Healthy eating is one of the most popular and important topics discussed today. You can’t read a magazine or watch television without seeing commercials and commentary about what is healthy, what isn’t, and why it’s important. There are so many different opinions about what “healthy” means, and it can be overwhelming to try to figure out which idea is actually right.
The good news is that it can be simpler. The main thing to realise is that you don’t need to figure out which book or expert is right for everyone. All you need to do is determine what healthy eating looks like for you. When you take the time to determine what choices are healthy for your life, you can focus on that instead of worrying about the popular diets and newly discovered superfoods. Here are three ways to make healthier food choices in your life.
1. Get Back to Basics
One thing nearly all medical professionals, diet promoters, and health gurus agree on is that simple, natural foods are good for you. Each different diet focuses on different natural foods. For example, vegans eat only produce instead of animal products, whereas those who follow the paleo movement eat a large amount of meat. However, the common theme between each of these health theories is that natural, home-cooked meals are a better choice than highly processed, mass-produced convenience foods.
When you decide you want to eat healthier, start by focusing on replacing refined and processed food with simple, homemade options. Whether you lean more toward vegetarianism, paleo, or prefer to be a balanced omnivore, try to replace the processed foods in your diet by homemade, natural options. It can be something as simple as making oatmeal from scratch instead of using an instant packet full of artificial flavours and preservatives. Another easy switch is choosing plain yoghurt and adding fresh fruit instead of going with a fruit-flavored yoghurt full of artificial colouring.
2. Broaden Your Horizons
The vast majority of health experts agree that vegetables are extremely healthy and that almost no one eats enough of them. A simple way to eat healthier is to add more veggies into your daily meals. This doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to having a kale smoothie for breakfast. A great way to start is to choose a single vegetable that you like and add it to your evening meal. You don’t even have to worry about a fancy preparation. Steaming and roasting are both easy ways to cook vegetables.
If you don’t care for vegetables, it’s worth spending a little time to retrain your palate. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to choke down vegetables you hate. But if you try a different cooking or seasoning technique, you may be surprised to find that you enjoy some vegetables. Start out by trying some sweeter vegetables, such as carrots or sugar snap peas. Try roasting them with a good amount of seasoning, or glazing them. You may discover new favourites so you can have some variety with your evening meal.
3. Choose Healthier Alternatives
While cooking from scratch and eating fewer processed foods is a worthy goal, most people don’t find it practical to make every single thing from scratch. The good news is there are plenty of healthier alternatives to overly processed foods, and more are going on the market every day. For example, instead of choosing the typical highly processed salad dressings loaded with chemicals, you can choose the HamptonCreek Foods offerings. These are egg-free, so there’s less cholesterol and are made with non-GMO ingredients. There are several flavours available, so it’s easy to make the switch from your old brand.
Sometimes the idea of eating healthy feels overwhelming, especially when it seems like every day there’s a new study or book with conflicting information about what is healthy. Instead of trying every new diet, take some simple measures to make choices that are healthy for you. Try cooking from scratch in the areas where you feel comfortable, and forgo the overly processed choices. Experiment with different vegetables and cooking methods to find some that you enjoy eating. When you actually like the veggies on your plate, it doesn’t feel like a “diet” to eat them.
You can also choose healthier options for the items that you don’t make from scratch. Choose brands that use natural ingredients and eschew artificial colouring and flavouring. You’ll even get a healthy bonus, in that many natural brands are lower in fat and cholesterol, and some are even gluten-free. By taking small steps to focus on your own health, you can stop worrying about fad diets and enjoy a lifestyle where healthy eating is second-nature.
Disclosure: This is a featured post