Most of us could stand to eat a healthier diet. Yet many of us get so caught up in our busy schedules that we don't have the time or the motivation to do more than run through a drive through on the way home or to throw a pre-packaged meal in the microwave. Fatty, processed foods start to make up the majority of our diet and fresh fruits and vegetables start to become little more than garnishes.
If your diet looks like this, it may seem too difficult to change it now. However, there are several easy changes you can make to your diet right now to start making it over for a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few ideas:
Eat Three Meals a Day
Skipping meals -- especially breakfast -- can send your blood sugar crashing, intensify cravings for unhealthy foods, and slow down your metabolism, making it harder for you to burn off excess calories. Make sure you eat three meals a day to give your body a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day, and to ensure that you are able to make informed choices at every meal and reach for healthy options rather than grabbing at whatever is available because you feel out of control from hunger or cravings.
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Rather than focusing on everything that you CAN'T have, just focus on adding the things that you CAN have -- like all the fruits and veggies you want. Add fruits and vegetables to every meal and snack. You'll fill up on these healthy foods and feel less of an impulse to eat unhealthy foods. And even if you're still reaching for a bowl of ice cream after you've eaten, at least you can be sure you'll eat less ice cream than you would have if you had not already filled up on the healthy stuff.
Drink More Water
Drinking plenty of water can help you regulate your blood sugar levels, control your appetite and keep your energy levels up -- all of which will keep you from reaching for unhealthy foods out of boredom or because you have strong cravings. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, or more if you are active (which you should be anyway).
Eat More Whole Foods
Processed foods are convenient, and they make meal prep much easier. However, they are also loaded with excess sodium, sugar, and fat, as well as chemicals, additives, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavorings. Choosing unprocessed, homemade versions of your favorite treats is a simple way to make them healthier. Make foods yourself with whole, natural ingredients, and you will get more nutrients and less harmful chemicals.
Eat Less Sugar
Sugar is toxic. It contributes to hormonal imbalances, chronic health problems, and even disease. While some sugar is OK as an occasional treat, far too many of our foods have hidden sugars that lead to an excess of it in our diets. Cut out as much sugar as you can be eliminating known sources of it in your diet and looking for hidden sugars in foods by reading labels. You'll not only lose weight, but you'll also improve your overall health.
It need not be overly complicated or difficult to make over your diet. You can start with these five simple changes that will have a big impact on your health.
What changes have you made to your diet to make it healthier? Share your tips for a diet makeover in the comments!