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TOP 10 STRATEGIES TO MAKE BETTER FOOD CHOICES
Eating better as a habit only works with repetition. The first time you eat healthier food, you will not necessarily feel different but the fact and knowledge that your body will benefit in the long term, should be a good enough motivator to continue eating better.
The ultimate goal of eating healthier is to live a healthy life filled with vitality, energy and emotional wellbeing. Notice we are saying better and not healthier. A healthy diet does not have to be about eating just healthy food, cutting out sugar or carbs and counting your calories. It is also about taking stock of the way you plan each meal, and the food items you keep in your kitchen. Are these beneficial, or not? Does these food items serve your body, brain and mind?
When it comes to eating healthier, there are 10-strategies to keep in mind to make better food choices:
1. ORDER-IN LESS
How many times a week do you order-in?
Technomic, a fact-based research and consulting platform ran a study in 2019 showing that 68% of regular takeout users stated that they order take out at least four times a month. That means the average person orders-in at least once a week
The problem is that most people tend to order unhealthy fast- or comfort food. Rarely will you find someone ordering healthy food or a home cooked meal.
Top Tip: Instead of spending a considerable amount of money ordering-in, purchase healthy groceries. Not only it is less expensive, but it will allow you to prepare your dishes in the best and healthiest way possible.
2. CHECK WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
The amount of food and nutrients you need, will depend on your unique body and needs. Everyone is different, and thus needs different percentages of carbs, protein, sugar, or fats. Some people try to go vegan and are not capable of enduring the absence of meat as the main source of protein consumption; others have no problem switching to other sources of protein such as Tofu or different seeds.
Eating according to ones needs is supported by the PREDICT program, which is a collection of studies conducted mainly by King’s College, London. In the study, researchers found that even twins have unique nutritional responses to the same food, which means there is no ‘right’ way to eat.
Top Tip: For this reason, it is a good idea to get personalized nutrition information from a professional based on your age, gender, height, and weight; and then establish any deficiencies such as a vitamin shortage.
3. EAT LESS
Counting your calories helps, but it’s not the only option and some people don’t have the time for it. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies showed that calorie restriction can help prevent the negative effects of aging in our cells.
Top Tip: Consider using smaller plates so that you eat a smaller amount of food at each meal. Replace your snacks in between meals with healthier options such as dry fruits and nuts.
4. DRINK A LOT
Do not get too excited. 😊
We only mean to increase the amount of water you drink if its less than eight glasses a day to avoid getting dehydrated and maintain a healthy weight. Scientists from Stanford, Nestle Waters, and the University of North Carolina published a paper in 2008 which found that water consumption is associated with weight loss.
5. EAT MORE
If you are not as heavy as you want, ignore step three, and follow step two.
6. THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL
Fasting is a practice that is getting more popular because of how effective it is. The best way to incorporate fasting into your lifestyle is via eating dinner early (around 5pm or 6pm), and having breakfast early morning instead of having dinner right before bedtime.
According to a study carried out at Monash University, the main benefit of breakfast is that it jumpstarts the metabolism and therefore helps burning more calories throughout the day.
7. CUT DOWN ON SUGAR AND FATS
Cutting out is not the same as cutting down. Lowering the amounts of saturated fats and sugar you eat will help you keep a healthy weight. Keep unsaturated fats in your diet. The type of fat you want to avoid is saturated fat, some examples of these are:
The World Health Organization released a guideline providing recommendations on the intake of free sugars. On this issue, they called for a reduction of sugar intake to 5% of daily calorie intake, as opposed to the current recommendation of 10%.
8. STAY ACTIVE
A healthy diet will give you enough energy to perform better at exercise, study and work. If you are not an athlete, four times a week will do the trick. A great way to exercise is to do different activities. Consider lifting weights, but also jogging and cardio. The Harvard’s School of Public Health published an issue where they stated that regular physical activity lowers the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, and others.
9. FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE EATING
Read the labels before purchasing. Most often, there are a large amount of preservatives, MSGs, sugars or unnecessary salt added to the food items on shop shelves. Opt for natural and 100% organic fruits and vegetables instead.
10. COOK THE FOOD YOU ENJOY
Award-winning chef Roy Choi stated in the Netflix web-series “The Chef Show”
that everybody should find their favorite dishes and keep cooking and making them better. Sure, getting crazy in the kitchen is fun sometimes, but try looking up healthy recipes you might also enjoy, and cook them several times.
Enjoy the food you eat! If you feel that you are eating unhealthy, there is nothing stopping you from changing your eating habits today. By becoming more conscious of your eating habits, and consequently the food you purchase, you can make more informed and healthier food choices. Your body and mind will thank you.
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