5 Basic Steps to Creating Healthier Meals

Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean that you must be on a diet. Many people use the word “diet” to describe food restriction of some sort. However, in actuality it is a general term to describe one’s nutritional consumption. Dietary habits can be adopted at every point in one’s life and at any age. Keep in mind however; that the earlier you start the easier it is, since it simply becomes a habit. It is never too late to make changes in order to eat healthier meals and live a healthier life style.

Go Natural
Much of the food that we consume in the United States is processed in one way or another. Processed foods often contain fats, chemicals, (some that we can’t even pronounce), and are loaded with sodium. While it’s true that they are convenient, try to cut back on them as much as possible. My rule of thumb is that if a food item contains more than 10 ingredients then it’s one that I want to try to avoid. Instead, try to make meals on your own from scratch. This is fun to do with family or friends, and who knows; you might discover a new hobby in the process.

Up the Liquids
Consuming plenty of fluids throughout the day is important for your health. The question is what kind of liquids are we fueling our bodies with? Even though many of us are aware that water is best for us, we have a hard time breaking the habit of drinking coffee, tea, soda and juice. Make a new year’s resolution to try and cut down on these caloric drinks and increase your water consumption. You can even be creative by adding some “spice” to you water by using mint, lemon/lime/cucumber/orange slices, cinnamon sticks, etc.

Boost Your Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fiber, all of which are important for good health and disease prevention. Not only do they add color to your plate, they are lower in calories and benefit your digestion process. Experts recommend eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Make this number a dietary goal by including them as a snack, smoothie drink, desserts, and of course, on your plate.

Make Your Food Whole
Another simple way to consume healthier meals is by consuming whole wheat and whole grains. Whole wheat/whole grains are higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and will keep you satisfied for a longer period of time, more so than processed products.. Consuming whole wheat/grain products doesn’t mean you have to break your piggy bank. Today a variety of these products are offered in supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias and schools at minimal additional cost, if any.

Cookie Cut Your Plate Smart
Try to use the following reference to allow for a balanced plate at each meal and snack: Half of the plate; vegetables/fruits, one quarter of the plate grains and one quarter protein. This is an easy way to stay on track as opposed to counting calories, points or constantly measuring portions.

Here you have it! A New Year, a healthier lifestyle and diet, a new you.