divided into three equal parts.
But if you were to eat everything at once, you would have consumed 15 grams of sugar and 540 calories (that is, three times the amount indicated on the food label).
It is good to take note of the minerals, vitamins, and micronutrients that are listed on your food package, but also try not to exceed the recommended number of servings.
Try to notice how you feel after eating
How you feel after a meal is a distinct message from your body to you. Learn to pay attention to these messages.
Eating junk food and empty calories can leave you feeling drained, uncomfortable, and even nauseous. A healthy meal leaves you feeling better about yourself and the food you eat. This can also help to promote healthy eating habits.
Focus on nutrient-dense foods
Consuming soda, cakes, snacks, cookies, and other fast food means stuffing yourself with empty calories. Instead, eat foods that are rich in nutrients such as seaweed, kale, blueberries, and dark chocolate.
When you opt for nutrient-dense foods, you get full quickly and function optimally for longer periods. So, the next time you are tempted to reach for candy or cookies, go for fruits such as pineapple instead. It is sweet, natural, and a rich source of vitamin C and manganese.
Mix complex carbohydrates with lean proteins
To help your body convert your food into more energy instead of more fat, always combine fruits and vegetables with lean proteins such as beans, lentils, eggs, fish, and 90% lean ground beef. Instead of eating potato chips, consider raw veggies and nuts. Try zucchini noodles instead of pasta.
Watch your portions
Overeating healthy foods is not a healthy eating habit. You can easily monitor regular foods such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But sometimes, you can get carried away by healthy snacks such as nuts, so be mindful when snacking.
Prepare your meals
The best way to be in charge of what you eat is by preparing them (or having someone prepare them for you) at home. This means you can control what goes into your food, such as excess sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemical additives. When you eat fast food, it can increase your feeling of tiredness and make you irritable.
Go on a tight food budget when you are at work
Cutting down your food budget when you are at work will promote the habit of packing healthy snacks and meals before leaving home. It will also reduce the urge to visit the vending machine during break time.
Avoid late-night meals
Give your digestive system long breaks at night before it is time for breakfast. Aim to stay away from food for about 14 to 16 hours from when you eat dinner to when you are ready for breakfast.
You can help to regulate your weight by eating food when you are most active (during day time) and staying away from food when you are less active (during night time).
Drink water – lots of it
The recommended daily quantity of water for a healthy adult is about 2.7 liters (approximately 11 cups) for women and 3.7 liters (approximately 15 cups) for men (National Academy of Medicine, 2004).
It seems like too much, right? But don’t worry about documenting every liter of water you consume. This recommended daily quantity includes water from all sources – pure water, beverages, and foods. I strongly suggest that you should be sensitive to your thirst and let it guide you.
As a general rule of thumb, try to drink around 8 cups of water daily. Water helps to clear your skin, energize your muscles, and can satiate temporal hunger. Here’s something you can try whenever you feel thirsty. Blend pure greens and drink the juice. Your gut will thank you for it!
If it feels overwhelming to remember all the healthy foods you need to eat, just try to remember what you should not eat, and you’ll be fine.