1. There is no quick fix when it comes to improving nutritional health
Proper nutrition is not an activity or something you do once a day, or even once every week. To improve health and build a better lifestyle, it is important to make thoughtful dietary choices throughout the course of your everyday life. Many people search for quick-fix solutions through supplements or weight loss programs to offset less healthy dietary choices. However, this ‘gotta-have-it-now’ mentality leads us astray because in reality, the majority of these solutions are too good to be true and many produce only temporary results while simultaneously draining our wallets.
The truth is that the best way to create lasting nutritional health is through a steady well-balanced diet. This means a diet that is low in simple sugars, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, high in healthy fats and protein (skip the trans and saturated fats). Balance is key! Make sure to try and incorporate a variety fruits and vegetables, particularly the vegetables!
2. Make the time for nutrition
The most dreaded yet honest word when conveying the key to nutritional health is EFFORT. Proper nutrition requires effort: yes you can do it with more or less effort depending on how you cater your dietary plans to your lifestyle, but the truth of the matter is that proper nutrition will most likely require more effort than eating an unhealthy diet.
Plan to put a little time aside each day for nutrition, whether it’s through preparing well balanced meals, choosing healthier on-the-go options, or making thoughtful purchases at the supermarket. If you plan on making time for nutrition in your life just as you would exercise, sleep, or even meditation, it will pay off later and save you from resorting to unhealthy quick fixes down the road.
3. Do what works for YOU
There are so many ultra-specific nutritional strategies or diets that are presented as the ‘hottest’ new diet or the single ‘best’ way to reach your goals– don’t listen to this. The notion that a single diet is the best for everyone is false. Each person’s body, digestive system, and metabolism is different. What may work for one person might not work for the next. Be in touch with your body and how it responds to different foods and different proportions of macronutrients. At the same time make sure to get the vitamins and minerals you need.
While there are general nutritional guidelines you should follow, there’s no such thing as a “best” diet for everyone. Don’t get discouraged if a diet or eating plan works for one of your friends, a personal trainer, or nutritional expert, but doesn’t work for you. Learn what works and doesn’t work with the ultimate understanding that at the end of the day the perfect diet is the one that works best for YOU individually.
4. Beverages, beverages, beverages
Today’s beverages are notorious for being a major contributor of empty calories to the diet. What are empty calories? Empty calories are essentially energy (calories) provided to the body, with very little nutritional content. Chips, cookies, ice cream, and soda are all major sources of empty calories. Drinks such as soda, juice, or even sports drinks provide the body with a decent amount of calories but contribute very little to the nutritional needs of an individual. Choosing low calorie or low sugar beverages is such an easy, yet often overlooked, way to cut down the amount of empty calories consumed in your diet. Ditch that soda for water next time.
5. Have fun with it!
Last but not least, have fun with it! Eating healthy shouldn’t be a burden or feel like a chore. Find a way to cook healthy AND exciting recipes. Explore nutritious foods you may have never tried before, and seek out fun and healthy dining options when on the go. You’ll be much more successful in having a nutritious diet when it’s enjoyable and fits into your lifestyle. Additionally there’s no harm in boosting morale by treating yourself to a scoop of ice cream or a slice of pie every once in awhile– just remember that balance and moderation are key!