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Four Easy Steps To Adopting Healthier Eating Habits

Feb 26, 2008
No matter what diet you decide is needed to address your personal health and body fitness goals, one of the best ways to ensure you succeed is to adopt healthy eating habits. This is not just about reducing your calorie intake or cutting out sweets, it is more about having an approach to food that will follow you throughout your life. It is about establishing a relationship with food that is comfortable and, most important, natural for you. The only catch is it will take practice until it becomes a habit.

1. Wide Variety of Healthy Food

Variety is the spice of life. If you have some variety in your diet you're more likely to enjoy what you're eating. So ensure that your eating plan includes a wide variety of foods. Choose foods that give you joy and eat them in moderation. Too much of anything isn't good.

2. Eat More Fiber to Feel Full

A common complaint of many diets is that the portions recommended aren't filling. Start incorporating more fiber into your diet. Not only is it good for you but it will help to make you feel full and satisfied.

3. Healthy Snacking

Part of the challenge of sticking to a diet is a nasty habit many of us have called unhealthy snacking. Retrain yourself to eat healthy snacks. The reality is you will continue to eat between meals and that is actually a good thing to do. Just ensure that what you're snacking on gives your body much needed energy and nutrients.

The easiest way to snack on healthy food is to think ahead. Prepare fresh or dried fruit, raw vegetables with low fat dip or fill a small container with a handful of nuts or low fat yogurt. These are just a few ideas for some handy and tasty snacks that are easy to carry and will satisfy that "snacking" need.

4. Nine Servings of Fruit and Vegetables Daily

Did you know that many health experts recommend that as part of a healthy diet one should eat up to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day? That works out to about 4 cups. Not only can this approach provide delicious and energy boosting snacks and meals but these servings can help lower cholesterol levels. As well, for vegetarians and raw food enthusiasts, more fruits and vegetables means less room and need for meats and dairy in the diet. Reducing our meat and dairy intake reduces cholesterol-boosting saturated fat--an outcome that our hearts will appreciate!

Here are some pointers to keep in mind about fruit:

*Select fruits that are in season. This is not only a tastier alternative, since locally grown food is naturally fresher, but it is better for the environment as well. When we purchase locally grown food we help lower the demand for foods that must be transported cross country to fulfill customer needs. Less transportation = less fumes and pollution.

*Always choose fresh fruits whenever possible. When fresh fruits aren't possible, choose fruits canned in juice or water rather than light or heavy syrup since this adds unnecessary sugar to your meal.

*Watch your intake of fruit juices. Many fruit juices have ridiculously high sugar content. Choose whole fruits as snacks rather than juice.

*Try to make it a habit to add fruit in salads, toppings, desserts and snacks, whenever possible.

Here are some handy tips for selecting and eating vegetables:

*Colorful vegetables (and fruits) provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body uses to maintain good health and energy levels.

*So when choosing green leafy vegetables the darker the better! Eat more dark-green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale.

*Yellow and orange vegetables (and fruits) contain varying amounts of antioxidants such as vitamin C and when included as part of a low-fat diet may help to maintain a healthy heart, vision health and a healthy immune system. So eat more orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potatoes.

*Control the amount of starchy vegetables (like potatoes) in your diet.
About the Author
For over 20 years, Diana Walker has assisted people like you in using natural, safe options for creating vibrant health and well-being. Get her gems of wisdom and healthy recipes mini- e-book via her free newsletter at: www.diana2.com
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