We all know how common it is to eat on the run in our fast paced world. The days of a good breakfast each morning and sitting down to a wholesome, home cooked dinner each night are sporadic, at best, for most of us. Still, we all have to eat. This makes it more important than ever to include a wide variety of healthy foods for meals or snacks.
Healthy choices make a lot more sense than filling up on junk food. Consuming adequate amounts of necessary nutrients benefits our overall health, our weight, even our brain functions. Here are a handful of superior, beneficial tips to make some of those selections easier to make.
At snack time, bypass the popcorn, pretzels or chips. Opt instead for a serving of almonds. Calorie for calorie, the nuts will fill you up, reduce your consumption of saturated fats and, ultimately, lead to a smaller waistline than if you’d spent your extra snack calories on the chips.
Fruits and vegetables have long been known as the powerhouses of nutrition. One superior fruit, the blueberry, is high in the flavonoid anthocyanin. Studies have repeatedly shown the beneficial results of regular blueberry consumption on improving brain function.
To decrease your calorie consumption, fill up on fiber. Fiber slows digestion and helps create a feeling of fullness. Twenty-five grams a day is a good goal. Seek out sources such as vegetables, fruits, lentils, brown rice, beans, whole grain breads and pastas or high fiber cereals.
Skip the soft drinks. The regular variety is full of sugar. The sugar-free variety is full of sugar substitutes. Learn to make your beverage of choice water or tea. Teas, both green and black, offer a wide variety of healthful properties to soothe your nerves, improve your memory, combat fatigue and they do all of this for zero calories. The flavor options available are nearly limitless.
When hunger strikes, consider reaching for a food high in protein. Protein contains the same number or calories as carbohydrates, but it provides a feeling of fullness you won’t find with carbs. It will take longer to feel those hunger pangs again. Add a protein rich food to every meal to ward off hunger. Consider eggs, turkey, fat-free yogurt or milk as a part of breakfast, lunch or dinner.
We all love our empty calories, there’s no doubt about it. Don’t expect to give up everything. But do consider giving up “something.” By eliminating just one high calorie food choice each day you may be able to cut 200 calories or more from your daily calorie intake. Skip the latte, ditch the bagel, pass on dessert – one small change can add up to one big difference.
Surprisingly (or maybe not), there is one food on the usual “bad” list that is getting a lot of good press these days. Chocolate, in particular dark chocolate, is a tasty treat rich in flavonols. Flavonols have been found to dilate the arteries. So, a little bit of chocolate (moderation here, as with so many things, is key) may be just what it takes to reduce or prevent age-related dementia.
Healthy eating is not just about eliminating everything that looks good, smells good and tastes good. Healthy eating is about making sure to cover all the bases. Eat from the Food Pyramid. Choose snacks with healthy properties in mind. Don’t try to eliminate everything that you think is supposed to be bad for you. Delve into the facts a little and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that, just like with chocolate, you can “have your cake and eat it too” if you practice moderation.