Improving your diet is a very important way of improving your health for as the saying goes “you are what you eat”. A healthy diet helps you maintain a healthy body and decreases your possibility of coming down with many long-term illnesses.
Also, improving your diet helps you consume only the quantity of energy that you can expend as well as all the essential nutrients such as minerals, proteins, and vitamins in the right amount. (1)
What Are The Benefits Of Improving Your Diet?
Most importantly, you get to decrease your risk of coming down with many chronic health conditions later on in life like diabetes, cancer, eye diseases, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases among many others.
Also, it helps you lose weight and maintain thereby boosting your self-esteem, decreasing your risk of suffering from depression and improving your energy levels. (1).
What Are The Easy Ways To Improve Your Diet Right Now?
Because it may be difficult changing your diet suddenly in a bid to improve it, it is easier when you concentrate on making small changes.
Gradually cut down on unhealthy foods while including healthier ones into your meal plan and avoid setting unrealistic goals. (2)
Hear a few ways to improve your diet easily.
Create A Meal Plan
This requires you to decide and write down the types of food you will eat on particular days of the week and times of the day, breakfast, lunch dinner, and what to snack on.
Planning your meals is an important way to improve your diet easily as it helps you to think beforehand and prepare what you intend to eat, helping you to include or remove certain food types from your diet. (3).
Also, when properly done, it can help those trying to lose weight as it helps you incorporate healthy foods for weight loss into your plan. It also saves you time, money and the stress of wondering what to eat. (4).
How Does Meal Planning Help You Improve Your Diet?
Allowing yourself to become too hungry could make you inclined to eat almost anything you lay your hands on even if it is not healthy.
However, when you plan your meals, you get to have already prepared healthy meals to eat whenever you are hungry. (5)
Here are a few tips you will find useful when planning your meals.
Consider the types of meals you would like to eat and ensure they are healthy.
Create a calendar of your favorite recipes and their sites, amazing meal ideas, and create a food shopping list.
Bear in mind that you may want to eat particular meals on certain days of the week and or times of the day. (6)
Lastly, set an achievable goal.
Incorporate More Proteins Into Your Diet.
Proteins help keep you full for long which means you would not get too hungry and tempted to eat just anything. Also, it is loaded with lots of macronutrients.
Consuming proteins is a good way of improving your muscle mass, which is a determinant of your metabolic rate because the higher your protein intake, the higher the number of calories your body burns. (7).
Many enzymes that power several chemical reactions in the body are made up of proteins; it is also an integral part of hemoglobin which is the oxygen-carrying component of your blood.
About 0.8g of protein per kilogram body weight has been recommended for daily intake and examples of healthy sources of protein include fish, beans, eggs, dairy products, and poultry among many others. Avoid processed or red meats.
Proteins lower your risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, premature death, and bone disease. It is also a good way to improve your diet easily as it helps you feel full for a longer time, fights cravings and consequently overeating. (8)
Protein helps to sustain your skeletal muscle mass and improve your health as you grow older. (9).
Eat Your Food Slowly.
The rate at which you eat affects the quantity of food you eat which may also cause you to gain weight.
Because it takes your brain about 20 minutes to receive signals from appetite-controlling hormones that you are full, eating slowly gives these hormones adequate time to signal your brain to give you a perception of fullness. (7).
When you eat fast, you are likely to consume more food and more calories than you can burn. However, slowly eating your food helps you chew it properly, consume fewer calories and helps you lose weight or maintain it.
This means that eating slowly is a good way to improve your diet as it decreases your chances of overeating.
Improve On Your Yogurt Consumption
Yogurt is a food that contains probiotics which are a group of friendly bacteria that help to balance your gut microbiota. They may not be nutrients but they improve your diet by aiding in the digestion and absorption of nutrients needed to keep you healthy
The Greek yogurt comes in highly recommended as it is creamier and thick with its excess whey having been removed thereby making it high in protein and fat.
As mentioned earlier, protein diets keep you full for longer, helping curb craving and hunger. Greek yogurt is low on carbohydrates and lactose which makes it healthy for the lactose intolerant and low-carb dieters. (7).
Eat Whole Grains Instead of Refined Grains.
Whole grains like barley, quinoa, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice, are loaded with important nutrients like proteins, antioxidants, and fibers. They are healthier and more nutrients packed than refined grains which makes them a good way to improve your diets right now.
Also, are a rich source of zinc, copper, the B vitamins and iron that helps boost your immunity and decreases your possibility of suffering from cardiovascular disorders or type 2 diabetes later in life.
Refined grains have been stripped of all these nutrients and have been suspected in many health problems. (13).
Furthermore, the fiber content of whole grains is good for maintaining a healthy digestive system as it lowers your risk of developing colon cancer or constipation.
Whole grains also contain Zinc and Vitamin C which are strong antioxidants. What an easy way to improve your diet easily. (7).
Switching from refined to whole grains may not be easy for you so, here are a few tips to easily do that.
