Eating well shouldn’t be difficult or complicated. But it takes skill, motivation, and stealth ways to eat better without even thinking about it. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’ve compiled some of the most effective tips for healthy eating every day.
First of all, don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to eat healthy. The constant stream of nutrition misinformation and sensational stories on the internet and social media makes it hard to know who to trust. Many so-called experts online are nothing more than unaccredited spokespersons or modern-day snake oil salesmen trying to promote a program or sell a product.
If nutrition advice promises to cure disease, help with weight loss, or provide a quick fix, it’s inaccurate. Healthy eating requires attention, dedication and motivation – for a lifetime. Instead of turning to TikToker for information on what to eat, seek information from trusted sources such as healthcare institutions, non-profit organizations, and credentialed nutrition professionals, including registered dietitian nutritionists. To get started, here are 10 healthy eating tips that are all evidence-based.
Those who sleep well eat better the next day. Research consistently shows that lack of or disturbed sleep is associated with increased cravings for junk food, increased snacking, and higher calorie intake. This is why shift workers and night owls are more likely to have a lower quality diet and are more likely to be overweight, have type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome compared to those who give the sleep priority. To help you eat well tomorrow, focus on what you’re doing tonight to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
While most of us drown in sugary foods, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories (200 calories or 12.5 teaspoons in a 2,000 calorie diet ), and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons) for women and 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons) for men. Excess sugar contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, eye disease, premature aging and more. A diet high in added sugars can also cause systemic inflammation in your body.
The first step in doing this is to eliminate sugary drinks from your diet, as they are the number one contributor to added sugars in the United States. Second, check the ingredient list on packaged foods to see if there are any added sugars listed in the first three ingredients. Common names for added sugars in packaged foods include sugar, cane juice, sucrose, dextrose, sucrose, maltose, maltodextrin, and rice syrup. For sweets, try dried or fresh fruit, and when baking, use 100% fruit puree of apples, bananas, prunes, or figs to sweeten your baked goods.
If you choose whole grains for at least 50% of your grain-based choices each day instead of eating mostly refined grains, you’ll get more fiber, essential nutrients, and beneficial bioactive compounds. A review recently published in Comprehensive review of food science and safety concluded that whole grain consumption is associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Some healthy whole grains to include in your diet include brown rice, oats and whole wheat flour, pitas, tortillas, breads and cereals. Experiment with other whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat and sorghum.
It can be hard to get used to this healthy eating tip at first, but meal prep means you don’t have to think about what you’re going to eat for dinner every night. You have already planned it and know what you are encountering. It can help you control your weight, avoid eating out, improve the nutritional quality of your diet, and save time and money. Recent research shows that people who frequently eat out or buy convenience foods are more likely to be overweight or obese and have significantly higher intakes of unhealthy nutrients like added sugar and saturated fat. .
According to recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Studies suggest that ultra-processed foods are linked to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions.
Ultra-processed foods are all foods and beverages that have undergone significant processing and typically contain added sugars, fats, additives and preservatives. Examples include sodas and other sugary drinks, potato chips, sugary breakfast cereals, candy, frozen desserts, baked goods, processed meats, margarine, and snack bars. Choose natural, whole foods as much as possible and try to avoid overly processed choices as much as possible.
An important healthy eating tip to try this year is to make sure you start your day off right with a balanced breakfast. This morning meal can help set the tone for how you eat for the rest of the day. It doesn’t matter when you eat it, but make sure you have a good balance of macros and enough protein to temper your appetite and quell carb cravings. A study reported in Diabetes Care reported that eating breakfast helps manage genes that regulate the circadian clock to help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and cardiovascular health.
A more plant-based diet is generally better for your health and for avoiding chronic disease. In fact, the traditional diets of the world’s longest-lived people are plant-based, and it’s estimated that in the Blue Zones, which are the regions with the highest concentrations of centenarians, the diets are 90- 95% plants. The Adventist United States Health Study found that those who lived the longest were vegans and pesco-vegetarians who ate a small amount of seafood. The Mediterranean diet, touted as one of the diets healthiest in the world, is a whole plant-based approach with dairy products a few times a week and frequent fish and seafood. Red meats are limited to a few eating occasions each month.
Using a grocery list helps improve your diet and saves you time and money, and having a well-stocked kitchen with choices mostly good for you means you’ll eat more meals and snacks. healthy. Making a shopping list will also help you limit the number of meals you eat out or order. People who use a list have healthier diets and improved biomarkers for health. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reported that using a shopping list was associated with lower body weight and higher quality diets.
Eating colorful foods is a surefire way to make sure you’re getting disease-fighting bioactive components in fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating habits that include fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including certain cancers and heart disease.
Be sure to include a rainbow of colors most days. Colorful choices are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids, carotenoids and other phytochemicals that help fight disease. The colorful plant-based choices are also rich in many important nutrients, including folic acid, vitamins A, C and E, selenium and potassium. For optimal health, be sure to eat at least three servings of vegetables and two of fruit daily.
Life happens. To everybody. And sometimes, even when we follow these healthy eating tips, we can go wrong. However, people who have tools in their toolbox to help them overcome health issues are more likely to have a stable weight and healthier diets overall. There will be times when you don’t eat well and it can last for days, weeks or even months. To help you turn the corner and get back on track, try the following tips: First, find your why. Think about why you are trying to eat healthier. Next, set a short-term goal that will allow you to eat healthier for a day or a week. And finally, get moving, because exercise can help individuals feel more motivated to eat better.
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