Healthy green salad

Steps On How To Start Eating Healthier

A few changes in your lifestyle could have quite a significant impact on your health. If you were to implement only six of the eight recommendations listed below into your diet plan, you would notice a huge difference. Be committed to achieving, at least, one healthy eating goal a week for the next one and a half months.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition PALA+ is a good program that you can use to track your progress. A program of the President’s Challenge, PALA+ is aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles through a combination of proper diet and exercise.

Its six-week program would significantly help you in attaining some of your objectives towards managing and improving your health outcomes.

1. Change your diet by ensuring that fruits and vegetables make up half of what is on your plate

Go for dark green, orange, and red vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes among other vegetables that you eat alongside your meals. Make your smoothies or desserts and side dishes have fruits as the main component. Fiber, minerals, and vitamins that are critical for a healthy body are usually in larger quantities in vegetables and fruits that are more colorful. As such, strive to make your plate more colorful.

colorful fruit and vegetables

2. Half of all grains you ingest should be whole grains

Simply switching to eating whole grain food from refined grain is one of the most effective ways to increase your whole grain consumption. For instance, stop eating white bread and instead eat whole wheat bread. When you go shopping read the ingredients list and go for groceries that have whole grains ingredients as their largest component.

Find phrases such as:

  • wild rice
  • quinoa
  • rolled oats
  • oatmeal
  • buckwheat
  • bulgur
  • brown rice
  •  whole wheat

It is always better if such ingredients are listed first on the ingredients list as it shows they are a significant percentage of the product.

3. Go with low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk

While both contain similar amounts of essential nutrients and calcium like whole milk, these have less saturated fat and fewer calories.

4. Eat different types of lean protein

There are many types of protein foods available from seeds, nuts, eggs, peas, dry beans, seafood, poultry, and meat. When you go shopping for proteins, go for meats that are labeled as 90% lean or greater. Such foods include poultry such as chicken or turkey breast or ground beef.

5. Determine the amount of sodium in foods

Check out the Nutrition label and go for foodstuffs that have reduced levels of sodium such as frozen meals, bread, and soup. Canned foods labeled “no salt added,” “reduced sodium,” and “low sodium” are what you need to be buying.

6. Eliminate the sugary drinks and drink water instead

Reduce your calories intake by cutting out sweetened beverages and drinking water. American diets are bad for health since they are full of calories from soda, sports, and energy drinks. If you need to add some flavor to your drink, some watermelon, a slice of lemon or lime or a splash of any natural juice in your glass of water will do the trick.

7. Incorporate seafood into your diet

oysters on the half shell

Seafood includes foods such as shellfish (for example oysters, mussels, and crab), and fish (for example trout, tuna, and salmon). Seafood is advantageous to health since it has the omega 3 fatty acids (these fats are heart healthy), minerals, and proteins. Eight ounces of the variety of seafood available is the dietary recommendation for adults while children can eat a lesser amount.

8. Reduce solid fat consumption

Cut down on your consumption of foods that contain solid fats.  Listed below are some of the foods that contain solid fat that are most commonly consumed by Americans.

  • ice cream
  • fatty and processed meats (e.g., ribs, bacon, hot dogs, sausages)
  • pizza
  • cookies
  • cakes among other desserts (usually made from shortening, margarine or butter)

You could start full force or take baby steps, either way, start making better choices to help yourself.

Here is a guide to give you an overview.

Healthy Eating guide
Adapted from the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, 2013

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