We are now into February and thought you might like some healthy eating tips on how to continue to stay focused on healthy eating in 2015. Here are some simple tips to incorporate healthy eating:
Eat fruits or vegetables at every meal
Try to include a serving of fruit in each breakfast and snack, and two servings of veggies in every lunch and dinner. One serving is about 1 cup of fresh fruits or vegetables, or about the size of a tennis ball. An easy way to add fruit to your diet is to whip fruit into a smoothie, add it to oatmeal or yogurt, or just bite right in.
Make water your beverage of choice
You’ve heard about the unwanted effects of drinking both regular and diet soda, but you may not be aware of some of the benefits of drinking more water. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who get much of their daily fluid intake from plain water tend to have healthier diets overall, including more fiber, less sugar, and fewer high-calorie foods.
And in addition to hydrating you, water may be a helpful weight loss aid, by curbing appetite and boosting metabolism. One study found that people who drank about 7 cups of water a day, ate nearly 200 fewer daily calories compared to those who drank less than one glass. If you dislike the taste of plain water, spruce it up. Add wedges of lemon or lime, fresh mint leaves, cucumber slices, fresh grated ginger or organic citrus zest.
Choose whole-food starches
People are generally eating too many refined grains, including white versions of bread, pasta, rice, crackers and pretzels, in addition to baked goods and cereals made with refined starch. The intake of whole grains, like brown rice, whole wheat, and quinoa is on the rise, yet the average intake of whole grains in the U.S. is less than one serving a day. Research shows that a higher whole grain intake is tied to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
In 2015, strive to replace refined grains – which have been stripped of their fiber and natural nutrients – with 100% whole grain options (including gluten-free varieties if you need to or prefer to go gluten-free). Or choose non-grain nutrient-rich starches, such as skin-on potatoes, root vegetables, squash, beans, and lentils. If weight loss is a goal, moderate your portions rather than cutting out carbs altogether so you don’t miss out on the nutrients and sustained energy they provide, which are important for enhancing mood and exercise endurance, two other keys to successfully shedding pounds.
Budget your sugar intake
Currently, the average North American takes in a whopping 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. Added sugar doesn’t include the type put in foods by Mother Nature (like the sugar in fruit) but rather the kind added to foods, like sweetened yogurt, or the sugar you spoon into your coffee. According to the American Heart Association, the daily target for added sugar should be no more than 6 level teaspoons for women, and 9 for men – that’s for both food and beverages combined. It’s strict, but the target isn’t zero, which means you don’t need to banish sugar completely. Allowing yourself some of the sweet stuff can be a helpful way to stay on track, because swearing it off completely can result in intense cravings and rebound overeating.