Does the thought of dieting make you shudder with dread? The answer to this question is usually a resounding, “YES!” Honestly, a lot of people put it off simply because they’re just not sure where to begin. Overwhelming feelings and negative thoughts about dieting can stop you before you even get started. Luckily, we make it easy: embrace these simple ways to start eating a more balanced diet. You can ease into the weight loss process smoothly and finally start getting the results you crave!
For starters, what exactly is a balanced diet? Simply put, a balanced diet provides your body with the appropriate amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that it needs each day. Eating the right foods will improve your quality of life, boost your energy levels, and allow you to shed optimal amounts of weight!
Simple Ways to Start Eating a More Balanced Diet
These simple ways to start eating a more balanced diet require just a little bit of effort each day. Once you make one healthy choice, it becomes easier to make another. As each day passes, you will realize these new choices are turning into healthy habits that will transform your body and last a lifetime!
1. Begin by Focusing on Nutrients Instead of Calories
Starting by focusing on nutrients rather than calories can help you learn which foods you should really be eating. If you were to focus on calories alone, you could miss out on vital macro and micronutrients that your body needs. For this reason, it’s a great idea to learn how to Decipher Nutrition Labels.
An example of placing nutrients ahead of calories would be to compare potato chips to Greek yogurt. If you eat 100 calories worth of potato chips, you’ll miss out on protein and vitamins that you could have gotten from 100 calories worth of Greek yogurt. All calories are not equal!
Check out this list of 50 Superfoods – The Ultimate Shopping List for some of the healthiest options out there!
This is not to say that counting calories isn’t important. We’re simply suggesting that when you’re first trying to change your eating habits, it’s best to focus on nutrient-dense foods. Once you are aware of the best foods to eat, you can then figure out how many calories your body requires daily and use what you’ve learned to achieve your goals!
2. Practice Portion Control
Once you know what to eat, reign it in and focus on portion control. This means that you’ll be able to expand your horizons a bit and enjoy the occasional treat as well! Paying attention to portion sizes is another step in the right direction towards eating the correct number of calories. Read our article on How to Lose Weight with Portion Control to put this tip into practice!
3. Keep Healthy Options Readily Available
We can’t emphasize the importance of meal-prepping enough! Preparing meals ahead of time means you’ll always have healthy options on hand, ensuring that you never stray from your diet. A little planning can go a long way!
Check out the Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Prepping. It is full of helpful tips for a hassle-free weight-loss journey! It will also help you prep every meal and snack of the day so that you can grab it, eat it, and get on with your day.
Try out some of the meal and snack options below:
- 6 Scrumptious Make-Ahead Breakfasts
- 15 Make-Ahead Lunch Recipes
- 25 Clean Weight Loss Snacks that You can Make Ahead of Time
- 15 Make-Ahead Healthy Dinners
4. Find Healthy Recipes that Fit Your Tastes
Whether you’re craving Mexican food, Chinese takeout, Italian comfort food, or even some good old BBQ, we’ve got you covered. Our healthy versions of your favorite meals will allow you to indulge without any experiencing guilt at all!
Check out our massive collection of recipes and find your favorite dishes with a new, healthy spin. Learning how to clean up your favorite dishes will make this new healthy lifestyle enjoyable and thus sustainable, as well.
5. Ditch Sugary, Carbonated Beverages for Healthier Options
While the occasional indulgence is perfectly acceptable, drinking soda every day is not. Let’s look back at our first point for a moment: nutrients over calories. Soda offers no nutritional value whatsoever; it’s nothing but sugar. Drinking it can add up to hundreds of excess calories per day.
Kick the habit for good by trying these 12 Clean Drinks that are Better than Soda. Not only do they taste delicious, but they also offer you essential vitamins, minerals, and more!
6. Learn Some Healthy Ingredient Swaps
Swapping out one or two ingredients can slash hundreds of potential empty calories from a meal. Try replacing mayo with avocado, pasta with zucchini noodles, sour cream with plain Greek yogurt, and so on. These healthy choices can help you balance out your diet and shed excess weight.
7. Look for Keywords
Eating a meal that you didn’t prepare yourself is unavoidable. You should totally go with your best friend when she wants to visit her favorite restaurant for her birthday! Using this tip, you won’t have to worry about your diet because you know what to look for on the menu.
Searching for terms like grilled, broiled, and steamed are excellent ways to watch caloric intake. When dining out, we recommend choosing a dish that includes a lean protein like chicken or fish. Choosing steamed veggies as a side in place of french fries or mashed potatoes will also cut down on calorie count.
It’s important topay attention to sauces and marinades, too. Your best bet at keeping your meal flat-belly friendly is to ask for no sauce, or light sauce. Avoid meals that are described with words such as fried and creamy.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to change your eating habits. All it takes to begin eating a more balanced diet is a little bit of knowledge and willpower. You can still enjoy your favorite foods and meals, but in a healthier way that will help you reach your goals!