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Improving your diet: Making lifestyle changes

Being healthy and maybe even losing a few pounds isn’t about dieting… It’s about eating smart. It’s about improving your diet, eating right and incorporating healthy eating habits into your lifestyle. It’s easy when you know what to look for at the supermarket.

Looking healthy and being healthy isn’t about going on another fad diet. It’s about making a commitment to eat right… and then sticking to it! The results are worth it. You’ll feel more energetic, look better in the mirror and be healthier, as well. You can make the choice for yourself and help make the choice for your family too.

Start Eating Right!

Eating right is a lifestyle change that begins with making a commitment. The next step to supporting your new lifestyle is stocking up on the good foods and getting rid of the bad. Finally, keeping a journal isn’t absolutely necessary, but helps you reflect on what you’ve eaten at the end of each day.Here are some helpful tips to improving your diet:

Eat right Tip #1 – Breakfast:

Yes. You’ve heard it before. Don’t skip breakfast! Studies show adults who eat breakfast are usually leaner and more alert. A piece of leftover pie doesn’t count! Instead choose smart breakfast foods like fruit, whole grain cereals and milk. These will give the energy boost to start you off and get you through a busy day. A good breakfast also makes it easier to maintain willpower when the donut cart comes by later in the morning.

Eat right Tip #2 – Less caffeine:

Fact: Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world. According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive caffeine (about four to seven cups per day) can cause conditions such as abnormal heart rhythms, anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches and gastrointestinal problems. Be sensible with your caffeine intake from coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks and you’ll see a difference in how you feel. Drink a tall glass of ice water, instead.

Eat right Tip #3 – More water:

Did you know thirst frequently masquerades as hunger? So, when you think you’re hungry, take a drink of water instead. It will quench your thirst and appetite, and save a few calories at the same time.
The importance of drinking enough water each day can’t be over-emphasized. Our bodies are constantly losing water through the skin, kidneys, lungs and intestine. Adults should drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Drinking water will keep energy up, weight down, joints supple, muscles strong, digestive tract smooth and your whole system physically balanced. These are all good reasons to remember to down a few swigs of water each hour.

Eat right Tip #4 – Whole grains:

Whole grains may help protect against chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. They may also help combat high cholesterol. There are many creative ways to make food healthier and more delicious with whole grains. Substitute whole grain breads for white and whole-wheat pastas for the white refined kind. Brown rice or quinoa is much tastier and more interesting than white rice. Whole grains also make you feel full longer, a great benefit when trying to trim down.

Eat right Tip #5 – Fiber:

We need fiber for our internal machinery to work well. The bottom line is: fiber can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, hemorrhoids, diabetes and many other conditions. Eating foods high in fiber can also help keep weight under control. Planning more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts into our daily diet is crucial! Pick up an apple instead of a candy bar when the snack cart comes by.

Eat right Tip #6 – Drink milk:

Milk and other dairy products should be a part of our daily diet. They’re a good source of calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Milk contains many other important vitamins and minerals. Recent studies have found diets high in vitamin D cuts cancer risks, a good reason to drink vitamin D enriched milk. Whole milk is high in fat content and calories, so work your way down to 2%, then 1% and then skim milk for a good, healthy milk choice.

Eat right Tip #7 – Less salt:

Even young people can have heart attacks. Reducing sodium (salt) intake may lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. When it comes to reducing salt intake, cutting down a little at a time is the trick. Staying away from processed foods will quickly eliminate a good portion of unnecessary sodium from the diet.

Eat right Tip #8 – Olive oil:

It’s not just Popeye’s girlfriend! Extra virgin olive oil is the best! Vegetable oils contain high levels of healthy fats. Olive oil is a healthy substitute for vegetable oil and can even be used in baking. Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and spices for your own healthier and tastier salad dressing.

Eat right Tip #9 – Processed foods:

If it’s in a can or a box, pass it by! Processed foods are high in calories and low in nutritional value. They’re also high in refined carbohydrates, sweeteners, bad fats, salts and preservatives. This includes baked goods, as well. The only thing positive about processed foods is the convenience, but for that we give up our health. It’s not worth it, especially since the price of processed foods is so high. Find time to stick to healthier fresh ingredients.

Eat right Tip #10 – Healthy snacks:

Yes-Snacking is OK. There comes a time in everyone’s day when a little snack is in order. Snacks may even help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep energy and mood high, as long as the choice we make is a healthy one. Use snack time as an opportunity to sneak in fiber in the form or fruit or nuts or even a whole grain snack bar. Peanut butter or sticks of cheese are also good choices. Turning your back on potato chips and jelly donuts for the good stuff is making the right choice.These are all easy suggestions to a healthy lifestyle. The difficult part is the making the commitment and sticking to it. It’s a choice you make for yourself and your family, as well. The rewards are worth it.

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