Since Summer time is practically here already, it’s definitely time to get that summer bod in shape. That doesn’t mean that you have to look a certain way or be a certain size–you just need to be healthy, feel confident about your body and be comfortable in your own skin.
Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet and exercise not only help you lose weight and boost your appearance, but they also boost your self-esteem, confidence, mood and energy levels. For the first blog in our Summer-Ready Body Series, we’re going to start with the foundation to a healthier body, which is maintaining a healthy diet.
Drink at least 8 cups (64 oz.) of water a day.
Don’t skip meals–especially breakfast!
Limit consumption of certain stimulants.
Eat 3 – 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
Keep a supply of healthy snacks at hand.
Think smaller portions.
Eat protein at every meal.
Add healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats.
Keep your bones strong with calcium.
Take time to enjoy your food!
Water helps with metabolism, regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen into cells and detoxifying our bodies. If plain water’s not your thing, add a splash of lemon or other citrus flavor.
When you start skipping meals, your body goes into survival mode and starts to react by slowing down your metabolism and storing fat cells. Plus, not eating will make you feel lethargic, dizzy, cause headaches, and you’ll be an overall cranky, irritable person. A good breakfast can kick-start your metabolism.
Stay away from caffeine, alcohol and sugar. It may be hard at first to cut them out of your diet completely, so if you can’t do it cold turkey, make it a gradual process. Look into substitutions for each. For example, drink green tea instead of coffee.
Try to eat at least 1 portion from each color group–oranges, reds, greens, yellows (you get the idea). Remember juices, dried fruit and fresh fruit smoothies can also count toward your daily amount.
Snacking is OK, as long as it’s healthy snacking. It’s tempting to head over to the vending machine and get a candy bar, but it won’t do you any good. Instead, have some wholesome cereal bars, low-fat fruit yogurts, dried fut, and unsalted peanuts at the ready to combat those snack cravings.
Divide your daily calories into smaller portions of meals and snacks, so you should be eating eating 4-5 meals a day. This will help you to better control your appetite and weight.
Be sure to include healthy protein-rich foods at every meal. The best sources of protein are fish, poultry and vegetables, such as beans, whole grains and nuts. If you can’t live without red meat, keep in mind the portion size and always opt for the leanest cut. If you want to try something new, give soy products a go.
Healthy fats are needed for your brain, heart and cells, as well as your skin, hair, and nails. Omega-3 fats, found in fish and plant oils, are particularly important and help to improve your mood. You should be getting this daily, but if not, then take a daily Omega-3 supplement. Reduce or eliminate saturated fats and trans fats from your diet. They’re usually found in fast foods, fried goods, baked foods, candies, cookies, and other processed foods.
Calcium is an essential nutrient that your body needs for strong bones and teeth. Get your calcium from low-fat sources, such as low-fat yogurt and skim-milk. Recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg/day if you’re under 50, and 1200 mg/day of you’re over 50 years old. If you don’t get the recommended amount from your diet, then take calcium supplements and Vitamin D supplements.
Last, but certainly not least…
Don’t rush through your meal. Enjoy it. Connect with your food. Chew your food slowly so you can savor the flavors. This will help you to avoid overeating, because your body will feel satisfied and communicate with you efficiently so you know when you’re full.