Start with the whole grain version of something you are familiar with like whole-grain bread for bread made with refined flour or wild rice for white rice
Next, proceed gradually and if possible mix whole grains and refined grains until you can eliminate the refined grains.
You can soak your whole grains before cooking if you find their cooking time too long.
Substitute your snacks for healthy alternatives like eat popcorn instead of pretzels or chips
Try out new kinds of whole grains that you are not aware of.
Always lookout for the “whole grain label on packaged foods when shopping. (13).
Include More Fruits And Vegetables Into Your Diet
When it’s time to eat, eating your vegetables first helps you to eat all of it when you are still hungry this prevents you from eating the other parts of the meal that are probably not as healthy as your vegetables.
Consuming more vegetables helps improve your diet and health, it helps you control your calorie intake and can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight. Instead of relying on dieting which often does not sustain weight loss, it is more rewarding to include more vegetables into your diet.
It is also effective when eaten with a high- carb diet as it helps regulate the blood glucose levels. (7).
Vegetables are packed with nutrients that promote a healthy system and a study confirms so, the study reveals that consuming higher quantities of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of congestive heart disease. (15).
Consuming more fresh fruits is an easy way to improve your diet as it is healthy and contains vitamins, fiber, water, and powerful antioxidants which help your immune system strong.
The fiber content in fruits helps maintain a healthy digestive system, keep you full and help you in your quest to lose weight. Eating fruits help reduce your risk of heart diseases, and cancer among many others. (14).
It is not advisable to take fruit juices when you can take fresh fruits as some juices contain preservatives, additives, and sugar which may not be healthy for you. (7).
Also, fruit juices do not contain fibers which deprive you of all the health benefits of consuming fiber-rich diet. Plus you are likely to drink more juice at once which may not be good for you.
Furthermore, fresh varieties of fruits are healthier and lower in sugar and calories for instance, berries are healthy, nutrient and fiber-rich fruits with powerful antioxidant properties. They come dried, fresh, or frozen. However, the dried form is more sugary and consuming more of it may not improve your diet. (7).
Fruits contain sugars and fibers that when consumed, stay long in the gut and this helps boost energy and in the management of constipation. They are also rich in potassium which is vital for normal heart function. Some fruits have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. (15).
Increase Your Activity Level
It is not enough to improve your diet but you also have to increase your activity level because exercise decreases your risk or depression, stress, anxiety, improves your mood, and boosts your self-esteem.
So, how does this improve your diet? The above conditions are associated with binge eating which puts you at risk of jeopardizing instead of improving your diet.
Exercise helps you lose weight, improve your muscle and bone strength as well as decreases your risk of certain conditions. You can start with 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise per day. (12)
Staying hydrated is a good way to improve your diet easily, as it helps in weight losing and maintaining weight. This is because, it is not every time you are hungry that you need food, sometimes, it is thirst and drinking water could prevent you from eating food you do not need.
Staying hydrated boosts metabolism and helps you burn calories and instead of beverages that are sugary just take water as water helps you consume fewer calories. (16).
Sugary beverages are not a good way to stay hydrated as they have high sugar content, predisposing you to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases.
If you must drink beverages, do not take the sugary ones instead, take the one free of sugar and by all means, water will do. This will help you reduce your calorie intake. (7)
Broth soups and fruits like watermelon are a very pleasant way to rehydrate. (17).
Use Healthy Cooking Oils
Highly processed and vegetable oils like cottonseed and soy oils have fast become the most widely used oils in most households.
They are in omega-6 and not enough omega-3 and consuming them predisposes you to inflammatory conditions, cancer, and heart diseases. You should turn to healthier alternatives like coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin oil. (7).
Solid fats like lard, margarine, and butter may not help you improve your diet as they saturated, trans or bad fats that are not good for your heart health.
On the other hand, oils like avocado, sesame or pure olive oil may be expensive but are a very heart-friendly choice that can improve your diet. (11).
Get Enough Sleep.
Tiredness due to lack of sleep may cause you to eat more food in a bid to improve your energy it could also cause you to crave certain food types that are high in fat and calories. Although you may have an initial energy boost, it does not last long and this cycle could cause you to gain weight.
If you are looking for ways to improve your diet easily and or lose weight, maintaining a good sleep pattern is undeniably what you need to do as it is a good way to improve your focus, boost your performance, productivity, immunity, and metabolism. (7).
When you deprive yourself of adequate sleep, you lose your body’s ability to regulate your appetite which will, in turn, make you overeat and gain weight, it also increases your risk of heart diseases, depression, anxiety, and other inflammatory conditions. (7).
Surely, there are many ways to easily improve your diet. You just need to be open-minded. However, changing your diet abruptly in an attempt to improve your diet may not turn out well for you.
Rather, make gradual changes until you can incorporate healthy food recipes into your meal plan.
Also, to maintain a healthy body, improving your diet alone may not suffice as you need to have a healthy lifestyle. Cut down on alcohol consumption, avoid or cease smoking and you will be on your way to living a healthy life.