A lot of people are confused about how to eat right. And it’s no wonder, with all the information out there and all the food, supplement, and diet marketing trying to influence consumers. But really, eating well isn’t complicated at all. The below tips for healthy eating should convince you of that. As you can see from them, smart choices are actually simple.
People are also sometimes under the impression that eating healthy is expensive. But preparing food—even healthy stuff—at home is healthier and cheaper than eating out. Also, take a look at these budget-friendly healthy foods for some ideas of what to buy when you’re watching what you spend at the store. Our piece about saving money on groceries can help, too.
Make good use of these tips for eating healthy, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle for you and your family!
Easy Ways to Eat Healthy
- Make whole foods the majority of what you eat. Basically, these are any foods found in nature, more or less as you get them. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, shellfish, meat, and poultry are all whole foods. They’re so much healthier than processed foods.
- Eat whole grains instead of refined grains. Refined grains, like things made with white flour and white rice, have the healthy parts of the grain stripped away during processing. They mess with your blood sugar levels, energy, and appetite. Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, barley, bulgur, and other whole grains are much more nutritious and satisfying.
- Have fruit and/or veggies as half your food at each meal. You get lots of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients this way, and you’re filling up with fiber and not getting a lot of calories.
- Buy produce of all different colors. Vegetables, fruit, spices, and herbs get their color from their nutrients—especially antioxidants. If you shop to get varied colors, it’s an easy way to make sure you’re getting a variety of nutrients.
- Cook with spices and herbs. Fruit and veggies get most of the attention, but these types of plant-based foods are also packed with all sorts of nutrients. Plus they make healthy food taste even better!
- Eat protein that’s low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fats. Fish, shellfish, beans, peanuts, nuts, and seeds are good choices. Skinless poultry is a healthy lean protein too. Beef, pork, and dairy are proteins that are higher in saturated fat, so limit how much of them you eat.
- Have a seafood entree at least two times each week. Its omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients are good for your heart, skin, joints, and more.
- Have legumes at least two times each week too. These include the many types of beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. They’re a great source of protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and other good stuff.
- Snack on a handful of nuts. Healthy snacks help keep your energy up through the day and your appetite in check at mealtime. Nuts are satisfying and loaded with nutrients. But they’re also pretty high in calories, so don’t go nuts with them.
- Don’t eat anything that has trans fat. Check nutrition labels on packaged, processed foods for this incredibly unhealthy ingredient.
- Watch out for added sugar. Look at ingredient lists, and if sugar’s high up, avoid the food.
- Stay away from high sodium content also. Food with lots of salt contribute to high blood pressure and other problems. Nutrition labels say what percentage of daily recommended amount of sodium you get from each serving.
- Limit the fried and deep fried foods. These have lots of unnecessary calories. Baking or roasting, grilling, and broiling are healthier cooking techniques.
- Skip the multivitamins. It’s much better to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods. So, save the money and put it toward healthy ingredients.
- And skip the fad diets. If you’re trying to lose weight, focus on the above tips and getting more exercise. Pay attention to when you’re honestly hungry and when you’re satisfied. Fad diets—like those that exclude certain food groups or that have you eating dangerously little—are unhealthy and don’t work. Even if you lose some weight, you can’t stay on them for too long, so the weight just comes back. Adopt a healthier lifestyle instead!