This wikiHow article shows you different ways to eat healthily.
Method 1 of 3: Choosing a healthy diet
Step 1. Choose the right carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and flour, are quickly absorbed by the digestive system. As a result, you get an excess of carbohydrates and your body produces large amounts of insulin to combat this excess. Do not eat too much of this. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are digested slowly by the body. These include whole wheat flour, vegetables, oats and whole grains such as brown rice. These foods usually also contain more vitamins and other nutrients that are beneficial to the body, and they contain more fiber (which helps your digestive system work properly).
Try leafy green vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and spinach. They are full of nutrients and you feel full quickly. Make a tasty stir-fry with olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper, then you have a delicious and healthy meal.
Choose whole wheat bread instead of white bread, and whole wheat pasta instead of 'regular' pasta. Processed carbohydrates such as those in white bread contain fewer nutrients, so therefore they are considered empty calories. Oatmeal is also very healthy.
Step 2. Eat lean proteins
Try to get 10 to 35% of your daily calories from protein. Proteins ensure that you can build muscle tissue and provide long-lasting energy. Some examples of healthy proteins are:
Lean fish, such as flounder, sole, cod, bass, and halibut.
Lean poultry such as chicken or duck breast.
Legumes such as beans and soy products (eg tofu).
Nuts, such as cashews.
Step 3. Know the difference between good and bad fats
Your body needs fat to function properly. But it is important to choose the right fats. Here's a brief introduction:
- Monounsaturated fats and omega3 fatty acids are good fats that you should eat regularly. They help lower the 'bad' cholesterol by raising the 'good' cholesterol. Foods that are high in fatty acids are olive oil, nuts, fish and various seeds. By adding these 'good fats' to your weekly diet, you lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Avoid trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats are a form of unsaturated fat that you mainly find in processed food, and if you eat this a lot you have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Read the labels of what you eat, and look for hydrogenated fat on the list.
Step 4. Stock up on superfoods
Nowadays the term superfood is used inappropriately, but sometimes it really is true. Superfoods can prevent heart disease and cancer, lower cholesterol and even improve your mood. Here are a few examples:
- Blueberries. Blueberries are good for your brain. If you can't find blueberries, try strawberries, raspberries, or cranberries.
- algae. It may not sound very appetizing, but knowing about its health benefits might give you a shot. Algae are rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, and they are good for maintaining a healthy intestinal flora.
- Salmon. Another sea creature that makes this list, and for good reason. Salmon is rich in omega3 fatty acids, a good kind of fat. Omega3 fats are good for blood pressure, brain function and heart.
- Cranberries. These red berries contain quercitin, an antioxidant, low in sugar and high in vitamin C, necessary for the growth and repair of cells and tissues throughout the body.
Step 5. Watch the amount of salt you eat
Although people need salt in moderation, too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Use salt in moderation, and read on the label how much salt a product contains.
Step 6. Eat everything in moderation
Avoid eating too much of any type of food. Try to vary your diet so that you eat a little bit of everything.
Some people can very well stop eating meat, sugar, alcohol or other things. But most of us let it sit for a while, then give in and eat too much of it. Avoid this cycle of giving up and overeating by allowing yourself to "sin" every now and then. For example, if you want to cut back on sugar, allow yourself dessert every Friday night and avoid it for the rest of the week. If you have something to look forward to, you can better manage the other days
Method 2 of 3: Making easy but healthy choices
Step 1. Drink plenty of water
Staying Hydrated with H2O is an easy and effective way to improve your health. If you drink enough water, you will also lose weight more easily because your stomach is full. Drink water before, during and after meals to support your digestion.
- If you feel like a snack, try drinking a glass of water first. If you are still hungry after 15 minutes, you can have a snack.
- Take water with you everywhere you go so you can grab it when you get thirsty.
Step 2. Forget sweet drinks
These include soft drinks, juices, sports and energy drinks, but also products with artificial sweeteners. Cutting out sweet drinks is one of the easiest ways to immediately improve your diet and become healthier. A white chocolate cream frappuccino contains 500 calories. While you can treat yourself to that, it's better not to make it a regular part of your diet.
Step 3. Consider joining 'Meatless Mondays'
Meatless Monday is an international campaign urging people not to eat meat one day a week. Eating less meat has all kinds of health benefits, because most people already get enough protein through their food.
Step 4. Forget fast food
Although everyone knows that fast food is bad for health, many people still eat too much of it. First, fast food is usually deep-fried, processed, and way too salty. Add the soda and fries and your meal can easily contain half of your daily recommended amount of calories. And to make matters worse, most of the fats in it are trans fats, which are the worst fats out there.
