There are so many fad diets and food trends these days, that it may feel impossible to start eating healthier. You’re probably wondering where to start. You may just continue with your old ways of eating, feeling overwhelmed by all the options out there. But, eating healthy isn’t just for weight loss and appearance. It contributes to your immunity and mental health, too so you can feel energetic, happy, and strong. Healthy eating is all about balance and doing what’s right for YOU. Otherwise, you won’t stick with it. Just because you are trying to make healthier choices doesn’t mean you’ll never eat pizza again! Rather, it’s about keeping some foods on the menu that feel good for you (and sometimes, pizza makes you feel really good!) – AND eating a balanced diet. When coupled with sufficient sleep, exercise, and hydration, a healthy diet can change your life for the better.
The trouble with many of the fad diets out there is that they aren’t sustainable long-term. If you want to get some results in just weeks decreasing inflammation, or losing weight a personalized diet supervised by your health care or nutrition professional can be helpful (click here to inquire about this option with us).
Here are nine simple tips to improve your health through the food you eat:
- Limit your sugar intake. Sugar is added to many, many food products. And sugar is inflammatory. If you have aches and pains, sugar in your diet will increase those aches and pains.
- Make your own salad dressing (there is added sugar and lots of inflammatory causing additives in pre-prepared salad dressings. Consider making your own with salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar, or lemon juice. Lime juice with olive oil and a little salt on a salad can be refreshing and delicious! The olive oil must be high quality or it can be inflammatory (must be single sourced and bottled AT the source).
- Eat wild caught fish twice a week for the health of your heart and to decrease inflammation. Farmed fish does not have the same health benefits.
- Eat a green salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc at lunch AND dinner with a simple home-made dressing. It doesn’t have to be a big project. Just buy the pre-washed salad tub and grab a handful out of there each meal. Greens are stock-full of health-giving benefits. You will notice your digestive system is happier if you do this for a few days. If you really must eat a pre-made dressing, limit the amount.
- Add a single type of steamed vegetable BOTH at lunch and dinner, such as cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, etc. You can buy these frozen so they are easy to add to your diet.
- Limit your grain intake because grains can be inflammatory. Same with potatoes. Instead of potatoes, bread or pasta, try squash or sweet potatoes with your meal as your carbohydrate. The fiber in squash and sweet potatoes will help your digestive system AND help moderate the way your body handles sugar. If you are trying to avoid corn but love tortilla chips, these chips made by Siete foods (also found at Mothers, Sprouts, and Whole Foods) are delicious and also grain free!
- It is easy to eat too much protein and not enough vegetables. Make sure your protein intake is appropriate for your age and weight as a general guideline. To determine your RDA for protein, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or use this online protein calculator.
- Try to mostly eat food you make yourself – pre-made food has lots of additives in it which can be inflammatory.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water. Water is essential for the chemical reactions that give you energy, strength, and also essential for your brain to think clearly. Water also flushes “toxins” the by-products of these chemical reactions and processes out of the body. Water helps lubricate your joints keeping them cushion-like, and keeps your soft tissues mobile, and skin healthy. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least one half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water every day. If you are exercising in the heat or very strenuously you may need more. Some people need slightly more, or slightly less, but this is a good starting place. If you go to this use this online calculator it will be a better estimate based on your age, weight, and height.
If this list of 9 simple things to change in your diet still feels overwhelming, start with one thing. Incorporate that into your diet and then gradually add more changes. Eating healthier will help you feel better, sleep better, and heal better. And don’t forget, we are here to support you and answer any questions you might have along the way as you make these changes. We would love to talk with you to find out how we can support you in reaching your better health goals. Contact us today!
-Doctor of Physical Therapy Nicole Anderson
- If you take medication which requires certain foods be consumed or avoided, check with your doctor before beginning these diet changes.
- This dietary advice does not claim to cure or diagnose any disease, and was not prepared by a registered dietitian.