Apr 10 2008

5 simple things you can do today to eat healthier

Eat healthierMany people want to eat healthier, but don’t know where to start. Here is a short list of things you can do today to make your diet healthier.

1. No more fast food

This might be hard for many people who are used to the convenience of fast food. Unfortunately there is nothing healthy about fast food. It might be deceiving since it smells good and looks good. But all this is chemical engineered and has almost no nutritional value. Also most fast food has excessive amounts of sugar, fat and salt. So stop eating it! Take some veggies with you and some fruit so you have something to chew on when you get hungry. You can also make your own snacks and sandwiches at home and take them with you. This will not only give you control over what you eat, but also help you save some money.

2. Read food labels

It can quite an experience to read labels of modern processed foods. A box of cereal alone has often a long list of unspeakable ingredients. The best rule is: The more ingredients and the more chemical and complicated they sound the more unhealthy is the food. Most of these are artificial flavors, sugars and chemicals to give these foods a longer shelf life. It is also a good idea to take the foods you eat on a regular basis and type the ingredients you are not sure about into Google. The reading of labels should be a rule of thumb. Even when foods say natural and organic on it. They can still contain unhealthy ingredients hidden at the bottom of the list. It is important to know that the first ingredients on the label are the once that have the highest concentration in the food. So if it says sugar first on the top of the list you probably can assume that this product is not very healthy.

3. Eat fruit & vegetables

Everybody knows that fruit and vegetables are healthy. Unfortunately most people still don’t eat enough of them in their diet. The tomatoes on a burger are not a salad and french fries are not a healthy vegetable. I try to eat a salad with each meal and additional make another serving of boiled or steamed vegetables. There are so many great tasting healthy vegetables out there and with some spices added they can be very flavorful. Fruit is a good snack between meals and is also easy to take with you. I eat an apple every day and a couple of other fruits such as banana, grapefruit, kiwi or melon. Start slowly integrating fruit and vegetables into your diet. One small salad a day and an apple is good for a start.

4. Buy organic

Many products these days are grown with pesticides and fertilizers. These chemicals are often toxic and leave unwanted residues in your food. Organic food is a healthy alternative that is not only healthier but also tastes better. Even if organic food is often more expensive there are places like the farmers market where local organic food can often be found for reasonable prices. You can find a local farmers market near you on this website.

5. Buy fresh not packaged

With the advancement of technology more and more packaged food has appeared in the grocery stores. These foods are made for convenience and not for health. Most prepackaged foods that can be heated up in a microwave in 5 minutes are full of chemical ingredients to make them nonperishable and better tasting. One look at the label of these foods will give you a good idea if the product on the shelf is healthy or not. A good step towards a healthy lifestyle is to stop eating any standard microwave-meals. If you don’t have much time to cook during the week and have relied on these quick-meals so far, try to pre-cook large portions of food on the weekend and you can heat up the leftovers during the week for a quick meal.

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