How to Achieve Healthy Eating Success
Eating healthily has a number of benefits. It can help you feel better, give you more energy and even boost your mood. The good news is, adopting a healthier eating regimen doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself all of the foods you enjoy. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to change everything at once. To the contrary, setting realistic goals and making a few small changes at a time is a much more sustainable approach. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed or deprived, both of which can cause you to give up on your new eating plan.
Think of eating healthier as several smaller steps, like adding a salad or extra serving of vegetables to your meals every day. This makes it much more manageable. Over time, those small changes will become new habits, which will add up to much healthier choices overall. To set yourself up for further success, here are a few simple yet effective changes you can start implementing right away.
Make your own meals.
When you prepare more of your own meals at home, you maintain more control over what you’re eating and can manage what goes into your food. This will enable you to avoid processed ingredients and unhealthy additives and prevent you from eating too many calories, too much salt, and too much sugar. It’ll also help you to avoid the unhealthy fats that are often included in takeout and packaged foods, which can leave you feeling bloated, tired and irritable.
Replace the bad with the good.
The most effective and long-term way to cut back on unhealthy foods is to replace them with the right alternatives. For instance, replacing trans-fats with healthy fats, such as swapping out fried chicken for grilled salmon, will have a positive impact on your overall health. Replacing animal fats with refined carbs, on the other hand, such as eating a donut instead of bacon at breakfast, won’t do much of anything to improve your mood or lower your risk of heart disease. Be mindful of the substitutions you make and be sure the end result is a net positive health-wise.
Read the labels.
When you’re unable to prepare your own foods, be sure to carefully read the labels on any pre-packaged food products before eating them – especially foods that are billed as “healthy.” This is important because manufacturers frequently hide unhealthy fats, significant amounts of sugar and other questionable ingredients in packaged foods in an effort to make them taste more appetizing. Educate yourself on what to look for so you can avoid making poor choices at the supermarket.
Keep your eyes on the prize.
When you focus more on the way you will feel after you eat, it’ll naturally motivate you to make healthier choices. For instance, when you eat foods that are healthy, nutritious and wholesome, you’ll feel better – both physically as well as mentally. Conversely, when you load up on junk food, processed products or foods that are heavy in salt, sugar, carbs and fat, you’re more likely to end up feeling bloated, uncomfortable, irritable and drained of energy. Recognizing this before you eat can help you steer clear of what you don’t want to put in your body.
Drink lots of water.
If you don’t stay hydrated enough, chances are you’ll muddle through the day feeling tired and unenergetic. Dehydration is also a leading cause of headaches, which can make it difficult to concentrate. Water helps the body by flushing out toxins and other waste products. And since it’s common to mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger, drinking lots of water throughout the day can also help curb cravings and keep you on track.
Eating healthier isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle change that can have a positive impact on your long-term wellness. But change can be overwhelming. To prevent this and improve your chances of success, focus on starting small and implementing the five tips above. Over time, you’ll discover that those little changes have added up to lasting results.