Following a healthy diet is easy, provided you follow a step-by-step approach. Let’s see how to do it your own way with a few tips and tweaks.
“If you think the pursuit of good health is expensive and time-consuming, try illness.” – Lee Swanson
Switching to a healthy diet and lifestyle is not difficult to achieve if you’re disciplined and determined, as any health enthusiast will tell you. Treat your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle as a journey to be enjoyed and NEVER go for quick-fix solutions. My own experience in this journey has taught me that once you take charge of your eating habits, you will find the rest falling into place, making you self motivated and supercharged. A healthy diet is the first step towards a fit and toned body. Any amount of exercise will not compensate for a bad diet. As the experts say, fitness starts in the kitchen.
Break the rules
Keeping meals simple and fuss-free is a fool-proof way to stick to healthy diet plans. I’m not too stringent on the rules when it comes to weight loss. No counting calories, no sweating over superfoods, no guilt, I just limit the portion size. If I feel like going out with friends for a pizza or an ice cream, I go ahead and don’t feel guilty about it, because for the next few weeks I ensure my meals are healthy. If one meal is loaded with carbs, the next two meals will be carb-free. The magic mantra is “don’t deprive yourself, just moderate.”
Buy right for a healthy diet
The starting point is always groceries. You eat what you buy. One look at your refrigerator will tell you if you’re eating right. For instance, while planning to include soups, salads and whole grains in my diet plan, ensure that there’s enough stock of vegetables, egg, meat and fish, nuts and seeds, beans and whole grains. Load up on flavoring and seasoning ingredients, so that healthy meal prep becomes easier. Refrain from processed food as much as possible and try eating a clean diet that contains ingredients closest to their natural state. Reserve junk food like cakes, doughnuts, chocolates, fries and the like for parties and occasions. That way, you can postpone your cravings.
Change the recipes, not the cuisine
Any change in habit is difficult, especially when it involves food since we always associate food with comfort, feelings and emotions. The advice of a nutritionist: “Don’t try to shift entirely from what you’ve been eating all your life”. For example, if you’ve been used to Asian food, you need not shift entirely to a Mediterranean diet or any other diet.
Every cuisine has its own set of healthy recipes. Just tweak your traditional recipes to make them healthier. Though it doesn’t hurt to borrow a few healthy ingredients or flavors from other cuisines. This way it’s easier and you’re more likely to stick to the diet plan. Want to know some food substitutes that can make your diet healthier? Read: 10 best healthy food substitutes.
Take baby steps to a healthy diet
Make small changes, one at a time. To start with, reduce processed food the first month, reduce sugar and carbs the next, use more of whole grains, nuts and seeds, increase vegetable intake, make healthier breakfast, lunch and dinner options one by one. This will help you develop a pattern in your eating habits that will stay with you for the whole of your life. The rule of thumb is to make some healthy change the first day of the month and stick to it (forever!)
Eat a king’s breakfast, prince’s lunch and pauper’s dinner
Eating a breakfast loaded with whole grains, vegetables and protein keeps you full longer and helps avoid cravings. The same goes for lunch. Make your dinner light with soups and protein. Switching to soups for dinner is quite effective in many ways – better health, healthy weight loss and more energy. You will also be able to sleep better with a light stomach. An added benefit of following a step-by-step switch to a healthy diet is that you will suddenly realize you don’t crave that unhealthy food anymore.
Do these tips appeal to you? Do you have any tips that worked for you? I would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments section.