by MARNÉ AMOGUIS
Your diet affects how you think and feel and your overall performance. Making small changes to your lifestyle habits can help you feel more alert and energized throughout the day, manage stress better, and promote better mental and physical health.
Unfortunately, when you’ve had the same diet for a long time, making changes can be difficult. However, small changes can have great results, and they don’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Here are things you can do right now to help your diet.
Adding More Vegetables To Meals
Everything you put in your body can affect your diet and your overall health. For example, if you have acid reflux, you know you should avoid certain foods. If you don’t have any health concerns, then you know you need to eat a balanced diet.
Add another vegetable to all of your meals, no matter which meal it is, to enhance your diet. The best vegetables are green or brightly colored as they carry the most nutritional value. There’s a way to add vegetables to any meal. For example, you can eat kale salad with your sandwich for lunch or add spinach and tomatoes to your scrambled eggs in the morning.
Eat More Fruit
Eating more fresh fruit can help you maintain your energy while keeping your cravings for sugar under control. You can eat fruit as a dessert or a snack, but be careful not to eat too much as fruit contains more sugar than vegetables.
(Correctly) Stay Hydrated
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize what they drink can also impact their diets. If you’re drinking sugary soft drinks, you might gain weight or experience crashes throughout the day. Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, and being hydrated can keep your energy levels up throughout the entire day.
If you’re not a fan of the taste of water, consider putting a slice of lemon or lime in it to make it taste sweeter. Water will help lubricate your joints, improve digestion, and carry nutrients to your body’s cells.
Not only that, but your feelings of hunger might be thirst. When you don’t drink enough water, the food in your stomach won’t expand enough to make you feel full. By drinking more water, you can improve your diet by promoting feelings of fullness while improving your digestion.
We understand that sometimes you just need a little caffeine boost to wake up in the morning, so it’s okay to continue to drink your morning brew. However, instead of adding loads of syrups, sugars, and creams, consider adding sugar-free sweetener so you don’t add calories to your coffee or tea.
Check Your Portion Size
Portion control is key for improving your diet and supporting better health. Most people eat whatever is on their plates without considering whether or not they feel full. Instead of loading up your plate and hoping for the best, consider giving yourself smaller portions and slowly eating your meal. If you’re still hungry after your meal, you can always go for seconds. By practicing portion control and slow eating, you can begin to think more mindfully about the food you put on your plate.
No diet is complete without having an exercise routine to go with it. While weight loss mainly depends on what you eat, being active can help boost your diet and make you feel healthier and more motivated. The good news is you don’t have to go to the gym or take a long run to get the health benefits of movement. If you’re a little out of shape, you can start by walking your pet or doing light yoga before moving on to more vigorous exercises.
As you become more fit and start building muscle while losing weight, your energy needs will change. Remember, the more calories you burn, the more you may need to consume. Just make sure those calories come from healthy foods that can promote weight loss or muscle growth.
Get Better Sleep
Sleep helps your body properly function by allowing your brain and body to rest. As you may know, poor sleep quality has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and a greater waist circumference. Not only that, but sleep can impact your appetite and overall nutrition. Individuals who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to eat more because their body needs fuel they didn’t get from a full night’s sleep. However, this food intake comes without an increase in energy expenditure, which means they’re eating more than they need for the day.
Not only that, but sleep deprivation may lead to cravings. Getting enough sleep can help you make better nutritional choices while promoting weight loss.
Read The Labels
There are labels on every food item in your kitchen. If there aren’t, you can easily look up the nutritional facts of any food online and get a general idea of the calories and macronutrients such as fiber, fat, and carbs. Learning how to correctly read food labels can help you count calories and improve your diet. Not only that, but it can alert you to ingredients in foods you might want to avoid, especially if you’re allergic to anything.
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals ahead of time allows you to cut down on midday snacking and eating unhealthy foods because they’re faster than cooking. When you plan your meals, you can easily count your calories for each day without worrying about what you’re eating. Not only that, but it can help you save time that you could use to exercise or relax.
Improving Your Diet
If you already know you’re eating the right foods and have a healthy diet but want to maximize the benefits of your diet, consider any number of these recommendations. You should always aim to get enough sleep so your body and your brain can function properly and allow you to make healthy decisions while having enough energy for exercise every day.
When it comes to exercise, find activities you enjoy so exercising doesn’t become a chore. While it might not always be your favorite thing about the day, you can find ways to make it less of a burden.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.