A healthy diet helps us improve our physical health, helping us maintain a healthy weight, and avoid certain health problems. Did you know that your diet can have a huge impact on your mental and emotional health? Studies have linked those eating a typical ‘western diet’ (a diet filled with processed foods, prepackaged meals, fast food, sugary foods) have higher rates of depression, stress, and anxiety. Eating an unhealthy diet may play a role in the development of mental disorders such as; ADHD and Alzheimer’s.
Starting a healthy lifestyle change can be difficult to keep up, so we have given you some tips below on how to eat healthier.
1. Prepare Your Own Food – Cut back on eating out and start preparing your own meals at home. This way you can better manage what goes into your meals and take charge of what you are consuming.
2. Simplify – Don’t become overly concerned with counting calories, instead make sure your diet is full of variety, color, and freshness. Start avoiding packaged snacks and meals and start cooking with a variety of fresh ingredient.
3. Focus on Portion Sizes – You want to focus on portion sizes instead of serving sizes. Each meal should consist of 4 portions. The best way to determine portion size is to measure it visually. Our point of reference on how large a portion should be is based on the size of your fist when closed tightly. Aim for 2 portions of fruits and vegetables, 1 portion of protein, and 1 portion of either whole grains or legumes.
4. Remove Tempting Foods – It is hard to stay on track if you are constantly looking at foods that are full of sugar and empty calories. We recommend going through your fridge and cupboards and removing any packaged, processed, and sugary foods that you might be tempted to eat.
5. Eat More Healthy Carbs – Choose healthy carbohydrates and fiber sources such as whole grains. Replace unhealthy carbs (white flour, white rice, and refined sugar) with healthy carbs such as: whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
6. Enjoy Healthy Fats – Not all fats are created equal though some fats are unhealthy for you and can increase your risk for health problems, good fats are essential for your physical and emotional health. Replace the ‘bad’ fats (trans fat) with ‘good’ fats such as: monounsaturated fats (avocados, nuts, and seeds) and Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3s (fatty fishes such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds).
7. Eat a Colorful Diet – Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are nutrient packed, full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables everyday. Deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
8. Read Labels – When purchasing food make sure to read the labels, even food claiming to be healthy can be full of sugar and unhealthy fats.
9. Drink Lots of Water – Many people are not drinking enough water leaving them dehydrated which can cause fatigue, headaches, and low energy. It is also common to mistake thirst for hunger. Aim to drink at least 64 oz of water a day.
10. Moderation is Key – There are going to be days that you don’t eat as healthy as you should and that is okay. Allow you self to have foods that you enjoy just keep it in moderation.