Who says healthy eating is difficult? Well, by following these eight simple dietary habits, healthy eating can become your second nature.

Whole grains instead of refined foods 

Whole grains retain their bran and germ. Examples: oatmeal, wheat, barley, millet, whole rye.

They include many important nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Whole grains lower your risk of many diseases like diabetes.

Refined grains lose the bran and germ during processing, drastically decreasing their nutritional value.

Always look for 100% whole grain on the product label or the Whole Grain Stamp on the packaging.

Eat a variety of foods 

Many diets fail because they make you give up most of your favorite foods and restrict what you can eat.

With time you’ll start craving those “forbidden” foods. Eventually, your cravings take over and the diet goes off the rails.

However, if you eat a variety of foods in small portions, there really isn’t much that’s off limits.

Remember those foods you feel guilty eating? Well, even they can be eaten once-in-a-while if the portions are small and you stay within your daily calorie allowance.

Fruits and veggies can be your new friend 

Nature offers a banquet of low-calorie fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and veggies are “negative” foods, which means you use more calories eating and digesting them than they contain. Examples: celery, oranges, apples, lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage. These are great choices when trying to lose or maintain weight.

By the way, eating fresh fruit is much healthier than drinking fruit juice. Whole fruit contains fiber that’s filtered out during the juice-making process. Fiber slows down how fast sugar enters your system, and it makes you feel full longer, reducing your desire for unhealthy foods or snacking between meals.

Control your portion size

Is losing weight your goal? Then consider reducing your portion sizes.

To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. Here are some tricks to make portion control easier.

1. Get a smaller plate. Replace your 12- inch plate with a 9- inch one. Once you fill up your plate, your eyes will send signals to your brain that you’re eating a full plate. Smaller plates equal fewer calories.

2. Avoid supersizing when eating out. Eat a normal-sized portion because bigger portions pile on calories and pounds.

3. Consider using smaller serving spoons to help with reducing portion sizes. Less food on your plate helps you to stay within your daily calorie allowance.

Eat healthy fats 

Fats are divided into three main types; saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats. Of the three, unsaturated fats are healthy. Examples include Olive oil, Canola oil, Avocado oil

Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, herring, and mackerel contain healthy fatty acids like omega 3 and 6. Therefore, if you eat meat, include these in your diet as much as possible.

Reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat, like fatty cuts of beef, lamb, whole milk, and palm oil.

The unhealthiest fats are trans fats because the body stores them as body fat. You find them in baked goods like cakes, cookies, fried foods, French fries, doughnuts, and non-dairy creamers.

Always check the label to see how much of each fat the product contains.

Avoid added sugar

Refined sugar is a simple carbohydrate that’s associated with many diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Sugar is added to many foods like ice cream, cakes, biscuits, and sodas to satisfy our taste buds.

Companies hide added sugars under different names such as dextrose and maltose. Boost your health and trim your waistline by avoiding added sugars.

Reduce red meat

Red meats, especially if they’re fatty cuts, contain high amounts of saturated fat, which is bad for your heart.

If you really want to include red meat in your diet, choose grass-fed organic meats because these animals are fed naturally without drugs and hormones.

Avoid processed meats

Processed meats like sausages, bacon, hot dogs, and canned meats are consistently linked with harmful health effects; strive to avoid them, or limit consumption.

Incorporating these eight healthy eating habits into your lifestyle (which is pretty easy), will help you to manage your weight and reduce your risk of disease. Interested in doubling your health benefits? Add regular aerobic exercise a few times a week.

By practicing these eight healthy habits you’ll feel better, be happier, and live longer!

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

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