Never use the excuse that you can’t eat healthy because it’s too hard, especially when you have this guide that makes healthy eating made simple. The first, and simplest, rule to remember, but not the easiest to follow, is to cut out added sugar. Cutting out sugar is tough for two reasons. First, it’s in almost everything. The next time you grab the catsup for your fries, check the ingredients. You’ll notice the high fructose corn syrup—a type of sugar—is high on the list. The easiest way to avoid it is to eat more whole foods, where you control the ingredients.
The second reason cutting sugar is tough is that it’s addictive.
You’ll see loads of recipes comparing sugary confections to crack cocaine and while it’s meant to indicate the dish is delicious and maybe even addictive, it’s also somewhat true if it’s loaded with sugar. Sugar triggers the brain’s reward system, similar to cocaine, amphetamines and even nicotine. It causes dopamine to be released, which acts like a reward for the body and makes you crave sugar even more! Start by cutting out sugar first, checking labels to ensure there’s no added sugar and stick with it for a few months before you move to the next step.
Include more fruits and vegetables in your meals.
Make you table a rainbow of colors with fruits and vegetables providing that beauty. Green beans, red cabbage, orange carrots and a red apple will add to your good health and provide a wide range of nutrients. Each color represents different nutrients or phytonutrients like anthocyanins in purple, blue or red fruits or vegetables. Eating a rainbow of color provides a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals based on their own color.
Remember what you drink makes a big difference, too.
No matter how healthy you eat, what you drink makes a difference. If you’re abstaining from sugar and sticking with whole foods, but have a soft drink, such as a cola, with every meal, you’ll not only be adding empty calories, you’ll be adding loads of sugar. Soft drinks are nothing more than flavored sugar water. Stick with low or no calorie options like water, herbal tea or green tea.
- Don’t grab a diet cola or soft drink, thinking you’ll be saving calories and it’s better for your health. It saves calories, but may be more unhealthy. In fact, one study showed that people who drank diet colas put on visceral fat. Visceral fat is belly fat, the most dangerous type and adds to your waistline.
- Have healthy snacks available. If you’re a midday muncher, having a healthy snack ready and waiting can make a huge difference. It helps you stick with healthy eating and fills you up, not out.
- Don’t fall for the low fat versions. It’s healthy to eat some fat. It fills you up and helps reduce calorie intake. Low fat options don’t do that and often contain added sugar to make them taste better.
- Make smarter decisions and substitutions. Substituting brown rice for white rice or Greek yogurt for sour cream on your potatoes is just a start. Our personal trainers at Next Level Fitness can help you with more aids to make healthy eating easier. Try our first time free trial workout for more help.