Maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle involves a host of factors. Getting off the couch to be more active is one such factor, as is taking control of your diet so it’s helping you and not hurting you.
While adopting a more active lifestyle is a relatively simple step for many people, modifying a diet is oftentimes a much steeper hill to climb. Dietary habits can be hard to break. But altering your selections so the food you consume is helping you instead of hurting you is possible, and you won’t have to abandon your favorite foods, either. The following are a few tips aimed at helping you make your diet work for you.
* Choose the right foods. Many people feel the culprit behind their unhealthy weight is the portions they consume. While portion size might have something to do with it, the foods you’re eating are likely the primary suspect. If your diet is devoid of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and the dairy products you choose are not fat-free or low-fat, then this could be why you have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Choose low-fat or fat-free, formerly known as “skim,” milk and dairy products instead of whole milk for your morning cereal or when preparing recipes that call for cheese. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains each day.
Choose lean meat when buying red meat, but don’t overdo it even if you are buying lean meat. Red meat once per week might be enough to satisfy your craving, so enjoy poultry and fish for dinner on other nights of the week.
* Alter your recipes. Many of the foods you enjoy may not be unhealthy. But how you prepare those foods could be compromising their nutritional value or unnecessarily adding calories and causing weight gain. For example, fried foods are typically loaded with salt and contain more calories than foods that are baked or grilled. Foods that are fried are typically fried in oil, and that oil undergoes changes to its molecular structure during the frying process. The molecules become harmful free radicals that can damage the body’s cells while negatively affecting your cholesterol levels and your body weight. Instead of frying foods like fish or chicken, grill or bake them instead. It’s alright to occasionally indulge in some fried chicken or other popular fried foods, but keep such indulgences to a minimum.
Another way to alter your recipes is to replace potentially harmful ingredients with lower-calorie alternatives. When preparing a meal that calls for butter, choose a more heart-healthy alternative such as a low-calorie butter spread. You likely won’t be able to taste the difference, but your body will feel the difference.
* Plan your snacks. Many people run into trouble when they find themselves hungry in the hours between lunch and dinner. Healthy snacks that are rich in nutrients do not seem as readily available as snacks like potato chips or cookies that provide little or no nutritional value. But snack time does not have to be a daily sacrifice of discipline in favor of convenience.Plan ahead for snack time just as you do for meal time, packing items like fresh fruit, diced-up vegetables or low-fat yogurt when you leave for work each morning. These foods can satisfy hunger just as successfully as their less healthy alternatives, but they won’t do so at the cost of your waistline.
Food is too often seen as the enemy for men and women looking to maintain a healthy weight. But when you choose nutrient-rich, low-fat foods, then maintaining a healthy weight becomes a lot easier. TF134072