Step 5. Drink less alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption makes you gain weight and it is very difficult for your liver to process, which can lead to all kinds of diseases. It's important to drink in moderation, so if you do drink, have a glass of wine or beer with your meal rather than several drinks at the bar.
- Red wine contains a polyphenol called resveratrol, which scientists believe is good for the heart. Resveratrol improves the function of the blood vessels in the heart and lowers the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.
- Are you pregnant? Then it is recommended not to drink alcohol at all.
Method 3 of 3: Changing your setting
Step 1. Develop a healthy attitude towards food
Watch your eating habits carefully. Do you eat more when you are tense? Do you eat less because you feel like you have more control over yourself? Try to find out if you have an unhealthy emotional connection to food. If so, there are a few things to consider:
- Find a healthy replacement. If you find yourself binging on unhealthy foods when you're stressed, find a replacement activity -- for example, going for a long walk, taking a bath, or calling a close friend to chat. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that relaxes you so you don't want to eat again.
- Think of food as something to keep you alive. Western culture is full of messages that food is for entertainment or to combat boredom. Break this habit by consciously thinking about food in terms of what's good for your body. Ask yourself if what you put in your mouth is healthy for you, and if it keeps your body functioning the way it should.
- Consult a physician. An eating disorder is a mental illness, and you can't always stop this destructive behavior yourself. If you suspect you have an eating disorder (whether it's overeating or undereating), ask your doctor to refer you to the appropriate specialist.
Step 2. Calculate how many calories your body needs each day to function properly
This amount can vary greatly depending on your metabolism and level of physical activity. As a guideline, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you need to function properly. Otherwise, your body will break down muscle tissue to obtain energy.
- If you gain 5 pounds just by smelling a pizza slice, you probably shouldn't eat more than 2000 calories as a man and 1500 calories as a woman. Your height also plays a role here - if you are a bit taller you need more calories than if you are shorter.
- If you are someone who can eat without gaining even an ounce, or if you are very active, you can add 1000-2000 calories per day as a man, and slightly less as a woman.
Step 3. Don't skip breakfast
Many people do this because they think they will lose weight or because they just aren't hungry in the morning. Although the scientific evidence is not yet conclusive, there are several reasons not to skip breakfast, as many consider it 'the most important meal of the day'.
- Eating breakfast gets your metabolism going and keeps it active throughout the morning. This will keep you energized all morning.
- If you skip breakfast, you'll get so hungry by lunch that you'll overeat to compensate.
- A small breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. If you don't feel like a complete meal, at least drink a glass of water and have a piece of fruit, a granola bar or a toasted sandwich. Get a nutritious start by making a tasty breakfast smoothie.
- Don't skip breakfast the day you have an exam, job interview or other important event. Otherwise you will be distracted by hunger or you will not have enough energy to keep your brain working optimally.
Step 4. Eat slowly
Have you ever gulped down a huge plate of food and felt fine at first, but 15 minutes later thought you were going to explode? That's because your stomach needs some time to signal to your brain that you're full. Get around this problem by eating more slowly. That way you don't have too much to eat by the time your brain has received the message that you are full.
Slow yourself down by waiting 5 or 10 minutes at a time before starting the next course. Chew each bite carefully.
- Drink a full glass of water with your meal. If you stop and take a sip, you eat more slowly, and you feel full faster.
Put your fork and knife down between bites. This will physically remind yourself to swallow the food in your mouth before taking another bite.
Step 5. Eat five times a day
For example, you can eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and then two snacks. If you do this, you eat less at mealtime, your body doesn't have to work as hard to digest the food, and your blood sugar levels remain stable throughout the day.
- Low-fat yogurt is a great snack, and the good bacteria in it help against all kinds of intestinal problems.
- Chew your food better. Then your body can digest it better and absorb the nutrients better.
- Have patience. You won't see your cholesterol or weight drop drastically right away, and your energy levels won't skyrocket. You have to wait a while after you change your diet. You will probably see a change after a few weeks.
- Eat before you go grocery shopping so you can focus on your grocery list without feeling hungry.
- If a label says "no fat" or "no sugar" there are often a variety of chemicals in the product. Often, the simpler the ingredient list, the healthier the product. For example, it is always healthier to squeeze your own orange juice than to buy it in the store. If you make your own juice, you know exactly what's in it.
- The craving for fast food is usually over after you have eaten healthy for 2 weeks.
- Try to eat less fast food.
- Make sure you don't have too many unhealthy things in your house that you have a hard time resisting. Give or throw away things you don't want to eat.
- Losing weight does not always have to be about appearance, it is mainly about your health.
- Eat smaller portions. Use a smaller plate to make sure you eat smaller portions.