Going hand in hand with the, “I want to get in shape,” resolution, many Americans will be resolving to eat better in 2019. It’s a great goal; doctors agree that a good diet is the first step to overall improved wellness and health.
That said, food is a part of American culture. Giving up things that you love is difficult. Focusing on the elimination of things that you enjoy as a means of achieving a better diet is almost always a quick ticket to failure. Here’s how to eat better without saying goodbye to the foods that you love.
Drink More Water
Most Americans are chronically dehydrated. This can play a role in a host of health-related issues. Everything from encouraging overeating, to poor digestion, to a sluggish metabolism. The easiest way to start to eat better is to start by increasing your water supply. The gold standard is set around 62-68 ounces per day. Improve your intake by starting small. Aim to always have a water bottle within arm’s reach. If you can keep a 32-ounce water bottle, that’s just two full bottles a day. Sipping steadily over the day while you work is a great way to build this healthy habit. You can also try replacing soda with water at meals.
The average American has no idea how much protein they’re actually eating. There is much debate on how much protein is actually needed, and if there is such a thing as too much protein in the diet. That said, focusing on lean proteins (think fish, shrimp, and especially chicken) is a wonderful way to keep your fat intake low while increasing your total protein count. Since proteins help build, grow, and maintain your muscle mass, one could argue that this is the most important part of your diet.
Most nutritionists recommend that Americans consume 15g of fiber day, minimum. Despite that, most Americans struggle to get 5g. Fiber is essential for a healthy diet. It regulates the digestive system and allows your body to absorb the nutrients you consume. Focusing on high fiber carbohydrates keeps your body regular and will improve your health all in one action. Foods with naturally high fiber include corn, popcorn, beans, and seeds like Chia or Flax. You can also look into fiber pre-biotics. Similar to Metamucil, these supplements are colorless, flavorless, and odorless. They dissolve effortlessly into your coffee or ice water and instantly increase your fiber.
Cut the Crap
If you can’t pronounce it, maybe you shouldn’t be eating it. The quickest way to improve your diet is to cut out artificial and nutritionally void items entirely. That includes refined sugar and bleached flour. But those things taste soooooo good, right? That leads us to our next point…
You Have to Live
We all know that more vegetables are a good thing. We also know that fried foods and sugar enriched options are probably not the best for us. But trying to give up on all of your “fun” food entirely is not a recipe for success. Remember, if it’s not sustainable, it’s not a solution.
Try to keep your diet life to an 80/20 principle. Eat fresh, healthy, real, whole foods 80 percent of the time, and then have the fun stuff the other 20%. Doing this allows you to still have the foods that you enjoy, but prioritizes your health and overall wellness as well. When you can balance your life in this way, you may find that over time you begin to crave those processed foods less and less.