10 Tips for Eating Healthy
Check out my 10 tips for healthy eating that I’ve learned over the years from professional dietitians and nutritionists:
1. Eat small meals every 3-4 hours.
Spacing your meals at short intervals and eating on a regular schedule maintains a steady blood sugar level, thereby controlling hunger. That also increases your metabolism because you’re not starving yourself but constantly fueling your body, making it burn calories faster. It is recommended by most nutritionists to eat four to five small meals, rather than three big meals a day. It is hard to find time to eat five times a day, but even a piece of fruit can be counted as a meal.
2. Include protein, fat, and carbohydrates in every meal.
Adding fat and protein to each meal makes you feel fuller longer because it takes longer to digest. And carbohydrates give you energy and stamina. Eating a balanced meal that contains foods from each food group is the best way for maintaining a healthy weight.
3. Add vegetables to your meals whenever you can.
Your mom probably waggled her finger at you as a child, telling you to “Eat your veggies.” Well she was right. Vegetables increase the volume of the meal without adding a lot of calories. Raw or steamed veggies have very little calories but take up a lot of space in your stomach, making you feel fuller. Plus they are high in fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements, and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.
4. Eat breakfast and start your day right.
Most nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, and even athletes will agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Danielle drilled this into my brain, “You should be eating breakfast within the hour of waking up in the morning.” Morning is when your metabolism is working at its optimum and your body requires the right fuel to start going. Your breakfast should be no less than 30 per cent of your daily caloric intake. This will ensure that you have high energy throughout the day, and will not have you starving at dinner time. People who eat a big breakfast are less likely to eat too much at dinner.
5. Split your lunch into two parts.
Instead of eating a big lunch and feeling sluggish afterwards, try eating two smaller lunches three hours apart. Stretching it out will also keep you full enough that you don’t starve by dinner time. Your lunches should be a combined 40 per cent of your daily caloric intake.
6. Don’t eat dinner too late.
Try not to eat dinner past 8 pm, as you risk packing on the pounds more. Your metabolism naturally slows down at night, making it burn calories slower. Also, keep refined and simple carbohydrates (white bread, white-flour pasta, white rice, dessert, alcohol and any sugar) to a minimum or avoid completely at dinner. If you must eat after 8 pm, try not to finish the entire portion, and spend at least two hours moving around or doing some moderate activity (not lying down) before going to sleep, so your body can digest the food better and faster. Your dinner should be no more than 30 per cent of your daily total calories. It’s better to eat more in the beginning of the day, and less at the end.
7. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
If you are managing your weight, alcohol is a big obstacle to your goal because it’s high in simple sugars and calories. Having a couple of cocktails with dinner can easily put you over your daily calorie limit. If you feel you can’t avoid it, substitute alcohol for starch at dinner. Have a drink but don’t eat the starch.
8. Use your hand as a guideline for how much you should eat.
Use this very simple, yet ingenious trick when controlling portions: your fist is the size of two servings of carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta, corn, peas), and your palm is a serving of protein (meat, fish). So eat a palm-size portion of protein, a fist-size portion of carbs, and as many vegetables as you like … with minimal, or no oil and dressing, of course.
9. Eat slowly.
It takes about 20 minutes after you’ve eaten for your brain to receive the signal that you are full. So don’t rush, and take your time while eating. Chew the food thoroughly and drink lots of water between bites. Once you’ve finished eating, and you still feel hungry, try waiting 20-30 minutes before indulging in a snack or a second helping. Most likely the feeling that you’re still hungry will go away. People who eat slowly tend to be slimmer than those who scarf their food down in a hurry.
10. Turn off the TV for dinner.
Turning off the TV and removing any other distractions is one of the best tips for weight control. Eating in front of the television distracts your brain, and you are more likely to consume about 30 per cent more food without even realizing it. A lot of people also associate watching TV with snacking. It’s been a long day at work, you’re tired, your favorite show is on, so you think why not make it more enjoyable with a bowl of chips. This is a dangerous habit, and you should disassociate food with any activity such as reading, watching television, surfing the internet or talking on the phone. You should eat at your dinner or kitchen table, without any distractions.
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