You are what you eat, as they say! For those who have diets that aren’t balanced; you will quickly know when your body isn’t feeling great and isn’t reacting well to your diet. In fact, for people who do eat well, straying from your usual food choices can also cause an imbalance in how you feel that can be directly related to what you have eaten. In a world where food choices are plentiful, and there is an abundance of food choices to be made, it can be hard to know exactly what the best foods are to eat for you.
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Making better choices about how you fuel your body can have a dramatic impact on your health. No one should be looking at an unhealthy diet all the time, nor should you be depriving yourself of foods unless you have a food allergy or intolerance. A balanced diet is the best way to give your body what it needs. And if you can’t go due to restrictions, then your next best option is to get what you are lacking from adding supplements to your diet.
But how do you ensure that you are getting everything that your body needs every day?
The best way to make sure you are eating healthily is to plan and prep your meals beforehand. Spend some time writing a list of meals that are balanced and then prepare enough to last you a few days or even a week or so if the meals are freezable. This will give you meals ready to hand and take away the temptation to reach for unhealthier choices too often.
Do the same for snacks too. Always have a healthier option to hand before reaching for the junk food options. Try to limit your refined sugar and processed food intake and try to replace some or all of your snacks with healthier options.
When you aren’t drinking enough fluids, it can be easy to mistake thirst for hunger and immediately grab for a snack. It is recommended that each person drinks on average, 8 cups of water a day. More if the weather is hot or if you are working out. Drinking little and often throughout the day will reduce signs of dehydration and help you to remain adequately hydrated.
Drinking more water will then have a positive impact on how much you are eating by way of making you feel fuller for longer in between meals. While water is optimal, low calorie or sugar-free drinks also count towards your fluid intake and will help to keep you hydrated all day.
Boredom eating or grazing is a common problem with many people. If you find you are reaching for food for no reason other than boredom or comfort eating, then it may be time to look into ways to occupy your time to reduce the chances of you overeating or eating the wrong foods.
Take up a new hobby, read a book, start working out, practising self-care or meditation. The list can go on. Whatever works for you to help you overcome unhealthy eating habits, can be hugely beneficial to make sure you are eating well and avoiding overeating or binging on the wrong type of foods. If you feel this is an area you will struggle with, contact your primary care physician to see what help is available.
If you don’t know what type of foods are healthy for you to be eating, then it may be time to brush up on your knowledge. Your body needs a balanced diet, including all the major food groups. No food should be off-limits only eaten in moderation and conjunction with a healthy diet. Replacing food groups, you are omitting for health, allergy reasons or vegans, making sure you get the nutrients from a different source is essential.
Build your meals around fruits or vegetables, which should make up the majority of your meal. Starchy carbohydrates should be around a third then add in your fish or protein to complete your meal.
Snacking on healthy fruits and nuts throughout the day will help to keep you fuller as will maintaining hydration levels. Keep your saturated fat intake low and reduce artificial sugars too.
Remember, it can take a long time to undo bad habits you have picked up over the years. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you find yourself slipping back to unhealthy food choices. The trick is that you know how to eat well and can step back into eating well quickly.