If you're in the process of upgrading your nutrition to a healthier diet it can feel intimidating with all the mind boggling and oftentimes contradictory information too readily available. But it doesn't have to be either confusing, overwhelming or painful replacing an unhealthy diet. If you want to get in shape, stay lean, and increase your health you can make a huge difference with just a few short, simple changes. Read on for the six steps you need to follow to overhaul your diet.
Cut Out or Reduce Sugary Drinks
An easy way to improve your diet is to significantly reduce, or cut out altogether, any flavoured waters, sports drinks, concentrated juices, or sodas, ( coca cola, pepsi). These tend to be filled with sugar and offer little to no nutritional benefit.
Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Fruits and vegetables are another crucial component of a healthy diet and offer the most nutrients per serving.
Fruits and vegetables are packed full of natures finest vitamins, minerals and rich in anti-oxidants which is essential to your body and mind and that can’t be obtained from other foods. As a plus they help keep you full for longer. Aim for a minimum of five servings of vegetables per day, and between two and three servings of fruit each day. Try adding exotic fruits such as mango, papaya and fresh pineapple to your diet if you're unfamiliar with these tropical fruits, your taste buds as well as your body will thank you for it.
Cut Down On Processed, Pre-Prepared Foods
Processed foods have more salt and fat, and offer little nutritional benefits. Replacing convenience foods with freshly made home cooked dishes with generous servings of nutrient rich vegetables will feed your body, mind and soul with natural goodness. If you are short on time, you can batch cook on the weekends or a free evening. This will allow you to enjoy the convenience of pre-pared food without over loading on harmful preservatives.
Reduce Fried Food
The secret to success is to enjoy everything in moderation, which means you don’t have to cut out fried food altogether. You can, however, make healthy substitutes for the majority of your meals. For example, switching butter for olive oil, or deep-fried fish for grilled or poached options.
As a rule, you should seek to eat healthy around 80% of the time, and choose healthy food options during this period. The other 20% of the time you can indulge in and enjoy butter to your heart’s content if you choose. Although you might find that you will no longer want to.
Watch Your Intake of Grains
Just like fats, grains are not inherently a bad thing. However, it’s a good idea to enjoy these in moderation. Grains can cause bloating and uncomfortable reactions in the gut, and this can leave you feeling less than your best.
Opt for whole oats, such as steel-cut oats, oat groats and rolled oats. Whole wheat pasta, noodles, whole grain breads or rye and spelt or sourdough breads are all healthier options to white. Substitute brown rice which contains more fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than your usual white rice. You could also try adding couscous, quinoa and barley to add variety and a host of added health benefits.
Up Your Water Intake
Drinking water is the fastest and easiest way to see significant benefits in your health. It clears your skin, improves your energy, and keeps your body balanced and hydrated. This, in turn, allows you to concentrate more effectively.
As an added bonus, water can also be a very useful tool for weight loss. Often, when we think we are hungry we are actually feeling thirsty. A glass of water can satiate your appetite as well as quench your thirst. You should aim for approximately eight glasses of water each day.
If you feel that drinking plain water is too bland and boring try substituting some of your water daily intake with some of these fruit-infused ideas. Try adding lemon, lime, mint cucumber, watermelon, there is literally an endless array of delicious fruit-infused water combination to try and as an added bonus you will get many of the nutrients available in juices without the added sugar and preservatives.
Getting started with a healthy diet does not have to be overwhelming or intimidating. By making just a few simple changes you can lose any excess weight and boost your overall health and wellbeing.