Advice about boosting health often bottoms out in telling you to eat healthier foods. However, in reality, it can be hard to establish habits that support healthy eating – especially when we don’t know exactly what we need to change.
And to make matters worse, you’ll find widespread disagreement about what even constitutes a good diet.
In this article to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle, we aim to demystify the process and get you on the road to being the healthiest you’ve ever been.
We’ll first look at why it’s so important and what tends to get in the way of having a nutritious diet. Next, we’ll walk you through the most powerful changes you can make to instill healthy eating habits that last.
Through six tips that revolutionize your relationship with food, we’ll lay the groundwork for you to create your own customized healthy eating plan today.
Let’s begin by clarifying our understanding of why healthy eating matters so much. One helpful way to think about this is to focus on consequences – quite simply, healthy eating has enormous payoffs.
For one thing, you’re less likely to develop a wide range of potentially fatal conditions like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes In addition, there are similarly dramatic results for your mental health and well-being – those with healthy diets are less likely to struggle with anxiety and depression, for example.
And by maintaining a healthy weight, you prime your body for new adventures well into later life.
In short, you’re likely to live longer if you eat well, and that longer life is also likely to be more enjoyable.
As you start to figure out how to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself, you may find it useful to think of the body as a machine that needs maintenance and improvement.
The “body machine”, as it were, needs to meet certain conditions for optimal functionality.
If you put it in the wrong context or fill it with the wrong things, it becomes sluggish or may stop working entirely.
In addition, it needs regular checkups, which should involve regularly revisiting your healthy eating plan and reconsidering how your needs change over time.
For example, just as a machine may need to be adjusted or tuned up when moved to a different room temperature, so too does your body require dietary changes as you age, change jobs, start a family or take on new hobbies.
Before we unpack some of the most powerful habits that promote a healthy eating lifestyle, it’s useful to think about where we tend to go wrong.
Here, then, are some of the most common negative habits that stop us from being as fit and well as could otherwise be.
Now that you have a sense of what undermines your health, let’s shift focus to how you can create good habits that promote a healthy lifestyle that lasts.
The more of these six changes you can take on board, the more you’ll begin to notice a difference in how you feel in both body and mind.
One of the most powerful shifts you can make is to adopt mindful eating.
This is the process of eating your food slowly and carefully, really noticing each flavor and texture and savoring all the combinations of foods on your plate.
As well as simply making mealtimes more enjoyable, mindful eating has documented health benefits.
Specifically, studies on speed of eating indicate that fast eaters are over 115% more likely to be overweight than mindful eaters.
One thing that might explain this difference is that it can take up to 20 minutes for our stomachs to communicate to our brains that we are full. Mindful eating, then, gives us a chance to avoid overeating, encouraging us to consume only what we really need.
As noted above, it’s easy to balance food groups incorrectly. But what should you prioritize?
To be healthy, protein should be a central part of most of your meals. As programs like the Atkins diet and Keto diet emphasize, a high-protein diet seems to offer major benefits.
For one thing, it’s especially filling, helping to reduce the urge to snack on less healthy food between meals.
In fact, research estimates that those whose protein intake is 30% of all their food eat close to 450 fewer calories each day than people whose protein intake is just 15% of their total food intake.
And if you need more convincing, note that protein boosts muscle mass, both making you stronger and helping you burn more fat at a faster rate.
Staying hydrated is vital for everything from cognitive ability to kidney function and healthy skin. And there are benefits for your weight, too.
It is well-documented that if you drink throughout the day, it’s easy to maintain your desired weight and also slightly increase the number of calories you burn per hour.
Meanwhile, a strategic glass of liquid before a meal can help to stop you from over-eating. The same goes for mid-afternoon water drinking, which reduces your urge to snack.
But do ever wonder what to drink to stay hydrated? The right answer is the most straightforward – water.
Sticking to water reduces the sugar intake you’d get from sodas and squash drinks. Making water your only drink per day may cut as many as 200 calories from your daily intake.
While all vitamins have a crucial role to play, one of the most important to focus on is vitamin D.
A fat-soluble vitamin that improves resistance to disease and strengthens your bones, vitamin D can really make a difference in how you feel during the day.
Meanwhile, when it comes to oils, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all oils must be bad because they contain fat.
On the contrary, the healthiest oils are wonderfully good for you. Instead of using highly processed vegetable oil like sunflower and soybean oils, make the shift to extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
The latter are a top source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce bodily inflammation, promote a healthy brain and keep your heart working as it should.
You’re probably aware that it’s smart to avoid fried food where possible, but it doesn’t hurt to see an occasional reminder of why this is a good move.
An illustrative contrast case is that of potatoes and french fries. The latter contains up to three times the number of calories found in healthy potato recipes.
More specifically, 100g of baked potatoes is less than 100 calories, while 100g of french fries is more than 300.
In addition, fried foods often come with added compounds that can negatively impact your cardiovascular health, such as trans fat and aldehydes.
So, to keep your heart healthy and keep off the pounds, replace fried food with baked or broiled alternatives.
Finally, we often get stuck in a rut with our foods, and this pulls us right toward the bad habits mentioned at the start – eating on the go, avoiding key nutrients, and eating too quickly so that we end up eating too much.
This is one reason why we’d encourage you to try new recipes as long as you can – ideally at least once per week.
Just as importantly, this process helps to vary your nutrient intake, giving you a wider selection of different health-boosting minerals and vitamins.
And as a bonus, being creative about your cooking makes mealtimes fun rather than a chore. It’s easier to get into a productive, positive frame of mind about healthy eating if we actually enjoy what we’re making and trying.
You should now have a clearer sense of some of the harmful pitfalls that we fall into, and you’re armed with loads of smart, quick ways to make your diet healthier.
This puts you in an ideal position to becomes stronger, leaner, and more energetic than ever before.
The next step is for us to offer you a customized meal plan that keeps you on track and makes eating fun.
Simply tell us basic information about what you want to achieve, any restrictions you have, and the kind of plan you need, and we’ll customize a healthy meal plan that guides you through your journey to the healthiest, happiest days of your life.