As we head into the New Year, many of us are turning away from the excess of the holidays and thinking of ways to get 2012 off to healthy start. But, for so many, fad diets are a temporary fix with short-lived results. For lasting change, and healthier eating habits, we offer 10 simple secrets to jump start healthy eating (they’re a lot easier than you’d think!).
Eat Snacks (Really!) 1 of 10We've all heard that we should reduce snacking between meals, but maybe a better approach would be to avoid unplanned snacking. If you know that you get hungry between lunch and dinner, don't fight it, just plan for it by having something healthy on hand to make it through the day.
â€¨Make pinto bean hummus
Watch the White Stuff 2 of 10Refined sugar and white flour are two of the worst ingredients for your health, but they keep turning up in more and more places. When a food doesn't have to have sugar in it like bread, yogurt, pasta sauce, either make your own or opt for a sugar-free variety. When you have the choice between whole grain and white flour opt for the whole grain.
Make whole grain chocolate and zucchini muffins
Enjoy the Occasional Sweet 3 of 10Our ancestors were lucky to get sweets once a month, we often eat them several times a day. That means it's up to us to make a conscious effort to limit our intake of sweets. Try to get it down to once or twice a week, and enjoy your treats guilt free.
Make a skinny no-bake cheesecake tart
Protein, Protein, Protein 4 of 10A lot of times, people focus on eating light and ignore foods that will make them feel full. High protein foods like eggs and greek yogurt will keep you sated and make you less likely to gorge on unhealthy foods later.
Make quinoa salad with squash and collard greens
Make Veggies Tastier 5 of 10Everyone knows that veggies are good for you, so they often try to make eating them as healthful-feeling as possible, forcing themselves through bowls of steamed broccoli or raw kale. The problem with this approach is that it makes them less appealing, which means we eat less. If you make your veggies with a little butter or bacon fat, or whatever your favorite fat is, they may not be as healthy, but if it means you actually eat your vegetables, it's a good thing.
Make lemony roast brussels sprouts
Spice it up! 6 of 10A lot of times when we're eating because we're not hungry, we're eating to feel a little rush, which is why we go for the sweets. But there are other healthier ways of getting a little rush from a snack or meal. Try adding a little heat from spices or hot sauce. You'll get a rush, but without all the added calories.
Make spicy squash salad
Don’t Skip Meals 7 of 10A lot of us skip meals, either because we're so busy or because we feel like it's a good way to reduce overeating. The problem is that when you skip meals and get really hungry, you start to get desperate and make bad decisions. Not eating lunch at 1 can lead to eating a whole bag of chips at 4.
Make green salad with bacon, pears, and buttermilk dressing
Eat Your Food Slowly 8 of 10
Drink Plenty of Water 9 of 10Water is involved in pretty much every bodily process, so it's no surprise that drinking plenty of water is important for improved digestion, appetite control, proper functioning of just about all your organs, and having healthy skin.
For another healthy option, try mango lime smoothies
Image Credit: Roger McLassus
Cut Back on Portion Size 10 of 10If you're like most people in modern industrial societies, you eat a little (or a lot) more than you need to. Next time you're helping yourself to dinner, make a conscious effort to put just a little back. You'll never miss it and your body will be better off if you don't over eat.
Make tiny banana split bites
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