The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 1 out of every 3 Americans is obese, and about 2 out of every 3 Americans are overweight as measured by BMI (an individual’s weight to height ratio). One of the most common co-morbid conditions with obesity is heart disease, which the CDC estimates kills approximately 600,000 Americans annually. Eating right is key to having a healthy weight and healthy heart. Diets do not have to take over your life. Below are seven easy ways to eat right without ruining your life.
1. Replace sodas and sugary drinks with water
Replacing sodas and sugary drinks with water is one of the easiest ways to start eating right. Drinking more water can better hydrate your body, save money, and cut calories without having to make big sacrifices. Save sodas and diet sodas for a special treat at the end of the week.
2. Cook at home instead of eating out
You do not have to spend a lot of time or have a lot of training to cook healthy meals at home. Often, healthy meals that can be made in a few minutes require some outside-the-box thinking. After a busy day, make a spinach omelet, toast, and a sliced piece of fruit. The time it takes to make breakfast for dinner usually takes a fraction of the time it would take to purchase takeout and pick it up. Making simple food at home also costs a fraction of the price. Plus, you can further cut calories when making food at home with simple tips such as using nonfat cooking spray instead of butter.
3. Snack smart
Many people find themselves hungry during downtime. Also, preparing a large snack plate of health food is not always realistic. Outsmart snacking by eating sunflower seeds in the shell. Although sunflower seeds are high in fat, those suckers take a while to get out of the shell. Keep your hands busy and your mind off of food by snacking smart. Another good snacking option is plain celery or carrot sticks with no dip. The amount of calories spent chewing and digesting celery almost negate the calories in the snack itself.
4. Eat a filling breakfast and lunch
People tend to binge after feeling hungry all day. Eat something healthy and filling for breakfast and lunch to boost your energy instead of eating a tiny serving of sugary cereal or a bowl of lettuce with no protein.
5. Don’t have a stash of unhealthy food
It is easier not to gorge on chips, cookies, and candies when you do not have ready access to them. Instead of making a promise to only eat a box of cookies sparingly, refrain from purchasing the cookies in the first place. When you only have healthy food at home, you will be less likely to eat junk food. Similarly, don’t have a candy drawer in your office. Sometimes, promising yourself only to eat cookies if you care enough to make them from scratch can help you stay on the right track.
6. Ditch the crash diets
Not only are some strange diets almost impossible to keep up with forever, they can actually be bad for your health. You should never deprive yourself of nutrition when trying to lose weight. Instead, find a way to make things work for you. Consult with a dietician and come up with a plan that will work for you.
7. Be Honest
It is very important to be honest with yourself about what you eat. Instead of making excuses or comparisons, be honest when you are not eating healthy foods. Being honest with yourself about eating habits does not mean that you have to berate yourself or be unkind. Simply admit that your mother’s famous pie is delicious, but it is not healthy food. By being honest, you can be more objective about your eating habits without losing the foods you love most. Also, you can eat a small slice of pie instead of a second helping.
Love food while eating healthy
Some diets appear to take over people’s lives. Instead of letting your weight and heart health rule your life, take control. Sometimes, a few simple changes can make a big difference. You might be surprised at how easy the switch from soda to water is or how easy it is not to eat junk food when you don’t have it around. Go out, enjoy food, enjoy your life, and live long, and eat healthy.
About the Author: Lauren Hill writes for Cardiac Vascular & Thoracic Surgery Associates (CVTSA) a surgery group serving the Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC areas.