1.) Set yourself up for success. Think about planning your diet as a set of small, manageable steps instead of one big drastic change. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories and portion sizes, focus on color, variety, and freshness. Start slow and make small changes over time.
2.) Moderation is key. Try not to think of certain foods as "off-limits" because when we ban or demonize certain foods, we tend to crave those foods more. If you find you crave certain foods more often, decrease the portion size and eat less my savoring the food with just a few bites.
3.) It is not just what you eat, it is how you eat. Healthy eating is not just the food on the plate, but it is also how one thinks about food, in terms of their relationship with food. It is important to not only slow down, but to think of food as nourishment and enjoyment. Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel full. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, as oftentimes we mistake thirst for hunger.
4.) Fill up on colorful fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are the foundation of a healthy diet and should make up 50% of the plate. not only are they low in calories, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. it is most important that we are getting these nutrients from real foods, as opposed to pills and powders.
5.) Eat more healthy carbs and whole grains. Choose healthy carbohydrate and fiber sources that are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. Healthy whole grains take longer to digest so they help one feel fuller longer as opposed to white flour and refined sugar which should be limited. Look for the words 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat to avoid refined foods.
6.) Enjoy healthy fats. Good sources of healthy fats are needed to nourish the brain, heart, and cells, as well as skin, hair, and nails. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA are particular important for reducing cardiovascular disease. Be sure to incorporate monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, and seeds) and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fatty fish (salmon).
7.) Put protein into your diet. Protein gives us the energy to get up and go. Protein is broken down into 20 amino acids that are the body's basic building blocks for growth and energy and are essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. Be sure to incorporate quality sources of protein such as beans, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, and turkey. Always buy meat that is free of hormones and antibiotics, more preferably, organic.
8.) Add calcium for strong bones. Calcium is an essential building block for lifelong long bone health in men and women. Incorporate dairy, non-dairy alternatives, vegetables, greens, and beans in order to get the proper nutrients in one's diet.
9.) Limit added sugar and added salt. Focus on fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. When we focus on these healthy foods, added sugars and salt tend to be naturally cut out of the diet. These items have said to cause many health issues and difficulty with weight management.
10.) Drink more water. Water is one of the central components to one's diet as it helps flush our system of waste and toxins. Staying hydrated can help one make healthier food choices.
Source: Healthy Ventura County. (2015). Top 10 Nutrition Tips. Retrieved from http://healthyventuracounty.org/healthy-eating/tips-for-a-healthy-diet/
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