The battle to eat well and stay healthy is long and hard. Many people strive to achieve their goal weights and lifestyles in a sustainable and healthy way. There is a lot of conflicting information on the best way to do it, so it can be confusing and may even seem unattainable.
Many of the problems you may have with the concept of eating well stem from unrealistic expectations. The world continually forces us to believe that we need to achieve supermodel status on diet alone, but that’s not how it works!
What is the correct answer to this confusion? What do you have to do to stay healthy for years to come with a good, balanced diet and positive habits? Is Positive Thinking Really All You Need? Here’s how nutritionists reveal 4 easy ways to eat right and stay healthy.
1. Beware of dietary tricks
Diet culture has spread across our world and covered it with generic recommendations that are marketed to look like they would work for everyone. They won’t, and you should do what you can not to fall in love with them.
Licensed and registered dietitian Lindsay Birchfield, also an activist for health and body issues, explains that the diversity of human beings means there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Bodies and nutrition are so incredibly complex that there is no way there is a diet that is good even for most human beings. It just isn’t scientific!
The same goes for concepts like diet foods, which are also created for marketing, not precision.
- Reduced fat
- Low in fat
- Low in calories
These labels sound great, but the truth is that most diet foods need to go a long way to make up for those missing components. Texture and flavor are lost when fat and other so-called “unhealthy” ingredients are removed from normal foods, so diet foods must be made palatable with all sorts of additives.
The result? Studies show that these diet foods often have more added sugars or even more calories. Basically, if you really want to eat a healthy diet, go for whole foods over fad “diet” products.
While you’re at it, here are more diet tips you shouldn’t follow:
Yes, you can eliminate expensive “superfood” products. Although they are certainly healthy, eating them regularly can be unsustainable in the long run due to cost and availability. To stay truly healthy, licensed and registered, dietitian Marisa Moore recommends simply adding organic and fresh vegetables to your meals instead.
· Search for replacements for all favorites
Yes, you should find alternatives to things like fast food burgers and fried foods. But you don’t need to replace all your favorite treats. In fact, Shana Minei Spence, a registered dietitian and certified dietitian-nutritionist, says that it may actually be wiser to allow yourself to indulge in the foods you crave from time to time. As long as you eat them in moderation, there is nothing wrong A cupcake or some fries once a week.
Use of tracking applications
It’s easy to become overly reliant on apps that track food intake and exercise. But if all you are trying to do is stay healthy, this is counterproductive. According to licensed and registered dietitian Cara Harbstreet, this only makes you less and less in contact with your body as you slip into a false sense of security. Delete your tracking apps it allows you to return to your roots and become one with your body again.
2. Add certain healthy nutrients to your diet
The nutrients you put into your body are incredibly important, which is evident when you’re trying to eat right. But there are countless different nutrient and food component options that sound healthy and good for you. Which ones should you focus on? Let’s start with these!
· Whole grains
It’s relatively easy to switch from white or refined grains to brown or whole grains. While refined carbohydrates have links to all kinds of higher disease risks, according to studies, whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, and more that make them healthier in the long run.
Protein helps stabilize satiety, which means it can make you feel full, and increasing protein intake has been shown to help people consume fewer calories per day. This is finally positive to control weight and reduce cravings. Additionally, protein’s ability to aid in muscle mass retention means that it can also help you burn extra calories throughout the day while preventing muscle loss as you age.
Probiotics are typically found in fermented foods and are very important for digestion. They help to keep the gut well balanced with a mix of healthy bacteria and a beneficial microbiome.
Fiber is incredibly important to the health of your body. Registered dietitian and certified dietitian-nutritionist Maya Feller says that fiber is responsible for creating good bacteria in the gut, helping with bowel movements and digestion. It also helps you feel full and depending on investigation, can reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Phytonutrients are plant-based compounds made from chemicals of all kinds that provide unique benefits to the body. One of the biggest examples of this is antioxidants, which protect the body from free radical damage. Berries and other plant foods are a great source of phytonutrients. With so many advantages, it is almost a crime not to eat them! They are cardioprotective and packed with many components that will keep you healthy, says Feller.
It’s easy to get sucked into meal prep tips and lose sight of what’s really important. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you have prepared relatively healthy food and can now eat it. So instead of stressing about how everyone says you should do things, put your positive thinking and prepare food in the way that works best for you. For example:
Relaxed meal preparation
If you are meal preparation, You will want to make sure your plan is reliable, but it shouldn’t be too strict either, as that will limit and stress you out. Rebecca Scritchfield, a registered dietitian nutritionist, recommends being flexible and relaxing a bit about what your idea of ”good” meal prep is. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and take-out are really all you need!
Eat when you’re hungry
If your stomach starts to growl, it is because you are hungry and your body needs food. That is the end of the story! So if you’re feeling hungry outside of normal meal hours, it’s perfectly okay to eat. Bodies aren’t robots, they don’t follow a timer, Spence says, and there are many factors that influence what can make you hungry. Just eat when you feel like you need to and you will be fine.
Do not limit foods to specific foods
You probably have an idea of what is classified as “breakfast food”, “lunch food”, and so on. Scritchfield states that it is not necessary to label food this way. Realistically, you can eat any of those foods at any meal. Breakfast for dinner is no problem when you stop restricting your food to specific times of the day! This allows you to enjoy more flexibility with your meals.
4. Change the way you think about healthy eating
We live in a world that focuses on “healthy eating” based on diet. It’s about restraint and discipline. But that’s not sustainable and it’s not good for your psyche either! Your relationship with food can become dysfunctional if you only follow what the world says is best. Here are some areas where your prospects could be holding back your healthy eating:
Calories should not count
Yes, you’ve been taught to count calories all your life, but as long as you don’t eat huge pizzas every day, there is no point in doing this. What you should count is the nutrients you get from your food, says nutritionist Rhiannon Mack. For example, 400 calories from vegetables is inherently a better choice than 200 empty calorie fries.
You should not eliminate food
People talk about restricting foods and eliminating “bad” foods all the time, but this is not a good idea. It increases the risk of cravings and does not last. Spence says that adding ingredients to generally unhealthy meals is always a better option. For example, instead of cutting ramen noodles out of your life, start adding veggies or protein to transform them into a better, more filling meal.
· Do not skip meals
Skipping meals to make up for an unhealthy meal you ate before is not the way to go. If you tend to forget to eat because you are distracted or skip meals due to feelings of guilt, it’s time to unlearn those habits. Registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor Rachael Hartley states that eating regularly is crucial to feeling energized, and if overall health is what you want, you must eat!
Try mindful eating
How often do you get distracted while eating? Do you usually use the phone, watch a program, or read a book or newspaper while eating? Well that could be part of the problem! Mindful eating can help bring joy back to the act of consuming food, says registered dietitian and registered nutritional therapist in eating disorders Erica Leon. This involves tuning in your senses while eating. So drop your distractions and pay attention to the look, smell, texture and taste of what you eat. Mindful eating helps you savor food and feel full faster, while improving your relationship with food!
Eating right should be a long-term commitment that is not restrictive, boring, or unpleasant. If you feel that your food choices tend to be unattractive to you, or you find yourself restricting so many aspects of your diet, then there is a good chance that things will not work out for more than a few months.
It sounds difficult, but avoiding diet tricks, adding positive nutrients to food, tailoring food preparation to what works best for you, and changing the old stigma surrounding food can help you eat well and stay healthy. Keep your thinking positive and start working on your long-term dietary health today!