Healthy eating focuses on improving your health, feeling great, having lots of energy and boosting your overall mood. Contrary to popular fads, a healthy diet shouldn’t involve strict limitations and depriving yourself of foods that you love. None of us is perfect, right? Healthy eating shouldn’t be complicated – the best approach is to make a few small changes at a time with the goal of having more of the best and healthiest meal options. This means embracing whole foods like vegetables, fruits and grains coupled with proteins and fats. I have been eating like this in 2021 and have noticed that not only do I feel better, but I have more energy. I have also been ditching the processed foods as much as possible – bye bye frozen pizza! – and replacing them with real food. Read further to learn about essential tips to healthy eating for 2021:
Opt for More Plant-Based Foods
Most of us can plead guilty to not eating enough fruits and vegetables…I know I am! Plant-based diets are known to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Strive to “plantify” your dishes to replace meats with veggies on your diet.
Choose Healthy Appetizers
Appetizers aren’t just reserved for the 3-course meals in a restaurant, they do the role of filling you up for you to consume fewer calories for the entire meal – it’s also a great way to slip in more servings of veggies if you choose the right appetizers. Go for broth-based soups instead of creams as the latter is heavy with unhealthy saturated fats and calories. Salads are a great choice since they are loaded with beneficial plant nutrients.
Experiment with New Recipes
One of the easiest ways to combat food boredom, which can lead to snacking on unhealthy options, is by trying different recipes. Make a fun night of it with your partner or loved one and choose a new recipe with high nutritional value – this has certainly been a popular activity during the pandemic! Don’t be shy about trying ethnic dishes such as Turkish Beef Kofta. Check out online cooking sites, magazines and Pinterest for some inspiration. The T&T flyer is also another splendid resource where you can source a variety of healthy ingredients and spices to create healthy meals.
Focus on Fiber
Fiber is one of the things you’ll want to incorporate in your healthy eating regime since it brings the feeling of satiety without contributing to any calories. Fiber helps to keep the microbiome happy which is tasked with reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases by fighting off pathogens and infections. A quick way to incorporate fiber in your diet is by adding fruits, vegetables, and legumes into your diet.
It’s a sad state of affairs to report that many of us have too much-added sugar in our diets. It’s no wonder that sugar-related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity are on the rise. A diet high in added sugar is not only bad for your health but also your waistline. Aways cut out sweetened beverages such as sodas and fruit drinks, as well as sweet snacks such as cookies, pastries, and ice cream. Read food product labels carefully because you will notice added sugar in the most unexpected places such as in salad dressings, bread, sauces, and condiments.
Keep a Food Journal
One of the most important essential tips for healthy eating is to be conscious of every bite that goes into your mouth. When I consulted with a nutritionist about 10 years ago, the first recommendation he made to me was to keep a food journal. We discovered together that I had been skipping breakfast, then eating a small meal around 11 a.m. and feeling tired in the afternoon after I had lunch at 12:30 p.m. Planning meals and snacks in a food journal before consumption helps to ensure that your meals are healthy and energy-packed. Your journal doesn’t necessarily have to be handwritten as various apps are now available for meal tracking. It’s important to have a circle of family and friends who support your goals.
Drinking water to stay hydrated aids in keeping hunger at bay while preventing symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness and fatigue. Sometimes people think they are hungry, when in fact they are thirsty. The standard nutritional advice is to consume at least eight glasses of water a day.
A Final Note
A healthy diet is something that, contrary to common myths, can be achieved with not too much effort, and without giving up all of the foods we like. The keys are not to eat anything in excess, include a variety of foods, and participate in the right amount of physical activity. If you follow these essential tips for healthy eating, you will do wonders to improving your health.