Adopting a healthy lifestyle by making positive changes is not always easy. It involves setting realistic goals and making gradual changes that lead to significant achievements. Generally, small positive changes are more sustainable than sudden ones. Therefore, anyone seeking to improve their diet and lifestyle should consider making minor changes that eventually have a significant impact. People who always set unrealistic goals, such as avoiding certain foods completely, should try small and less drastic changes instead. This piece suggests a few minor nutritional changes that can have a significant positive impact.
Include Some protein in Every Meal
High-protein diets are associated with improved immunity and health. Therefore, consider eating some protein with every meal, especially for those who want to manage weight. But what are the best sources of protein? The leading nutrition websites such as supplementrelief.com recommend meat, eggs, legumes, nuts, and dairy products. However, avoid eating more than 500g of red meat every week and processed meats because they contain additives and high amounts of salt.
Use Low-Fat Milk
Switching from whole milk to low-fat milk is a small change that can have a lasting positive impact. Professionals recommend replacing whole milk with semi-skimmed milk and later to skimmed milk. Using skimmed milk with cereals daily can reduce 160kcl across the week and help manage weight.
Use Quality Cereals for Breakfast
Some people rarely read the labels on their cereals. Avoid cereals with added sugars, salts, honey, and syrup. Instead, look for whole grains, like porridge oats, and check the ingredients. Remember that cereals containing dried fruits may have a high sugar content but provides more vitamins and fiber. Since nutrition professionals recommend about 5 fruits daily, eating dried fruits in cereals is a step in the right direction.
Consume More Veggies
Vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients required to stay healthy and prevent diseases. However, since the same type of vegetable may not provide all essential nutrients, professionals recommend using a variety of vegetables in every meal. Increasing vegetable consumption also helps manage calories by reducing the consumption of energy-dense foods. Professionals recommend filling the plate with veggies first, leaving smaller space for carbohydrates.
Drink Enough Water
The human body needs water to stay healthy and perform optimally. Drinking even a small amount of water helps boost athletic and cognitive functions. Dehydration could lead to health complications such as headache, dizziness, seizure, kidney failure, coma, and death in extreme cases. Some people drink juices, milk, and soft drinks and reduce water consumption, especially during the cold season. However, these drinks increase energy and sugar intake, which has an impact on weight management efforts. Therefore, drink enough water daily and avoid substituting it with juices and soft drinks. Remember to adjust the water intake based on temperature, occupation, and daily activities.
Consume Fiber Rich Foods
Eating high-fiber foods can alter the entire dietary pattern and improve overall health. Dietary fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. Interestingly, these foods also provide minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Switching to fiber-rich foods reduces the risk of diabetes, colorectal cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Also, dietary fiber helps with weight management. Therefore, consider reducing white bread and refined starch by replacing them with fruits and vegetables. Replace pretzels or potato chips with fruits or nuts and add lentils or beans to the diet.
Some people eat too many refined starches, sugars, and grains daily. Unfortunately, refined starch (mainly from white flour) does not contain fiber and essential nutrients. However, whole grains such as oats, quinoa, barley, wheat berries, and bulgur provide essential nutrients and enhance long-term health. Therefore, consider replacing pretzels, rice, and chips with whole grains. Avoid refined carbs and cereals and enjoy fruits, nuts, and yogurt. Instead of eating white bread daily, consider healthier options such as veggies and beans, nuts, and popcorn.
Eat Leaner Meat
Some people cannot go for a few days without eating meat. Therefore, they cannot keep up with drastic changes such as replacing meat completely. However, they can make minor sustainable changes for better health. For example, they can buy leaner meat to reduce intake of saturated fats. Professionals recommend removing visible fats such as rinds and skins and buying low-fat sausages and minced meats to reduce fat intake.
Avoid Sugar in Hot Drinks
Consider drinking coffee or tea without sugar. However, those who cannot drink tea without sugar should replace sugar in tea and coffee with low-calorie sweeteners. Since there are many sweeteners with different flavors, it is important to try out different options to identify the best. Drinking tea or coffee with less sugar might be tough for the first few days but the impact is worth it.
Don’t Always Choose a Cheese Sandwich for Lunch
A cheese sandwich is undoubtedly one of the favorite foods people eat for lunch. Although cheese is healthy when eaten now and then, it contains high amounts of salt, calories, and saturated fats. Therefore, eat a matchbox-sized portion of a cheese sandwich or choose reduced-fat cheese. However, remember that even if low-fat cheese has a low amount of saturated fat, it is high in salts. Instead of applying butter on the sandwich, consider using low-fat spread or jacket potatoes to reduce calorie intake and improve heart health.
Active people have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, better brain health, improved moods, strong bones and muscles, and improved quality of life. Changing the diet is not always enough to manage weight, which is why professionals recommend exercise. Being active helps build resilience, enhance weight loss, and build muscles. Increased activity is associated with health benefits regardless of one’s age, size, weight, body shape, or physical abilities. Therefore, eat healthy and appreciate routine activities that involve standing, walking, cleaning, or running.
Drastic dietary and lifestyle changes may not be necessary to improve health and performance. However, these small changes can improve nutritional status and enhance overall health and energy levels. Therefore, apply these tips when making daily choices to lead a better and more fulfilling life.