I will drink more water today. I’m cutting out the junk food. More vegetables – I can do this! Sound familiar? But days fly by, and you’re stuck in a pattern of unhealthy eating that you just can’t seem to break. It happens. Let’s face it: life gets busy! Eating healthy when your schedule is jam-packed can be challenging, but making time for your health is important. Here are a few quick-and-easy healthy eating tips to get your diet on the right track – starting now.
Simple steps to improve your diet
1. Don’t skip meals.
Research has shown that people who skip meals tend to overeat at the next meal. Try to remember: a meal doesn’t always have to be a big, sit-down affair; it can be something quick and small. For example, for breakfast, grab some fresh fruit, a bar or yogurt. Listen to your body’s hunger ques; it will let you know when it’s time to eat!
2. Be mindful of beverages.
Sip on this: One 12-ounce soda can add 138 calories and 39 grams of added sugar to your day. Be mindful when drinking your calories. Opt for beverages like coffee, unsweetened tea or water instead. You can also mix things up by drinking flavored or sparkling water.
3. Plan ahead when dining out.
If you’re headed to a restaurant, research the menu first. Most places have their menu posted online. Decide on a healthful option beforehand and commit to it. Search for key “nutrition-smart” words like baked, broiled and steamed vs. fried and breaded. Quick tip: Make sure half of your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables for an ideal meal.
4. Order groceries online.
Most grocery stores offer pick up and/or delivery options now. By ordering online you can focus on incorporating more fruits and vegetables and reduce impulse buys in the snack aisle or at the check-out. An added bonus of shopping for healthy food online is that it can reduce your grocery costs and save you time. Most stores offer same day delivery or pick up.
5. Keep smart snacks within reach.
We all have unplanned busy days that catch us by surprise. Keeping smart, nonperishable snacks handy can help you avoid skipping meals or caving to fast food. Store snacks in your purse, bag or even in your desk. Choose food items like nuts, popcorn, whole grain crackers or bars.
6. Hold the cream.
Some coffee creamers add 35 calories and .5 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon to your coffee (and who only uses one tablespoon, realistically?). When drinking iced or hot coffee, be aware of the added sugars and fat creamers can add. Try replacing cream with spices and seasonings such as cinnamon, five spice or cocoa powder. Low-fat milks (consider low-fat chocolate milk), plant-based milks and honey are also great alternatives.
7. Eat what’s in season.
Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season to add color and variety to your day. In-season foods are fresher, more flavorful and can save you money! Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables also are healthful options. When buying canned fruits, be sure to focus on fruits packed in 100 percent juice. When buying canned vegetables, opt for low sodium or no added sodium versions.
8. Get moving.
Get that heart rate up! Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Choose an activity that you really enjoy, and do it with a buddy, if you can Having a support system has shown to be beneficial for sticking to a workout routine. You don’t have to go to the gym to increase that heart rate; simply take the stairs or have a dance break to your favorite song. Remember to keep moving throughout the day!