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Contemplating a Diet? Just Eat Healthier Instead.

When you start thinking of diets, do you start thinking of salads? No surprise there. Well, after that, what else do you think of? Vegetables are probably the next thing on your list. People tend to assume every food that they eat when they are on diet is a healthy food. Common misconception. Look at the fat content in your salad dressing. Add in some cheese, bacon bits, and a generous serving of croutons and all of a sudden that salad isn't much better for you than a taco. Too often, people eat to lose weight. If you ate healthier, chances are some weight will come off anyhow. Rather than worry about what your scale says, focus instead, on your lifestyle and the way you feel. Being healthy doesn't mean you have to be a petite or have a 32 inch waist. It means feeling good physically as well as mentally. Do you have the energy to enjoy your day? Do you have the energy to enjoy every day? Relax. It really is not that difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle, feel better and still give yourself little indulgences and you don’t have to eat salads all day every day.

Fresh fruit really does a lot more for you when it is closest to its natural state. Ever eat strawberries right off of the vine? Not only do they taste considerably better, it’s doing more for your body too. They’ll satisfy a craving for sweets due to their natural sugars. Whole vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals, so choose more green, orange and yellow vegetables. Steam them to retain the most nutritional value. Try cooking them over a wok with some low sodium soy sauce.

My wife comes from an Italian family so you know we’re eating pasta once a week or so. There’s nothing wrong with that if you are smart about it. Pasta and/or baked goods should be made from whole grains. Try to stay away from white breads and noodles if you can. These are made from flour that has had much of the nutritional content removed. On top of that, the high starch content in white bread will affect your blood sugar as quickly as regular sugar. Avoid sugary snacks and pastries as well. An apple is good for you, an apple pie really isn't. If you have to eat the apple pie, eat a small portion.

Shop for lean meats. An often overlooked meat is fish. The omega-3 essential fatty acids in ocean fish are often deficient in our diets, so start to add more seafood to your diet. It’s recommended two or three times per week. Baked fish and chicken are healthier than fried. Of course it could go without saying, but processed meats, hot dogs, bacon, and sausages have a lot of junk in them you don't want in your body, but if you love these meats, find healthier versions sold at health food stores. Turkey is almost always available as an alternative.

Stick to water as your main drink. It’s the most plentiful and least expensive thing you can drink. Limit your soft drinks. If you want to drink a cola, go with the diet version where possible. After a while, you’ll not crave the “regular” version.

Keep healthy snacks like fruits, crunchy vegetables with dips, or nuts handy. There is nothing wrong with having a little treat like a candy bar once in a while. Once. In. A. While.

Like watching your TiVo shows at night? Every feel the inclination to snack while you catch up on Heroes? The same tips apply here too. If you don't want to completely give up snacking, keep low calorie foods close by. It’s way to easy to finish off that bag of Dorito’s.

Don’t skip a meal. This is important. If you skip breakfast, you may find that you lose your energy by noon. Rather than skipping breakfast completely, split it in half. Eat a small breakfast early, such as an egg, small serving of oatmeal, or a slice of whole grain bread. I like to eat oatmeal early in the morning and then some kind of fruit later. Lately it’s been two kiwi or a grapefruit.
Are you one of the people who feel like your mornings just can't begin without a cup of coffee? Or two or three? If you’ve got certain foods or drinks you won't give up, enjoy them in smaller amounts. Buy one candy bar enjoy it. Don’t buy and eat two just because they were on sale at 2/$1 at the gas station. Maybe you don’t want to switch to decaf yet. How about mixing half regular coffee and half decaffeinated coffee? Limit other treats or favorite foods that aren't healthy, maybe let yourself eat them one time per week. My wife and I have tried to treat ourselves to a day of “whatever” foods if we feel like we’ve done well for a week or so. It’s nice. We don’t feel too guilty about it.

Take your time. It’s not gonna happen overnight. Start with today and try to add to it. Eat smaller portions. Eat wiser foods. Add a little exercise here and there. Maybe park out in the back of the lot and walk to the store. Grab a bottled water instead of a Pepsi.

Here is a short list of unhealthy foods and healthy foods.

Here’s a quick recap of healthy and unhealthy foods.

Unhealthy Foods
  • Battered and deep fried foods
  • Sugary sodas
  • Processed lunch meats
  • Greasy snack chips
  • White bread and refined pasta
  • Most canned spaghetti and ravioli
  • Sugary breakfast cereals
  • Frozen fried chicken, fish sticks and corn dogs
Healthy Foods
  • Green and brightly colored vegetables
  • Dark leafy greens and lettuce
  • Fresh fruits and berries
  • Lean turkey and chicken
  • Nuts, dried fruits and healthy snacks
  • Whole grain breads and pasta
  • Healthy cooking oils like canola and olive oils
  • Grass fed beef and bison
  • Cold water oily ocean fish
  • Low fat milk or soy beverages
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes

1 comment:

Jason said...

The problem is that really good-tasting, healthy food tends to be more expensive....

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