Feeling overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you will find another saying exactly the opposite. We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing.
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving oneself of loved foods. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving personal outlook, and stabilizing moods.
Some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood; it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. That means switching to a healthy diet does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet and make a difference to the way you think and feel. But by using these simple tips, you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty, varied, and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.
Prepare more of your own meals: Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you are eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food.
Make the right changes: When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it is important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing dangerous Tran’s fats with healthy fats such as switching fried chicken for grilled fish will make a positive difference to your health.
Simplify fresh food: Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients.
Read labels: It is important to be aware of what is in your food as manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats in packaged food, even food claiming to be healthy.
Focus on how you feel after eating: This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The more healthy food you eat, the better you will feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.
Drink plenty of water: Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated-causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It is common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Avoid sugary drinks: Slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust and wean yourself off the craving. Try drinking sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice instead.
Avoid junk foods: Avoid processed or packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, or low-fat meals that often contain hidden sugar that quickly surpasses the recommended limit.
Eat healthier snacks: Cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate, and cakes. Instead, eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Take smaller portions: The portion sizes you are serving for meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards and half a cup of mashed potato. If you do not feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy green vegetables or round off the meal with fruit.
Take your time: Stop eating before you feel full; it actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
Eat breakfast: Eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, while eating small, healthy meals (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up.
Avoid eating at night: Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Studies suggest eating only when you’re most active
Eat sweet vegetables: Naturally sweet vegetables-such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions and squash add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugars.
Eat plenty fruits: Fruit is a tasty, satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.
Use herbs and spices such as garlic, curry powder, cayenne or black pepper to improve the flavor of meals instead of salt.