Eating well doesn't need to mean making major sacrifices. Create a food routine you can get excited about with these simple steps.
Between conflicting nutrition research, fad diets, and food myths, healthy eating can seem daunting at times. But the truth is, making nutritious choices doesn't need to be as hard as everyone makes it sound. We narrowed down the five healthy eating tips that will make a noticeable difference in your energy levels, waistline, and overall health—minimal effort required.
Get Your Meal Prep On
Meal planning will help you make healthier food choices and reduce impulse decisions. Plan meals that you're excited for, and get your grocery shopping done at the beginning of the week so you're not tempted to skip out on your plan, no matter how tempting your friend's pizza snap looks.
Interested in meal planning but can't find the time? Try a meal planning service like eMeals, which will take care of the planning process—including creating a weekly menu, crafting a grocery list for the week, and giving you easy-to-follow, guided recipes and instruction videos. (In some cities, they even deliver groceries right to your door.)
Control Your Portions
First things first. Figure out how much you actually should be eating. Knowing that a ½ cup portion of cooked pasta should resemble your fist and that a serving of veggies is the size of a baseball will help you confidently dish up a healthy amount during dinner. Take advantage of these other helpful tricks as well to ensure portion success. After dinner, immediately divide and put away leftovers to reduce the urge to go for seconds. Keep a few mini tubs of ice cream on hand instead of whole pints. And treat yourself to cute new plates that are a tad bit smaller.
Sick and tired of the same old meals? Channel your inner spontaneity and try new health foods whenever possible to reduce the chance of boredom. Explore popular healthy food blogs for new recipes to try. Next time you're at the farmer's market, purchase a vegetable you've never seen before and learn how to prepare it—like kohlrabi, which is full of vitamin C and potassium, or jicama, which is said to aid in digestion and boost your immune system. You never know, you might find a new fave.
Treat Yo' Self
One of the true secrets to success may lie in breaking the rules. Knowing that it's OK to cheat once in a while can reduce the urge to completely give up and binge on that entire bag of Doritos. Splurge the healthy way by choosing foods that offer at least a few nutritional benefits. Next time you're craving sweets, reach for chocolate-covered strawberries for a treat that's loaded with immunity-boosting and potentially wrinkle-fighting vitamin C—bonus points if you choose dark chocolate for an antioxidant boost. Or if you're craving salty chips, snack on a healthier version like white sweet potato chips.
Spice Up Your Meals
Many people associate eating healthy with foods that are downright dull. But this myth is *so* wrong. Yes, you'll want to cut down on processed food and extra sugar—but once you do, you might actually crave them less. Focus on bold seasonings and spices, and getting the best quality produce you can. Here are a few more tips:
Try adding turmeric to your morning coffee.
Mix fresh herbs and veggies in a frittata for Sunday brunch.
Add a low-cal, flavor-packed sauce like chimichurri or harissa.
Upgrade your black bean tacos with a dash of cumin.
You'll be surprised by how bland processed food tastes in comparison.
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