A diet doesn’t mean food deprivation. A diet, by definition, is the kinds of food a person eats. Small changes can help improve your diet and help you lead a happier, fuller life!
When we restrict ourselves completely from the foods we enjoy, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. A life of starvation, strict rules and foods that are “off-limits” can be a miserable one!
In fact, you may experience less overeating, less irritability, and even weight LOSS when you choose not to restrict yourself at all. By listening to your bodies natural signals of being hungry and full, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Here are 5 health-conscious tips that can easily improve your diet!
1. Plan Ahead and Prep
One of the main reasons people indulge in unhealthy foods is that they are convenient and quick. What if you prepared healthy meals ahead of time? This would allow you to satisfy your hunger with a healthy option right at your fingertips.
You can go as far as planning your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This will provide you variety and make food shopping much easier. Set aside some time for yourself to plan and prepare your meals for the coming week.
2. Plan Your “Cheats” Too
Just as you plan your healthy meals throughout the week, you should try planning your “cheats” also. Some people allow themselves 1 small cheat a day. Others save up their cheats for 1 big meal on a special occasion or night out.
Planning your cheats gives you something to look forward to. You won’t mind swapping those French fries for a sweet potato, knowing that Saturday night you’ll have chocolate cake for dessert!
Some people enjoy 1 glass of wine with dinner each night. Knowing you have that small indulgence waiting for you, will help you make better food choices during the day. Find what works best for you.
3. Portion Control Can Help Improve Your Diet
This is a rule we’ve all heard before, but it really does work! Often, our portions are completely off and we are consuming twice, sometimes 3 times as much, as we should be!
A great way to keep your portions under control is to use a smaller plate. This will leave less room for smaller portions, but you will mentally feel like you “cleared your plate”. If you’re still hungry, go for extra vegetables.
Another great tip is to eat until you’re 80% full. It takes your body 20 minutes to digest and determine if you’re still hungry. Allow your food to settle before going for seconds.
4. Easy Food Swaps and Healthier Choices
Some simple changes to your food choices could mean big changes to your overall health.
Read your food’s labels and ingredients. The fewer items listed, the better. This means you’re most likely getting more whole foods with natural ingredients and fewer preservatives and chemicals.
Choose whole grain for your breads and pastas when possible. These will keep you fuller longer than white or refined grain options, plus you get an extra boost of fiber!
5. Avoid Distractions
Many of us are in the habit of watching television or using our phones or tablets while eating. Eating while you’re distracted can actually lead to consuming 40% more calories at each meal. This is called mindless eating.
Take your time at your next meal. Put your fork down between bites and enjoy the taste, texture, and smell of your food. You can save yourself 70 calories over the course of a 30-minute meal by slowing down!
Making small changes like the ones listed here can help improve your health without sacrificing your lifestyle. Are you ready to give it a chance?