Often in the quest for health, it can be tough to find the right routine, especially with finding a healthy and balanced diet. Unfortunately, with thousands of fad diets out there (we’re looking at you, cayenne pepper and water detox) it can be impossible to find a diet plan that actually works and won’t leave you feeling faint, unhealthy, hungry or grumpy.
While we never condone unhealthy or extreme measures to change your diet, we understand that creating a routine and being aware of what you eat and how much you eat are necessary parts of maintaining a physically fulfilling life. Oftentimes we don’t even know that some of the foods we’re eating or the amount in which we’re eating them can be unhealthy. Learning and becoming aware are the first steps in creating change. That’s why we’ve pieced together a list of healthy diet tips that will help you better your life, your health and your meals, without room for unhealthy shame or pain.
Check out our diet tips that actually work!
1. Eat smaller meals more often.
Instead of eating three large meals in one day, try eating six small protein-based meals instead. Eating more frequently will ensure you that your blood sugar won’t fluctuate and therefore make you crave more food. Protein and vegetables also act as an energy booster and the protein keeps you full.
Meal suggestion: Grilled chicken breast with one cup of brown rice and a side of broccoli and carrots.
2. Avoid sugar-based foods as much as possible.
Both starch and sugar have the ability to spike up your blood sugar. Unfortunately, when this happens, your body will only temporarily feel full. Once your blood sugar goes back down, which won’t take long, your body will go back to craving food. We definitely don’t suggest cutting all sugars or starches from your diet, but your body could potentially benefit from cutting down on some of those sugary treats.
Meal suggestion: Instead of a slice of cake or pie, try eating some fresh fruit with chocolate sauce or whipped cream. The chocolate or whipped cream will help tame those sugar cravings, while the fruit will act as a much healthier base for the desert.
3. Keep track of what you eat.
This may sound simple, but you’d be surprised at what the results could tell you about your eating habits. More often than not, we don’t even realize that we’ve eaten 1,000 calories worth of 100 calorie pack snacks or twice as many French fries as we planned until after we sit down and log our food intake. This will help you become more aware of what you’re eating throughout the day and how it could be affecting your health.
Suggestion: Download an app like MyFitnessPal, or even just use the ‘notes’ app on your phone to log your meals right when you eat them.
4. Replace sugar-based drinks with water.
We know, we know. Switching from your favorite cold soda sucks. Unfortunately, sodas and other sugary drinks can be taking a huge toll on your body and health. Even cutting down on one soda or sugary drink a day can make a huge difference.
Drink suggestion: If you really start missing your favorite sugary drink, try flavored water instead of plain. You can either buy pre-flavored water in the store or make your own by adding your favorite fruits or vegetables.
5. Redesign your plate.
Let’s face it: cutting down on our favorite foods is hard. We’re not always going to have the willpower to choose a big salad bowl instead of that leftover pizza slice that’s calling our name. That’s ok. Don’t make yourself miserable. You can still eat your favorite foods, but just adjust the portions or certain components. For example, instead of filling your whole plate up with rice, try adding a smaller portion and replacing that space with more protein or vegetables.
Meal suggestion: Craving a burger? Get yourself a delicious patty with all the fix-ins but ask for no bun or a lettuce wrap instead. You’ll still get to eat a delicious meal, but you’ll be saving yourself the regret later.
6. Complete kitchen overhaul.
One of the biggest reasons why we cheat on our diets is because our favorite unhealthy foods are so readily available. Free up some space in your kitchen by taking all of those unhealthy snacks out of your cabinets and fridge and donate any unopened packages to those in need. You’ll not only make yourself healthier, but you’ll be giving back to those in need.
No matter what you decide, make sure to take care of yourself and listen to your body. You don’t have to starve or shame yourself to succeed. Your body is beautiful no matter what.