How to Eat Healthier Without (Hardly) Trying
Healthier habits are easy to adhere to with a little planning.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: October 15th, 2012
ur nation's obesity rate is creeping higher and higher every year, and when you find yourself working in an office (where going out to eat is the norm) or being too busy to cook dinner every night, it can be tough to eat healthy foods. But with a little planning ahead, you can make sure you're not just eating McDonald's for breakfast, an allegedly healthy "salad" that actually has enough calories for a whole day in it, and candy from the communal bowl all day. Here are a few great tips for staying on track when you're trying to eat healthier.
1) Eat this, not that. While packing your lunch every day can seem like an overwhelming task (because even if you do it the night before, it still takes time that many of us don't have), it helps because you know exactly what you're eating. If you definitely can't do this, though, there are ways around eating unhealthy fast-foods every day. Ask for salad dressing on the sides, swap out carbs for veggies (that is, get the apple as your side, not chips or bread), and forego things like cheese or sour cream on burritos. Cutting just a few ingredients and/or replacing them with something else can not only add more flavor (say, adding spicy salsa instead of shredded cheese), but it can cut hundreds of calories at a time.
2) Plan ahead and make several meals at a time. This is great for things like breakfast. While an Egg McMuffin might not inherently seem bad, the way these foods are prepared often add more fat and calories than necessary. If you love the convenience factor of them, though, you can make several at a time and freeze them. Heated up in a microwave or toaster oven, they're nearly replicas of the Golden Arches' fare.
Planning ahead just a little bit can help you avoid healthy-eating slip-ups.
3) Fruits and veggies as snacks. Simple carbohydrates, while they may not be the devil that some make them out to be, aren't great for you. Seriously—spend a week eating a few pieces of candy each day and see how you feel. Sluggish? Heavier than normal? Now cut them out of your diet and see what happens. Instead of reaching for things like candy and cookies and other junk, cut up fruits and vegetables and keep them on hand for snacks. Can't handle plain produce yet? Make some dip or use low-calorie salad dressing (just make sure it doesn't have garbage like high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list). You can also snack on almonds and other nuts, just watch your intake, as although they're healthier than candy, they're also high in calories and fats.
4) Eat throughout the day. One of our biggest pitfalls of trying to stay healthy is having a great lunch, then not eating again until 6 or 7 p.m. when we get home from work, at which point we're starving and overeat. Bringing a (healthy!) snack and drinking water to tide you over between meals is imperative if you're trying to stick with any sort of diet. Get too hungry and you'll want to eat everything in sight.
5) Rethink your meal structure. Instead of having vegetables with your protein (like a steak), think of having a steak with your vegetables. Since, on a typical dinner plate, veggies should take up half of the plate while protein and carbs take up one-fourth each, it makes sense to reimagine your meals as more vegetable heavy. With fewer calories but more nutrients, you'll be filled up.