VegetablesLike many bad habits, eating a poor diet can be a hard practice to break. The truth is, however, that you can reap big benefits from even the smallest adjustments to your daily meals and snacks. Don’t miss this quick guide to improving your diet in 10 small steps:

1. What You Should Be Eating

When it comes to food and beverage consumption, researchers agree that fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats are a good place to start. Around half of every meal should already consist of fruit and vegetables, the more color variations the better. 

Another important dietary feature to include is omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed, walnuts) known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Fiber (whole grains, broccoli) is necessary to keep your system flowing regularly, calcium (yogurt, cheese) is essential for strong bones, and unsaturated fats (avocado, olive oil) are a tasty way to reduce cholesterol.

2. What You Shouldn’t Be Eating

There are two main food types that you should be avoiding. The first are those bad fats (saturated and trans-fats) which you can find in many animal products, fast food, and anything oily. These put a strain on your heart and raise your cholesterol levels significantly. The second food to refrain from would be those of a processed and sugary nature, including ice cream, cake, and candy. These treats are loaded with calories while increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, so enjoy them responsibly.

3. Make Small Trades

Instead of uprooting your entire regular dieting program, look for sneaky ways to make minor trades. For those with a sweet tooth, eat dates instead of sugar as they are full of potassium and you won’t suffer from a nasty crash afterward. Eat an orange instead of drinking OJ for fewer additives and more fiber. Swap fried chips for homemade popcorn as this will minimize your calorie intake. And finally, whole grain options are always healthier for your heart and your digestive system.

4. Consider Multivitamins

If you find yourself frequently in a bad mood or running out of energy, then your diet might be missing something. Thankfully, there is an easy solution: supplements. There are so many different multivitamins for men and women available, but when you find the one best suited for your lifestyle, then you’ll appreciate how these additional health enhancements require next to no effort on your part.

5. Don't Miss Breakfast

Despite what many people think, skipping over the first meal of the day will not help you to lose any weight. Quite the opposite, in fact. Studies have suggested that breakfast may prevent weight gain while granting you more energy to burn throughout the day. Start your morning properly by enjoying something healthy such as oatmeal, fruit, eggs, or even a peanut butter bagel.

6. Eat Less Salt

The general population is 2 to 3 times as much salt than they need to. This is due to how much of the mineral is being added to your average packaged food. The problem with this is that sodium raises the blood pressure which risks heart attacks and strokes. A clever way to cut back is to cook your own meals and swap out added table salt for other herbs and spices.

7. Eat the Peels

There is this silly practice where individuals are discarding food peels during their meal preparations. Not only does this waste your time but is also a waste of many nutrients, as these peels can be healthier for you than the food itself! Whether carrots, potatoes, or apples, leave the skin on!

8. Read the Labels

Food labels can be confusing, but it’s worth learning how to use them in order to compare calories, sodium content, and added sugars. For those of you who are a bit more tech-savvy, there are smartphone apps like Fooducate available which can scan barcodes and break down these ingredients.

9. Eat More Plant-based Foods

Studies are starting to warn against the excessive modern day meat consumption, linking these animal products to many health problems including cancer. For these reasons, why not give vegetarianism a try? If the idea seems impossible to you, approach it slowly by joining the Meat Free Monday movement.

10. Stay Hydrated

No matter what your current circumstance, drinking water is probably a good idea. Maintaining a sufficient level of hydration is valuable for weight loss and skin health purposes while also reducing the chance of kidney stones and joint pain. Always keep a bottle of water around you and ensure that you’re drinking around two liters every day.