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Planning a healthy diet in 10 steps

First of all you have to know that healthy eating is not about strict nutrition , being unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great and  having more energy.

Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat in a smart way—it’s not just what you eat, but how and when you eat. Your food choices can reduce your risk of illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes, as well as defend against depression and improve your overall immune system. Additionally, learning the habits of healthy eating can improve your health by boosting your energy,stabilizing your mood and sharpening your memory  . Expand your range of healthy food choices and learn how to plan ahead to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and don’t forget healthy is tasty! 🙂

Step 1: Take it slow.

Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Approach the changes gradually and with commitment and you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.

Counting calories or measuring portion sizes should not be your main goals. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that contain  fresh ingredients rich in vitamins and minerals.   Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or using honey instead of sugar, as a sweetener .

Every healthy change you make  improves your diet. You don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. If you are craving for ice-cream you can eat a cup of low-fat ice-cream with no extra syrup, for example.  The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy and reduce the risk of disease. Every healthy food choice you make counts!

Step 2 : Eat with moderation.

Eat smaller portions! You will realize that even if you are very hungry and you put a small portion in your plate, and eat it slowly, you will feel full after 15 minutes. The key is to it your food slowly and chew it very well.

Step 3 : Eat correctly.

Take time to chew your food as much as you can and also savor every bite. Another important trick is to drink a glass of water whenever you feel like eating something. Our brain can sometimes mistake being hungry with being thirsty.

Step 4 : Eat colourful vegetables and fruits.

Vegetables and fruits represent a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers and other nutrients that our body needs to function at its best. Eat them preferably raw or steamed , or you can cook them in the oven. Avoid as much as you can eating fried or boiled vegetables because they lose a huge amount of nutrients from being overly cooked.

Step 5 : Drink 1,5 – 3 l of water each day!

Water is very important because it  helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins. There are some people who may feel like they are retaining a lot of water so they prefer to drink less, there’s nothing more wrong than this! If  you are drinking small amounts of water , your body will store most of  it because it has been deprived for so long from the amount of water needed. Try drinking over 2 l per day and eating less salty foods. The first day you may feel a little swollen , but after the excess salt is eliminated and you keep giving your body the amount of water it needs , you will definitely see some improvements.

Step 6 : Eat more healthy carbs and avoid the bad ones.

Include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Avoid white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients.

Step 7 : Eat healthy fats and avoid the unhealthy ones.

Add to your healthy diet monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like  peanut ,olive, sesame, grape seeds oil, as well as avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans) and seeds (such as pumpkin). Also,  polyunsaturated fats ( like Omega-3 and Omega-6)  found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring,  sardines, pangasius, tuna are a great way to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL).

Eliminate from your diet saturated fats, found in animal sources including red meat and whole milk dairy product and also trans fats found in some margarines, candies,  snack foods, fried foods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Step 8 : Limit sugar and salt .

Limit sodium to 2,300 mg per day, the equivalent to one teaspoon of salt. Eliminate fast foods and snacks that have a very high level of sodium. Try compensating by adding aromatic herbs to you meals , you will see that you won’t need to add salt anymore.

Switch sugar with honey! Honey is excellent in so many ways. Eating about 3 full teaspoons of honey everyday improves your immune system.

Step 9: Eliminate alcohol, caffeine and smoking.

The only healthy alcoholic drink is red wine. It is advised to drink a glass of red wine each day to improve your overall health. Keep in mind moderation is key!

Drink 1-2 cups of decaf coffee each day. Decaf coffee is rich in antioxidants that rejuvenate our body,

There is no replacement for smoking, the healthy way is to completely eliminate it. In my opinion there is no point in wanting to keep a healthy diet when smoking. So, my advice to you, quit smoking and organise your life!

Step 10 : Plan your meals ahead.

Make a list every time you go shopping and also never go  shopping with your stomach empty because you will tend to buy microwave meals  that are unhealthy.

Stock your kitchen to be meal ready and also organise your space, in order to quickly cook what you want.

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Filed under Diets, Health tips