The internet is overwhelmed with countless articles on the latest diet fad and videos with fitness “gurus” promoting the latest diet trend. From intermittent fasting to keto diet, paleo diet and Mediterranean diet, there is always something new every day.
While each diet has its own merits, you don’t have to kill yourself if it does not work. Here are some tips that you can introduce to everyday eating habits that will edge you closer to your health goals.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
We all know consuming more fruits and vegetables, in general, is essential for our health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetable, in the long run, can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar.
But the question is, how do we turn in into a habit?
Tip 1: Set small and measurable goals – While it is recommended to eat 2 servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, you do not have to force yourself if you do not like to. Start small with a an apple a day and slowly increasing it to more fruits and also introduce vegetables to your meal.
Tip 2: Try new food – No one is going to enjoy steamed broccoli and tofu over a period of time. Introducing new way of enjoying your food like having your yoghurt with granola and fruit puree or change up your breakfast by adding shredded carrot into your pancake mix as a partial sugar replacement.
Tip 3: Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand – Having healthy snacks on standby can be useful when you are mindless snacking. Snacks like trail mix or raisin will not only curb the appetite, it will give you that energy boost you require.
Share your dessert
When it comes to dessert, some of us are guilty as charged. But fret not, not all sugary treats are bad. Studies have shown that desserts are not only a great pick me up but also prove to be as effective in weight control. In a study published in the journal Steroids, 195 obese adults followed calorie-controlled diets for 16 weeks. Both plans contained the same amount of calories and namely healthy foods, with one difference—one group consumed dessert daily. The dessert eaters lost slightly more weight than the non-dessert eaters and were significantly more successful at losing weight.
So now you know, the next time you have a sugar craving, you do not have to cut it off entirely. Sharing a dessert not only prevent you from indulging excessively, but it is also a great move for portion control and as said – weight loss.
Read Those Labels
“You are what you eat” may be an overused saying but knowing what you eat may not be what we all do.
Dietary labels such as “healthy”, “whole grain” or “low-sugar” are not necessarily a healthier choice as this claim does not highlight the total amount of nutrients and does not emphasize that it could be high in sugars, fats and sodium – but luckily, the nutrition information panel does illustrate the full list of the nutritional value. A good to know when looking at the labels is the listing of ingredients which is generally arrange from the majority used to the least. Learning to read labels thoroughly and checking for excessive sugar, sodium, and saturated fat content will actually help you cut off some of that unnecessary nutrients.
Limit your ultra-processed snacks
Ultra-processed snacks are the third phrase for food that is meant to be sold for consumption.
Generally, food has 3 processes.
The first stage of the process involved making sure the food is edible, which will be like harvesting gran, and slaughtering of livestock – these are still considered “whole” food.
The second stage involves a more complex procedure such as cooking, freezing and canning. Some examples are fruit juices, bran cereals and deli rotisserie chicken.
The third stage – which is also known as ultra-process, food is when manufacturers inject flavours, add sugars, fats, and chemical preservatives. Examples include white bread, flavoured potato chips, coke, and etc.
Ultra-processed snacks contain high sodium, sugar and unhealthy fats as they are meant to preserve the food for some time and provides a better texture for people to chew on. They are affordable and convenient and can be hard to resist purchasing them (I feel you). High consumption of ultra-processed food will result in more detrimental health complications such as increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and overweight. However, not all processed foods are bad as studies have shown that several processed foods such as peanut butter, tinned salmon and natural probiotic yoghurt still contain the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Essentially, healthy eating transforms the way you live by providing you with sustenance and reducing the risks of diseases in the future. Eating right will not only boost your immune system but also, improve your mental health.