The Basic Ingredients of a Healthy Diet

Posted by Luisa de Luca on

 

Woman Eating After Gym

With so much information readily available, it’s easy to take a Do-It-Yourself approach to creating a diet custom-designed for your lifestyle. However, that same amount of information that makes it possible for anyone to research diets and nutrition can also make it overwhelming to decipher what advice to follow. Rather than a long list of off-limit foods, the best approach you can take to a healthy diet is actually quite simple and requires only a few basic ingredients:

1: Willingness to change. This might sound obvious, but if you aren’t committed 100% from the beginning, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Embracing a healthy lifestyle means you will likely have to break bad habits, be inconvenienced from your regular routine, and put in more work than you’re used to. A few things you might have to do are:

• Take the time to meal plan • Cook more meals at home

• Exercise more than you’re accustomed to • Understand how to read nutrition labels

• Eat less food (smaller portions)

2: Less sugar. Added sugar is one of the greatest contributing factors to obesity in America. It can lead to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Since 16% of the American diet is made up of added sugar, this is an obvious place to cut back. Sugar is addictive, so you’ll be more successful if you wean yourself off it a little at a time. A few tips are:

Eliminate artificial sweeteners altogether

• Use small amounts of healthy, natural sugar alternatives whenever possible

Cut out sugary drinks like soda, coffee drinks, and alcoholic beverages

• “Treat” yourself with naturally sweet treats like fruit, nut butters, or a small piece of dark chocolate

Table Salt

3: Less salt. The USDA recommends no more than 2,400 mg of salt per day; the average American eats around 4,000 mg per day. Salt is no demon, but excessive amounts of it have been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease. You can eat less by:

• Adding flavor with more diverse spices instead of salt

Eating out less; fast food is especially high in sodium

4: More colorful fruits and vegetables. Many Americans don’t get enough nutrition from their food, primarily because they eat so many refined and processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are the best way to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to be healthy. Here are a few ways you can eat more:

• Get creative and experiment cooking with unexpected vegetables

Add leafy greens to your morning shake for a nutrition boost [ get free recipes here! ]

• Use a supplement such as 310 Juice, which is chock full of phytonutrients and antioxidants

5: More fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate found in plants. It plays an important role in overall health, keeping digestion working properly, regulating cholesterol, normalizing blood sugar levels, and satiates the appetite. While most Americans don’t get enough, you can work more fiber into your diet easily:

• Always choose whole grains over refined, processed options

• Use a fiber supplement – our 310 Shake, for example, has 5 grams of fiber per serving (20% DVA!) and is an effortless way to add fiber to your morning routine

• Raw fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of fiber

 

High Protein Diet

6: Proper portions of protein. Protein is the #1 key to weight loss. It fuels our muscles, keeps us feeling full, and encourages our bodies to use up stored fat. Getting enough protein is a challenge, but doesn’t have to be. Try these ideas:

• Change up your protein source each day of the week (rotate pork, chicken, beef, fish, and plant)

• Supplement your diet with plant protein when possible (nuts, seeds, beans, and dairy are great)

• Add a healthy protein powder to your morning shake; 310 Shake has 15 grams per serving!

7: Healthy fats. The word “fat” has such a bad reputation, but fats are of vital importance to our health. Good fats actually reduce the risk of heart disease, and play a role in keeping your brain functioning at its best – even warding off dementia. Navigate the world of which fats to consume with these guidelines:

• Always avoid the trans-fats found in processed food, vegetable shortening, and anything with a “partially hydrogenated” oil in it

• Enjoy monounsaturated fats (from avocados, nuts, and seeds) and polyunsaturated fats (these are your Omega-3’s, found in fish)

• Eat saturated fats carefully; when it comes from natural sources like salmon, whole milk, or coconut oil it’s generally okay

8: Healthy carbs. Many diets vilify carbohydrates, which are actually a crucial part of a healthy diet. The important thing to remember is moderation, and always choosing high-quality carbs (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) over low-quality carbs (like white flour, white rice, and processed foods). Get quality carbs (and more healthy fiber – see #5!) with these tips:

• Cook with only brown rice, whole wheat flour, and whole grains

• Explore new grains you might not be familiar with like quinoa, millet, or barley Eating a healthy diet is a mindset shift as much as anything. If you can focus on the big picture ideas – like the ones listed above – your daily small choices will be simplified for you.

 

Sources:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/healthy-eating.htm http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/usda-guidelines-sodium-intake-7839.html


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