There is a lot of information out there about proper nutrition and it can confuse people. You may have heard all sorts of things about which foods to eat and avoid, but there are some simple principles that can help you make the right food choices. Start by ensuring that you have healthy foods and drinks in your diet. Then work on things like regulating your eating habits, such as making your own food, reading labels, and making healthy swaps. It may also be helpful to schedule your meals and snacks.
- Replace unhealthy foods with healthier ones
Making simple swaps can help you improve your eating habits in a simple and painless way. Find something unhealthy you love, then look for a healthier alternative that will satisfy the same desire. This could be something less fat or a different food that will satisfy the same cravings. For example, if you love chips and dip, you can try swapping potato chips with carrot chips or baked potato chips. You can also replace a high-fat dip with a fresh guacamole sauce or a low-fat yogurt dip.
- Make it a habit to read labels
Reading labels will help you avoid foods that contain unhealthy things like added sugar and trans fat. Look for the nutritional information on the packaged items and don’t eat fat, sugar, sodium, or all three if they’re high. Some foods are low-fat, do not contain added sugar or trans fat, or are low in sodium, on the front of the package. But it is still important to check information on nutritional values to make sure the food is really healthy. Read the contents on the label too. If you’re trying to avoid a certain ingredient, such as sugar, fat, or wheat, you can easily check the ingredients in your food and see if it’s something you want to avoid.
- Measure your food to ensure you consume reasonable portions
Packaged foods contain portion size. To ensure you consume calories and fat per serving, you need to measure and separate the amount indicated on the package. Depending on the type of food, you may need to use weighing or measuring cups.
For example, if you make a can of cheese pasta, the serving size might be 1 cup (240 g) of cheese pasta. Use a measuring cup to measure exactly that amount.
The portions are much larger than before, so read the labels of the packaged items you buy and avoid overly large portions.
- Remove unhealthy food from your living environment
Don’t buy them so you don’t let junk food and other unhealthy foods seduce you! Keeping these foods out of your living environment will help keep you from being seduced. You may even want to go through your cabinets and fridge to sort out unhealthy food.
If you share your home with others, talk about setting up a cupboard or shelf for only healthy food in the pantry and a drawer or shelf in the refrigerator. This will be your safe zone where you will choose your food.
- Use conscious eating strategies to eat less and get more taste from what you eat
Conscious eating habits can help you eat less by slowing you down. It’s a good way to enjoy your food more. Always sit at a table to eat your meals and set your eating pace to take about 20 minutes. Other strategies you can try include: *Eliminate distractions during meals, such as by turning off the TV or putting your phone away
*Be aware of the look and smell of your food before you start eating
*Hold your fork or spoon in the hand you don’t always use or try to eat with chopsticks
*Chew slowly and enjoy every bite.
- Work with a therapist to control emotional eating
When you feel unhappy or lonely or use food for relief when bored, you are facing emotional eating. This can lead to eating when not hungry, eating unhealthy foods, and eating too much. Learning coping strategies to cope with your emotions without food will help you eat healthier. Find and make an appointment with a therapist experienced in helping people with emotional eating habits.
For example, a therapist can teach you how to understand what they’re feeling, then find something healthy you can do to feel better, like taking a walk, doing a deep breathing exercise, or listening to music. Ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist. Sometimes this is required for the therapist visit to be covered
- Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits at each meal
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients and fiber and are lower in calories than most other foods, especially if they’re organic (without pesticides). At each meal, fill half your plate with 1 to 2 servings of vegetables or fruit. This will help you feel full faster and stay full longer. You can cook your vegetables by steaming, stirring in a pan, in the oven, or by boiling. Do whatever you want! If you don’t want to cook vegetables, try eating a salad or slices of raw vegetables with your meal. If you are in a hurry, grab a fresh whole fruit such as apples or bananas or a packet of cooked fruit with you to eat on the go.
- Cut down on oils and fats
The amount of healthy fat in his diet is between 20% and 35%. For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, this means 44 to 77 grams of fat per day, as each gram is about 9 calories. However, it is best to consume healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and to reduce or avoid unhealthy fats such as saturated and trans fats. Add 2 or 3 servings of olive oil, nuts, seeds or avocados to your daily diet to consume healthy fats.
Aim for the calories you get from saturated fats to be no more than 10% of your daily calories. For example, if you are on a 1700 calorie daily diet, the calories you get from saturated fat should not exceed 170 calories. This corresponds to about 19 grams of saturated fat per day. To find the trans fat content of foods, be sure to look at their labels. Don’t buy or eat food if it contains trans fat. Trans fats are often found in margarine, tallow, powdered coffee cream and many packaged ready-to-eat foods, such as packaged baked goods.
- Drink mostly water and cut down on sugary drinks or avoid them
Water will provide the hydration your body needs. You really don’t need to drink anything else. But if you drink other drinks, drink less of these. Drink more than 250 milliliters of juice a day and avoid sugary soft drinks or beverages with natural or artificial flavors.
There is no perfect amount of water for everyone to drink. Drink every time you’re thirsty. If your urine is light yellow and you don’t feel thirsty, your body has gotten enough hydration. It is also ok to drink alcohol in moderation. Do not drink more than 1 alcoholic drink per day if you are a woman and more than 2 alcoholic beverages if you are a man. 1 alcoholic drink equals 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine or 50 ml of distilled drink.
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