Happy National Nutrition Month! As spring approaches, it’s easy to be influenced by diet websites and blogs sharing “quick and easy” ways to get healthy. But nutrition shouldn’t depend on the season, and a diet shouldn’t be a temporary solution.
In order to maintain a healthy body, it’s important to consume healthy foods every day. While temporary diets can be helpful for some people in the short term, crash diets can be detrimental to your health and cause permanent damage to your body. The best way to feel great and stay healthy is to consistently keep a balanced diet.
Lack of time can be a huge obstacle on the road to proper nutrition. Whether you’re still in school, taking care of the kids, or working full-time, it may feel like there are not enough minutes in the day to carefully cook each meal, measure out calories, and stay on track. But by making a few small changes, you can improve your diet and, in time, develop habits you can easily maintain. Feel your best and take care of your body by following these simple tips to improve your nutritional habits:
1. Surround Yourself with Healthy Foods
No matter where you spend most of your day, it’s much easier to avoid ordering pizza when you have healthy food options around you. Make grocery shopping a priority in your life. While you’re in the store, primarily fill your basket with vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other real foods. If you’re not one to cook, bring home foods that you can easily munch on like berries, carrots, apples, hummus, and whole grain crackers.
2. Control Portion Sizes
Instead of constantly counting calories, try to simply limit portion sizes. Aim for about a palm size portion of meat or fish and no more than a fist size of a healthy starch. For prepackaged foods, do you best to read the nutrition labels and check the number of servings contained in the package. While eating at home, it’s much easier to control your portion sizes by using small plates and not eating directly from the bag, box, or container.
3. Eat Your Colors
Be sure to include a variety of colors in your cart when shopping for food. Foods with similar colors offer similar vitamins and minerals. For example, red and orange vegetables typically contain more beta carotene, and foods with blue or purple colors often contain many antioxidants. Dark green veggies should also be a staple of your diet, as they are often some of the most nutrient dense foods out there, providing you with calcium, fiber, and an assortment of other vitamins and minerals.
4. Carry Snacks
While many find it beneficial to eat 3 larger meals each day, some prefer consuming 5-6 smaller meals. As long as your meals have nutritious foods, neither choice is bad; everyone’s body is different, so see which option works better for you. One way to avoid bingeing on junk food in between meals is to carry healthy foods wherever you go. Try to leave snacks at work, in your car, or in your bag. Having access to whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit at a moment’s notice can help you avoid an unnecessary visit to the vending machines or the temptation to indulge in fast food.
Don’t let yourself fall into unhealthy eating habits by making poor food choices or attempting crash diets. By being a little more selective about the foods you eat and making some small preparations, healthy eating will feel like a piece of cake. And don’t worry too much about indulging with an actual slice of cake occasionally. By following these tips daily, you can rest assured that your body will get all of the nutrients it needs for you to feel great and stay healthy regardless of your schedule.