So you’ve decided to make some changes and eat healthier, but you just don’t know where to start. Follow these 3 Simple Rules to Healthier Eating which can make healthy eating a bit easier without the need for a strict diet, calorie counting or a degree in nutrition.
Rule No 1 – Limit Packaged Food
You can guarantee most prepared items you purchase – especially if packaged – will include added fat for flavour and sodium and preservatives to maintain its shelf life. Even the best sounding salad at the drive thru is hiding crazy amounts of unhealthy fasts in the dressing. When you make it yourself, you can control what gets added and what doesn’t.
Try swapping or usual purchases for healthier versions of the same food – natural peanut butter vs regular, greek yogurt vs. regular and cheddar cheese vs processed slices.
If you have the option of fresh or canned – go for fresh (i.e. peaches in a can vs fresh peaches)
If you can make it yourself, you should – even a few nights a week will help. This goes for everything from lasagna to soup to salad dressings. Find a few easy recipes and make ahead meals or make batches to freeze and re heat on busy weeknights.
Bake not Buy – try to bake muffins, cookies, dessert breads and kids granola bars. Bake in batches and store in the freezer for easy school morning lunch making.
Rule No 2 – Balance Your Plate
Protein – lean meats baked or grilled, eggs, beans, fish, chicken
Vegetable – salad greens like spinach, all root vegetables, beans, broccoli, eggplant. The list is endless.
Fruit – in its true form (not a can or container) – berries, apples, grapes, bananas, melons.
Calcium – include calcium at breakfast and lunch by including yogurt, milk, cheese, tofu.
Fibre – include whole grains at every meal whether in the cereal at breakfast, home made muffins or baked oatmeal at snack to the whole grain bread at lunch and whole grain pasta, brown rice or quinoa at dinner.
Rule No 3 – Read Nutrition Facts
When you do have to buy packaged food, don’t depend on the front of the box or packaging to give you the straight facts – “low in fat’ hides that it contains artificial flavours, sugar and added sodium to enhance the flavour, “contains real fruit” is code for a tiny amount of added dried or pureed fruit is there in addition to the sugar, oil, salt and artificial colurs and flavours. The Nutrition facts are on the back – know what to look for when label reading.
Eating healthier just means eating more real food and ensuring you are getting enough fibre and protein to keep you full longer and avoid unnecessary snacking.