Eating a healthy diet is another part of a healthy lifestyle. Not only can a nutritious diet help with weight management, but it can also improve your health and quality of life as you get older.
You already know about the food groups and the fact that it is recommended that you eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. You probably have a list of things you know you should do for a healthier diet but, again, making too many changes at once can backfire. Going on a restrictive diet may make you crave the very foods you’re trying to avoid.
Another approach is to look for ways to make smaller changes each day.4 Just a few ideas for changing how you eat include:
Cut back on sugary beverages. It’s easy to consume excess sugar and calories in the beverages that you drink. Sugary sodas, sweetened teas, juice drinks, and high-calorie coffee drinks can easily eat up your daily recommended allowance of added sugars. Consider drinking plain water or water flavored with fresh fruit or herbs. It’s a great way to stay hydrated and still get a burst of flavor.
Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy. Switching to skim milk or fat-free yogurt is another simple way to eat fewer calories without having to change too much in your diet.
Eat more fruit. Add it to your cereal, salads, dinners, or make it a dessert. The fruit is also a great snack after work or school to keep you going for dinner.
Make some substitutions. Look through your cabinets or fridge and pick three foods you eat every day. Write down the nutritional content and, the next time you’re at the grocery store, find lower-calorie substitutes for just those three items.
Sneak in more veggies. Add them wherever you can—a tomato on your sandwich, peppers on your pizza, or extra veggies in your pasta sauce. Keep pre-cut, canned, or frozen veggies ready for quick snacks.
Try a healthy salad dressing. If you eat full-fat dressing, switch to something lighter and you’ll automatically eat fewer calories. You can also put the dressing on the side and dip, or even try making your own dressing.