Every day we hear stories about how fast food and processed snacks are bad for our long-term health. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity are at all-time record highs in the United States and many of us have reached a point where we need to make significant changes to our diet. Whether you’re just starting to embrace a healthier lifestyle or looking for motivation to stay on course, here are 10 of our favorite tips for maintaining a healthy diet.
1. Variety is the spice of life
…and the key to sticking with a healthy diet. The human body requires a large number of nutrients for good health so it’s essential to eat a variety of different foods. If you eat red meat at dinner one day, try to choose fish or a vegetable-based protein like tofu the next day. Try swapping your breakfast sandwich for oatmeal with fruit or experimenting with different nut-based milks instead of dairy in a smoothie.
2. Enjoy fruits and vegetables
Most of us do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, and yet they are so important to good health! It’s much easier to eat more fruits and veggies when you enjoy them, so make the extra effort to find recipes you’ll look forward to eating. And don’t forget, you’ll get the same nutritional value whether you’re using fresh produce or frozen vegetables or fruit, so buy what tempts your tastebuds, and what will be the easiest to prepare.
3. Skip the “super-size”
It’s not always easy to keep your portion size reasonable – especially if you’re eating out. In those cases, consider splitting an entree with a friend or ordering a salad with soup. When you’re cooking at home, serve a salad or veggies before the main course to keep from overeating.
4. Are you getting enough water?
Chances are you aren’t drinking enough water over the course of the day, so find creative and delicious ways to add more. Infusing water with citrus, cucumbers, mint, and other fruits is a great way to avoid sugary beverages while reaping all the health benefits of simple H20.
5. Portion out the protein
Protein is a part of any healthy diet, but try to keep your portion size down to a quarter of your plate and emphasize chicken, fish, lean pork or beef, beans or tofu. Fill the remaining quarter with whole grains like brown rice, and the remaining half with vegetables.
6. Include seafood
Seafood is a great source of lean protein. And choices like salmon, tuna, and sardines have omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked to improving heart health, brain functioning, and reducing the risk of depression.
7. Keep fats in moderation
There are plenty of ways to cook with less fat that result in delicious meals and snacks. Use nonstick or cast-iron cookware so you can use less oil and toss cooked veggies with a little olive oil, lemon and fresh herbs instead of butter or melted cheese.
8. Shop Smart
Focus your grocery shopping in the outer sections of the store where the healthiest and least-processed ingredients tend to be. In the freezer section, stock up on frozen vegetables and fruits that are just as nutritious as fresh, but less likely to go bad before you eat them. Don’t forget a few healthy staples like whole grains, canned or dried beans, and herbs and spices.
9. Have some family meal-time fun
There’s no doubt that life can get hectic, and even more so around meal-time. Try to reduce the stress by starting fun routines like using colorful placemats, playing special music, or pulling questions out of a hat to prompt conversations. You’ll make the time extra memorable and enjoyable – and you’ll eat less.
10. Make it Flavorful
Just because you’re trying to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to eat bland, flavorless food! Be generous when it comes to adding spices, herbs and citrus to make all of your food taste amazing. This is a rule we take very seriously at Tommy’s Superfoods and once you try any (or all!) of our frozen vegetable medleys, we’re certain that eating healthy will become just a little bit easier for you and your family!