Part of celebrating life and appreciating each day to the fullest is enjoying good food. Of course, it’s just as important to eat well in terms of health. So the key is discovering how to have a healthy diet full of foods that you will actually enjoy. Viewing all food as the enemy isn’t emotionally healthy so it’s more about learning how to find balance while enjoying food. This may sound like a challenge, but it can be done. Here are six key aspects of a healthy life.
1. Eat Those Veggies. Most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables to get all the required nutrients. It’s not just about nutrition: veggies are low in calories, fat and cholesterol. Eating less starch and meat in favor of more vegetables can help control weight and maintain a healthy body. The key is finding preparations for vegetables that you actually enjoy eating. For example, if you hate steamed broccoli, go with broccoli in cheese sauce instead. You’ll still get the nutrition of broccoli and you can enjoy a little savory decadence as well.
2. Tune out Trends. It seems like every day there is a new diet, food study or “intolerance” discovered. While there is usually some scientific evidence behind most claims, often the information presented is overstated or misrepresented. Instead of jumping on a new diet bandwagon every few months, try to find a healthy lifestyle that works for you and stick to it. Maybe it’s low-carb, or vegetarianism or green smoothies and yoga. Committing to a plan that actually works for you will usually yield better results than hopping to every new thing.
3. Break Sugar Cravings. Whether you believe sugar addiction is a real thing or not, the fact is that most people eat more sugar than is healthy. While some people are quite successful cutting out sugar entirely, most are more successful with a plan to simply eat less sugar. A temporary sugar fast may be helpful to control sugar cravings and change your palate so you don’t require as much added sugar to feed your sweet tooth. Remember that processed foods often have a large amount of highly-refined sugar, so if you must have a cookie, try to go for homemade if possible.
4. Use Recipe Substitutions. Even making small changes to your diet can be better than doing nothing. Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour, even if you just substitute half in a recipe. Choose whole-grain pasta and cereal. Try finding natural substitutions for refined sugar such as honey. Eat fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables rather than canned. Choose lean meats when possible or substitute beans or lentils for meat. Cooking from scratch rather than relying on pre-made foods helps you control the ingredients and nutrition of your meals.
5. Embrace Superfoods. You can help boost your own health and lessen your cravings for junk food by choosing nutrient-dense superfoods. Blueberries and dark leafy greens are easily accessible choices. Another great option is bone broth. It’s been used by many civilizations for centuries as a way to keep people healthy by strengthening the immune system. Au Bon Broth is an excellent resource for bone broth so you don’t even have to spend the time to make it yourself.
6. Try the 80/20 Rule. For most people, the key to staying with a healthy diet and actually enjoying food is moderation. Rather than obsessing about every mouthful or rigidly avoiding anything unhealthy, try an “everything in moderation” approach. Some people find the 80/20 rule helpful. They commit to making healthy choices about 80 percent of the time and enjoying an occasional treat now and then without any guilt. This attitude encourages a healthy relationship with food and self-acceptance which are key parts of emotional health.
A healthy life is about so much more than simply adding kale to everything and saying no to Oreos. It’s about viewing food in a realistic and positive way and making healthy choices a natural part of life. Instead of fad diets and restrictions, try finding nutritious foods you actually enjoy eating. Adding nutritious superfoods to your diet can also keep your immune system in top shape and help cut down on sugar and junk food cravings. Make healthy choices the majority of the time and splurge on a decadent dessert every so often without feeling one iota of guilt.
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