March is National Nutrition Month, so why not use it as an excuse to revamp your eating habits? Contrary to popular belief, eating right doesnâ€™t mean dieting â€“ and it certainly doesnâ€™t mean saying goodbye to great taste. Here are five easy ways to start eating better this month (and every month of the year).
Watch What You Drink
All those so-called vitamin and energy drinks may sound healthy, but the majority of them are just sweetened water. And most fruit juices have even more sugar than soda pop. Donâ€™t let the labels fool you. If itâ€™s not skim milk, plain H2O, or regular coffee or tea, itâ€™s a treat. For a healthier thirst quencher, try lemon or mint iced tea or sparkling water with a splash of juice.
Take the Mystery Out of Your Meat
If your chicken has been molded into a nugget, itâ€™s hard to say what youâ€™re really chewing. When you choose meat thatâ€™s been deep fried or processed into sausages, strips or slices, youâ€™re loading up on sodium and preservatives instead of healthy nutrients. Stick to fresh cuts straight from your butcher, and favor grilling over other modes of preparation.
Stick to Whole Foods
A potato comes from the ground, an egg from a hen. But where did that toaster pastry come from? A factory, basically. When food is processed, important nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber are removed â€“ leaving you with a lot of empty calories that your body has a hard time digesting. Whole foods, on the other hand, are full of nutrients and easily absorbed by your body. Why? Because whole foods â€“ like fruits, vegetables, eggs, seafood, and farm-raised meats â€“ undergo little to no processing by the time they reach your plate. So while it may be slightly less convenient, try going light on frozen meals, canned soups, chips, and crackers. Your body will thank you, and youâ€™ll probably have a lot more energy.
If it Crunches, Munch it
Natural snacks that offer a big, satisfying crunch when you bite into them â€“Â like apples, celery, snap peas, and nuts â€“ keep your mouth busier than foods you slurp with a straw or a spoon. The more you chew, the slower you eat â€“ and the more time your body has to register fullness.
Fuel up in the Morning, not at Night
A car needs gas when itâ€™s hitting the road, not when itâ€™s sitting in the garage. So why do we tend to save our biggest meal for the end of the day, when all that we have on the agenda is watching TV and going to bed? If you overeat at night, youâ€™re less likely to burn off the calories you consume. Instead, try aiming for a 550-calorie breakfast, a 500-calorie lunch, a 450-calorie dinner, and a light 100-calorie snack.
Remember to always consult a medical professional before making any drastic changes to your diet. Hereâ€™s to eating better, and taking the first step towards a happier and healthier spring!