We all like to think that we’re eating healthily. However, many people start a new diet and wonder why they don’t feel any healthier. They don’t lose weight or put on muscle like they wanted. The truth is that many of us have a tendency to think we’re eating more healthily than we really are. Sometimes it’s due to misinformation and not understanding what is and isn’t good for us. But sometimes it’s just because we don’t realize what our eating habits look like. For example, you might think you only have the occasional soda. But if you add up the sodas you have in a week or a month, you might discover you’re drinking more than you thought. Use this guide to make sure you’re really eating healthily.
Control Your Portions
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they eat too much food. They think they’ve chosen healthy ingredients, so they can have as much as they want. For example, you might decide to have some lean chicken and vegetables for dinner. It might be the start of a healthy meal, but it’s not so great if you pile your plate high with food. If you’re used to having larger portions, adjusting to smaller ones can be hard. You have to either put up with being a little hungry sometimes or change your portion sizes until you’re used to smaller ones. It’s also important to recognize the difference between being satisfied and being full. You shouldn’t feel bloated and like you couldn’t take another bite at the end of your meal.
It’s important to pay attention to calories. 500 calories of salad might have less fat and sugar than other things, but it’s still 500 calories. While it’s better than the same amount in chips or pizza, it still counts toward your intake for the day. Of course, you should think about your activity levels when you work out how many calories you need.
Pay More Attention to Ingredients
The other thing some people don’t pay enough attention to is the ingredients. What makes up the individual parts of your meal? If you’re using fruits and vegetables, there’s often not much difference regarding healthiness. Some people prefer to buy organic produce or at least to buy fresh over frozen. However, there are many other items you should be careful about eating. For example, some pasta and pasta sauce doesn’t sound like an unhealthy meal. But if you use sauce from a jar, what exactly is in it? Many of those sauces are full of sugar. You should watch what you’re putting into your food. It’s a good idea to look for companies that focus on making healthy food. For example, Hampton Creek ingredients are designed to make it easier for you to make healthy meals.
You should be careful about things that you add to your healthy meals too. You might start off with a salad, and then add a dressing and croutons for flavor and crunch. You could have drizzled hundreds of calories onto your healthy salad. One of the best ways to solve this is to make things like salads and croutons yourself. Don’t buy store ingredients with all sorts of additives in them. You can easily make something like a dressing yourself with some vinegar and oil. You can create your own mayonnaise and other condiments too. Don’t forget to consider what you cook with too. For example, don’t use too much butter or oil when cooking.
Be Stricter About Snacks
You might be eating healthy meals, but perhaps you’re not as strict with snacks. Healthier meals are a good start, but you could be ruining your efforts if you snack on the wrong things. There’s nothing wrong with having snacks. It helps to have something small to help you through the day. Many people choose to have several snacks throughout the day instead of larger meals. However, your snacks need to be just as healthy as your meals. Sometimes that means thinking outside of the box. You have to forget your usual ideas of snack foods like chips, and consider other options. A snack could be some vegetables and dip, a piece of fruit, or a handful of nuts.
Make Sure Your Diet is Balanced
A lot of people will cut out one food group when they’re trying to be more healthy. This can sometimes be a healthy way of dieting. However, many experts recommend a more balanced approach. Instead of cutting out carbs or saturated facts, you can have everything in moderation. You should try to get all the food groups into your diet, so you get the energy and the nutrients you need.
Ensure You’re Substituting Nutrients in Special Diets
Many people eat special diets, either by choice or by necessity. However, you can maintain a balanced diet while following the rules. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can replace the protein from meat with pulses, beans, and other sources. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin or another supplement. They help you replace what your diet doesn’t allow. For example, many vegans take an iron supplement. You can also look for ingredients adapted to your diet. For example, you can buy gluten-free or lactose-free foods.
Eat for Your Fitness Goals
Don’t forget to design your diet for your fitness goals. You might want to lose weight, get stronger, or grow your muscles. It’s important to take your workouts into account when you’re planning your food. You need plenty of protein if you want to be more muscled, and you need to keep control of your calories to lose weight. But even if you’re not aiming to lose weight, it doesn’t mean you can eat what you like. Remember that you shouldn’t be eating more than you need.
If you want to eat healthily, you have to take a long look at your diet. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what’s really going into your body.