Eating healthy these days can be overwhelming when you have so many choices at your disposal. It doesn’t need to be complicated if you keep things simple. Here are 5 ways you can start:
1.Eliminate processed foods when possible -If you can’t cut out white breads, potatoes, rice and pastas, make the gradual transition towards whole grain, quinoa, sweet potatoes, wild rice, and brown rice. The healthier options contain more fiber and incorporating them into your diet will keep you fuller longer.
2. Make improvements in the quality of your food -If you’re an omnivore, opt for grass-fed meats or poultry without hormones. Stay away from the genetically engineered hormone rBGH or rBST which is found in dairy. Choose pasture-raised eggs. Buy organic produce when possible.
3. Check the labels -The fewer the ingredients, the better the chances are that the food is less processed. Stay away from all the added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, salt, and preservatives. Avoid hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors and excessive amounts of fat.
4. Plan and prepare ahead of time -Without planning and preparation especially during a busy work day, your healthy eating can go right out the door. Take the guess work out of it by either preparing your meals ahead of time or know when and where you will have access to your next meal. Snacks such as nuts and fruit are easy to bring to work.
5. Cook more meals at home -When you prepare food at home, at least you know what goes into your food. Sometimes, no matter how healthy you think you are when you’re eating outside, this may not always be the case. Restaurants need to make your meals tasty so they will use different oils, fats and seasoning for added flavor. If weight loss is an issue for you, the best way would be to prep your meals at home for the most part.
Smaller steps and not drastic measures will help you become successful in shedding that extra weight and toning those muscles. Eating a healthy and balanced diet in the long run will help you get closer towards your fitness goals. Incorporate lean protein such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts, healthy fats such as avocados, coconut, coconut oil and healthier carbs such as sweet potatoes, squash, oatmeal, and brown rice to improve your diet. Always add a variety of vegetables from dark leafy greens to colored veggies for well rounded nutrition.
Aim to eat healthy at least 80% of the time. If you crave something, don’t deprive yourself. Have a portion of your indulgence. There is no “one size fits all” diet for everyone as there are different body types, goals and needs. Experiment to see what works best for you. Don’t forget, you can’t put all that work into exercising and the minimal into nutrition. Both exercise and diet go hand in hand. If you want the best results, you need to find a good balance.
Cindy Lai Fitness
NASM – Certified Personal Trainer
Health & Fitness Coach