Nowadays I feel like we are facing a barrage of information when it comes to advice on how to be healthy or healthier, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to try and decipher and digest it all. One person says do this, but another says do the exact opposite. Believe me I am right there with you, so I have come up with what I consider to be seven (one for each day of the week) of the simplest and easiest to implement food swaps and tips to help ease you in to healthier eating.
- Try and replace processed and white grains with whole grains
White grains tend to be more processed and less nutritious when compared to whole grains, so swapping out one for the other is a quick way to make a change in your dietary health. Whole grains tend to have more fiber and nutritional benefits like vitamins and minerals. For instance try whole grain spaghetti instead of traditional white spaghetti.
- Don’t drink your calories
This may seem like a weird one, but if you think about it it makes sense. When you are trying to implement healthier habits you don’t want to waste calories on unhealthy drinks when those calories could be consumed via nutritious food that fuel your body. Now I am not saying you need to completely give up your extra caramel double espresso frappe whatever, but maybe limit it as a treat as opposed to an everyday thing.
- Cleaner and more whole foods
This may seem kind of obvious but the cleaner and more whole (meaning closest to its original form) your food is the better it is for you. When you eat foods that are cleaner or with more whole ingredients you are consuming better quality and often more quantities of nutrition. The less processed your food is the more of its natural nutrients are left for your body to use.
- More fruits and veggies
Again this may sound obvious, or like I am your mom telling you to eat your peas, but it is true; upping your fruit and vegetable intake gives your body some of its most needed vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that you wouldn’t otherwise get without taking supplements. Now I am not telling you that everyone needs to start eating Brussels sprouts, but try implementing a few more of your favorites into your diet. If you are someone who has a hard time getting in their fruits and veggies you could always try blending them into a smoothie or even buying pastas made from vegetables.
- Lean meats
For those of you who eat meat I highly recommend keeping your meats leaner and with a lower fat content. Meat, especially red meat, can already be harder for the body to breakdown. Try leaner cuts of meat, which tend to be better quality, more nutritious, and are less likely to make you feel bloated and heavy. I always recommend chicken and lean ground turkey to people because they are so versatile and really easy to cook, especially if you are less inclined towards the kitchen.
- Don’t be so strict that you backfire
This is one that I cannot stress enough especially if you are trying to make a change in your own health. We are all human, and therefore we all make mistakes. You are working to better your health, and that is a lifelong commitment; which means that you may very well mess up sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you want to eat a slice of cake one week. The fact is that being too strict and withholding the things that you like tends to backfire. Our cravings become worse when we tell ourselves that it is an all or nothing thing as opposed to occasionally allowing ourselves to enjoy or indulge.
- Choose better quality dairy
Now I know that dairy is a controversial topic so if you for some reason don’t consume dairy, just bear with me here for a moment. From a scientific standpoint dairy is harder on our bodies than some other food groups, mostly because humans aren’t really designed to consume the milk of other species, which is why so many people nowadays are lactose intolerant. But for those out there that do I recommend you try and choose the best quality dairy you can afford. What is considered the best quality kind of depends on who you ask and what you are looking for so what I recommend is try to find products that are again less produced, more natural, from pasture and humanely raised animals, and have a fuller fat content so that you at least get some of the benefits of healthier fats in moderation of course.