I could give you tons of healthy eating tips, but first we should all acknowledge that healthy eating can only work if you don’t suffer through it.
Eating well is not a fad diet, nor is it a temporary ordeal, something you do for a few weeks, then let out a big sigh of relief and go back to donuts and French fries. Healthy eating is something you do for life – it should be about changing your habits for good.
The following healthy eating tips are a good start. Give yourself plenty of time – at least a month – to fully incorporate each of them into your daily routine.
Four Healthy Eating Tips
- Watch portion sizes. This, in my opinion, is the main issue Americans face today. Regardless of what you eat and serve to your family, if portions are too big, you will end up gaining weight, and being overweight is not healthy. Be very aware of how much food you put on people’s plates. It’s better to start with small quantities and let everyone know they can have seconds later than to overfill their plates.
- Fill those plates with colorful foods. If your plate is filled with fats and starches, it will look brown. A healthy dinner plate should be colorful. Can you picture a plate filled with lots of dark leafy greens, a bright orange baked yam, and a small amount of lean meat or fish? Now that’s a healthy meal.
- Retrain your tasting buds to appreciate fresh foods. When your palate is accustomed to fatty, sugary foods, fresh foods can taste a little bland in comparison. But fresh foods ARE tasty, especially if you buy locally and in season. Think about the sweet taste of fresh, juicy strawberries; or the yummy creaminess of a baked yam sprinkled with a little bit of olive oil and salt. If you can gradually eat less processed foods and more fresh foods, there will come a point where overly greasy, processed foods will actually make you feel ill. I can’t go into a fast food place these days without becoming queasy when I smell the strong odor of non-fresh, deep fried food. So I don’t go into these places anymore!
- Adopt just one healthy eating habit at a time. If you wake up one morning and announce to your family that you’re not going to buy processed foods anymore, they will be more than a little dismayed. Instead, do it gradually. Start with soda. If it’s not in the house, you’ll consume far less of it. Eliminating sugary soda is one of the easiest ways to become healthier and to lose weight almost effortlessly, especially if you were in the habit of drinking 2-3 cans per day. Once you get used to drinking water (add ice and a splash of lemon or lime juice to make water taste better), you can go on to the next habit, such as replacing sugary cereals with healthier versions, and so on.
Making lifelong changes is never easy. Junk food is cheap, tasty and highly accessible. Preparing fresh foods from scratch takes time and energy. This is why you should make these changes gradually. If you take a full month for each new healthy eating habit, over the course of a year you can make a real difference in how you and your family eat – and feel.