No, you won’t have to grapple with seas of overwhelming changes you can’t handle. Instead, you’ll embrace life-changing habits, eating right.
My 10 tips are all based on the time-tested practice of balance, variety and moderation in eating.
This means you (and I) should eat a great variety of foods, stick to the recommended daily calorie intake and don’t over-indulge in any one food group or nutrient.
My 2 Cents Worth on 10 Tips
I have published my guidelines on how to eat a well-balanced, healthy, weight loss nutritious diet if you’re looking for healthy ways to eat to lose weight.
The 10 tips I’m talking about are for you who aren’t bent on weight loss, but bent on maintaining better health for your body.
I’ve sampled lots of ways to eat healthily and realized that the success really depends on my internal motivation to want to eat right and healthily.
So while the tips serve as helping tools to guide you, your motivation and desire to be healthy must be in to make your journey to a healthier you, profitable.
These concise 10 tips are practical and useful, because I know you’re busy and always on the run, so easy and simple tips are what you need.
1. Make Small Changes First, and Build on Them!
I always make it a point to know what’s wrong with my diet first, then only I proceed to improve my eating habit.
I write down everything I eat for 3 days, thereafter check my list. The list tells a lot of what kind of food, especially unhealthy ones, I’ve been eating.
I remember my typical food list runs like this:
- Lots and lots of meat laden with fats
- High content of sugary stuff like sweetened cakes, savories, breads and pastries
- Rich dairy food like butter, milk and cheese
- Low on fruits and vegetables
- Rich, creamy chocolates, biscuits and cookies
- Large portions of carbohydrates such as rice, white bread and sugared cookies
Sounds familiar to you? Not surprising at all…
Now, I don’t get all drastic and panic – cutting off these unhealthy foods straight away.
Rather, I cut back my portions. Once I mastered this, I then gradually replaced one food at a time, with its healthier equivalent.
I tried suddenly pulling a stop to all unhealthy foods and replaced them with healthier versions, all at once.
Phew! I couldn’t cope with the overwhelming changes. I sought solace by retrieving to my old ways of eating and well, I was back to square one.
So, remember, make small changes that you can handle first. Don’t completely revamp your eating habits overnight.
2. Eat a Variety of Food
You and I need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no single food supplies them all.
On a daily basis, you should eat a variety of foods that includes:
- Bread and whole-grain products
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products
- Meat, poultry, fish
- Food rich in fiber
Really, how much you should eat depends on your daily calorie needs.
Eat lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Eat 6-11 servings from the bread, rice, cereal and pasta group, 3 of which should be whole grains. Also eat 2-4 servings of fruits and 3-5 servings of vegetables.
3. Eat Moderate Portions
If you keep portion sizes reasonable, it’s easier to eat the foods you want and stay healthy.
Reasonable portions, how?
For example, a medium piece of fruit is 1 serving; a cup of pasta 2 servings and recommended serving of cook meat is 3 ounces (equivalent in size to a deck of playing cards).
4. Eat Regular Meals
I used to skip meals, especially breakfast due to the rush in the morning. I found out it wasn’t a good idea at all as I usually plunged into an out-of-control hunger pang and I overate. When struck by hunger, I was irrational, just ate anything that’s fast and at hand, forgetting all about good nutrition!
Snacking between meals would be OK but don’t snack too much that you can’t eat your main regular meals.
5. Reduce, Don’t Eliminate Certain Foods
I eat for pleasure and for nutrition too. When my favorite foods are high in say fat, salt or sugar, my tactic is moderating how much of these foods I eat and how often I eat them.
Don’t cut them off totally. Find out where are these foods in your diet and make changes.
Let’s say you’re a die-hard fan of fried chicken. You don’t have to give it up totally. Just eat it less often and in smaller portions.
6. Balance your Food Choices over time
OK, food isn’t “good” or “bad”. Choose foods based on your total eating pattern, not whether any individual food is “good” or “bad.”
When you eat food that’s high in fat, salt or sugar, choose other foods that are low in these ingredients. If you miss out on any food group one day, make up for it the next. Your food choices over several days should fit into a healthy pattern.
7. Figuring out Fat
Contrary to all that you’ve heard or read about fat, one fact remains: that fat is an essential nutrient that you and I and everyone else need, to stay healthy.
Fat is a valuable source of energy and carries fat-soluble vitamins needed for proper growth and development. It also contributes to the taste and textural qualities of food that makes eating so much more enjoyable.
However, I must add that too much fat can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity and other health problems.
Health experts recommend that we consume 30% or less of our total daily calories from fat, with 10% or less of these calories from saturated fat. The 30% relates to your total fat intake over time, not on single foods or meals.
I give you the fat intake chart on a per day basis:
|No. of Calories per day||Total Fat per day (grams)||Total Saturated Fat per day (grams)|
|1,600||53 or less||18 or less|
|1,600||53 or less||18 or less|
|2,000||65 or less||20 or less|
|2,200||73 or less||24 or less|
|2,500||80 or less||25 or less|
I want to clarify that a food high in fat can be part of a healthy eating plan as long as it’s balanced with other lower-fat food choices.
8. Beware of Sugar
Please don’t add extra sugar. And read the label to find out just how much sugar there is.
Be extra careful with foods that are marked as “low fat” as the fat that’s been taken out is often replaced with sugar in one form or another.
9. Snack Smart
I always snack, especially in the afternoon as it’s a great way to refuel my body, to fill up before dinner time. I choose snacks from different food groups:
- An apple, banana or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
- A glass of fruit juice and a few wholewheat crackers
- Some dry cereals
- A small fist of non-fried cashew nuts or peanuts
Ahem…If I eat smart at other meals, cookies, chips and candies are OK for occasional snacking too!
10. Drink Plenty of Water
I’m a water person, I drink at least 2 liters of water daily (equivalent to about 8 big glasses) and on my exercise days, I drink more, to make up for water loss vie sweating during exercise.
Please don’t substitute water with alcohol or other sugared beverages like chocolate drinks, milk shakes or soda drinks.
If you drink alcohol, it supplies calories but no nutritional value. A light beer, a glass of wine, or an ounce of liquor each has about 100 calories. There are also many health problems associated with drinking alcohol.
If you drink beverages, the sugar in them is enough to tip off the balance in your daily healthy diet!
My Take on Healthy Eating
I see these 10 tips to eating a healthier diet as precursors to get you going in the right direction losing weight and taking charge of your life.
They aren’t everything about eating healthily.
But you can use them to start somewhere.
Consider your weaknesses. Think about your biggest challenges, healthy eating-wise.
Then, work out the best way to tackle them and move on.
And along the way, remember that food is a lot more than nourishment for your body.
Enjoy and savor it.