You always hear people talking about eating properly and eating better, but how exactly do you do that? If you want to improve your health and get your body feeling good and strong, follow the advice below to start eating properly
Part 1 of 3: Making Healthy Food Choices
1 Eat a balanced diet. Include a healthy balance of nutrient-rich carbohydrates, protein, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. This will help make sure your body gets the right balance of the vital vitamins and minerals it needs in order to keep you strong and healthy. Try to eat a diet of 30% vegetables, 20% fruit, 20% carbohydrates (starches like wheat, rice, and corn), 20% protein (which is found in meat, beans, and legumes), and 10% dairy products.
2 Don't skip meals. Definitely eat breakfast, as this starts your metabolism going early in the morning (since it slows down at night because you haven't eaten anything for awhile). You will also want to make sure to eat at regular intervals, to help make sure your body has the fuel it needs to run all day.
3 Don't waste calories on drinks. It is a good idea to drink only water or calorie-free drinks such as tea or black coffee whenever possible. Sugary drinks and juices may have hundreds of calories, and they don't make you feel any fuller. In essence, drinking them does nothing for you except quench your thirst and add calories to your count for the day.
- Drinks like fresh-squeezed juice are fine, however.
- If you want to still drink fruit juices but want to lessen the amount of sugar you are getting, water the juice down by at least 30%. You can increase this over time as you become accustomed to the taste.
4 Eat fewer unhealthy fats and empty calories. Generally reduce the amount of unhealthy saturated and trans fats in your diet. These are found in foods like chips, margarine, and many boxed or frozen foods. You’ll also want to cut out foods with empty calories, or ones which give you calories without giving you a proportional amount of nutrients (think white bread, chips, and candy). Both can lead you to gain weight or minimize the amount of healthy food you do eat
.5Eat more nutrient rich foods. Try to focus on eating foods which deliver lots of vital nutrients to your body. These are foods rich in vitamins and minerals. You can try citrus fruits, dark greens like kale and spinach, grains like brown rice and quinoa, lean proteins like lentils and chicken, and calcium rich dairy products like low-fat cottage cheese
Part 2 of 3: Eating the Right Amount
1 Eat only when you’re hungry. Many people seem to think that people get hungry at about 9 AM, 12 noon, and again at 6 PM. While this may be a generally good schedule for eating, remember that you don't have to eat at meal time if you're not hungry yet. Also, if you are hungry between meals, go ahead and have a healthy snack. It's not good to starve yourself between meals: if you allow yourself to become too hungry, you'll just overeat when the meal comes.
- Know what hungry feels like. Don't eat just because you're bored! Know that being hungry is a feeling of needing food, any food, in the pit of your stomach.
- Eat Slowly and stop eating when you’re satisfied, not when you’re full. After you're done eating, your stomach should not feel empty, but also not completely full. If you feel stuffed, you ate too much food. Acquire the habit of eating slowly so you can stop when you are satisfied, not full; the brain needs about 20 minutes to get the "Not hungry anymore" signal.
2 Eat better portion sizes. Remember that your stomach is about the size of your fist. Don't expect to stuff 10 times that amount of food into it without negative consequences. Something many people don't realize is that your stomach will stretch when you're used to eating a lot. If you only eat small amounts of food at a time, your stomach won't stretch out so much. With a smaller stomach, it won't take as much to make you feel full.
- Calorie counting may make portion control easier. The average adult needs 2000 calories a day.
- Don’t worry about how many calories you’re eating in a particular meal. The calories only matter over the course of the entire day. You can break up your calories into many smaller meals, two large ones, or anything in between. It’s up to you. Breaking up your meals may be better for your metabolism, however
3 watch your caloric intake. Calories are our body’s fuel. If you eat too many, your body will save up some of the extra (for a rainy day) and this is what makes us gain too much weight. Try counting your daily calories to make sure you aren’t exceeding the limit necessary to maintain your weight. If you’re eating way too many, or you want to lose weight, try cutting down your daily caloric intake to a reasonable amount and pair this with exercise.
4 Drink lots of water every day. This is very important. You may think you are hungry when, in fact, you are really just thirsty. It also makes your liver and kidney a lot happier. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or orange to your water for a great taste; cucumber slices for an even crispier taste!
- Eight 8oz glasses of water are recommended for most adults, though some people need more and some people need less.
Part 3 of 3: Building Healthy Ideas about Food
1 Don’t get suckered in to fat diets. Sufficient protein and a variety of fats (including Omega 3 fat, commonly found in fish oil) are essential to the body functioning correctly, and many healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables are inherently high in carbohydrates. Don't fall for fat diets that involve restricting any one macro nutrient.
2 Give yourself smart treats. You can treat yourself to tasty food without having to eat cake or cookies. There are plenty of healthy alternatives that are just as good. Try freezing low-fat Greek yogurt for an alternative to ice cream. Strawberries are a good alternative to candies. A peanut butter and banana sandwich is a good replacement for a s'more.
3 Save your sweet-eating opportunities. You know that you're going to eat some sweets at some point: your neighbor's birthday cake, Christmas dessert at your grandma's house, the chocolate your boyfriend got you, or the cookies that your kid made you. And, of course, everyone wants to indulge and splurge every once in awhile. The key is to allow yourself sweets at only these special times. It's a mistake to eat sweets regularly so that when you do reach these must-eat sweet times you've over-indulged.
4 Don't fantasize about food. Do you ever watch TV makes and notice you want to eat more? It's because of all those mouth-watering commercials with close ups of perfectly prepared food. Don't watch these, as it does nothing but make you think about food. Also, don't fantasize on your own time about just how great devouring an entire ice-cream cone would be. Just push it out of your mind and think of something else. This will help you crave those things less.
5 Don’t eat a huge meal when you go out. It’s very reasonable to want to eat a delicious meal at a restaurant, especially if you aren’t a very good cook. But understand that restaurant meals are often way too big. You shouldn’t eat that much food in one sitting! Instead, eat only half the meal and save the rest for lunch the next day. You can also order an appetizer, rather than a full meal if you know those portions may be better.