In our last blog post, 3 New Year’s Resolutions You Should Consider, we talk about setting clear and reasonable goals to meet your health resolutions. Based on your questions about that post, we thought we’d dive in to the topic of eating healthy, high quality foods in order to meet your health goals.
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your health, and boosting your mood. It’s about substituting refined and processed foods for natural and wholesome foods, and feeling the differences.
What really is a healthy diet?
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be over complicated. To put it simply, a healthy diet pattern should be to replace processed food with real food and eat foods that are as close as possible to the way nature made it. This behavior will make a huge difference in the way you think, look and feel.
The fundamentals of healthy eating
What makes eating healthy confusing is the contradicting information that each specific diet plan suggests. While we definitely suggest trying out different diets to see what works the best for your body, it’s important to keep the fundamentals in mind. We all need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals in our diets to sustain a healthy body. Certainly eliminating certain foods might help you, but it’s not always necessary. What is necessary is making sure you select the healthiest option and get enough from each category.
Protein. Protein gives you the energy to get up and go—and keep going—while also supporting mood and cognitive function. Too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, but the latest research suggests that many of us need more high-quality protein, especially as we age. That doesn’t mean you have to eat more animal products—a variety of plant-based sources of protein each day can ensure your body gets all the essential protein it needs. Learn more »
Fat. Not all fat is the same. While bad fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, good fats protect your brain and heart. In fact, healthy fats—such as omega-3s—are vital to your physical and emotional health. Including more healthy fat in your diet can help improve your mood, boost your well-being, and even trim your waistline. Learn more »
Fiber. Eating foods high in dietary fiber (grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans) can help you stay regular and lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It can also improve your skin and even help you to lose weight. Learn more »
Calcium. As well as leading to osteoporosis, not getting enough calcium in your diet can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Whatever your age or gender, it’s vital to include calcium-rich foods in your diet, limit those that deplete calcium, and get enough magnesium and vitamins D and K to help calcium do its job. Learn more »
Carbohydrates are one of your body’s main sources of energy. But most should come from complex, unrefined carbs (vegetables, whole grains, fruit) rather than sugars and refined carbs. Cutting back on white bread, pastries, starches, and sugar can prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar, fluctuations in mood and energy, and a build-up of fat, especially around your waistline. Learn more »
Making the switch to a healthy diet
As we stated before, switching to a healthy diet is not an all or nothing proposition. Your body is unique and your reaction to certain changes won’t be the same as another person’s. It’s very easy to get discouraged when your diet execution isn’t perfect, but thing is – it doesn’t have to be. We suggest not changing everything all at once, because that only leads to cheating and giving up.
A better approach is to make a few small changes at a time. Keeping your goals modest can help you achieve more in the long term without feeling deprived or overwhelmed by a major diet overhaul. Think of planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps—like adding a salad to your diet once a day. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.
Setting yourself up for success
To set yourself up for success, try to keep things simple. Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, for example, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients whenever possible.
Prepare more of your own meals.
Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food. You’ll eat fewer calories and avoid the chemical additives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats of packaged and takeout foods that can leave you feeling tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Make the right changes.
When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing dangerous trans fats with healthy fats (such as switching fried chicken for grilled salmon) will make a positive difference to your health. Switching animal fats for refined carbohydrates, though (such as switching your breakfast bacon for a donut), won’t lower your risk for heart disease or improve your mood.
Read the labels.
It’s important to be aware of what’s in your food as manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats in packaged food, even food claiming to be healthy.
Focus on how you feel after eating.
This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The healthier the food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.
Drink plenty of water.
Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many of us go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
Limit snack foods in the home.
Be careful about the foods you keep at hand. It’s more challenging to eat in moderation if you have unhealthy snacks and treats at the ready. Instead, surround yourself with healthy choices and when you’re ready to reward yourself with a special treat, go out and get it then.
Consider SmartBox Express.
SmartBox Express is the service that can help you surround yourself with healthy choices when you need them. We only provide snacks with optimum ingredients, because as we said, it’s not about elimination it’s about substitution. And the best part? We’ll ship them directly to your door, saving you a ton of money and time at the grocery store. Because, we believe you should still be able to enjoy yourself during your health transformation. Learn more by visiting www.smartbox-express.com. You’ll receive 10% off plus free shipping on your first delivery by ordering today!