Simple Ways to Adopt a Healthy, Sustainable Eating Pattern – Changing your dietary habits can be hard, but with meal planning, lifestyle adjustments, and mindful eating practices, you can succeed. Consider consulting a nutritionist or doctor for the best approach.
In today’s dynamic and fast-paced world, sticking to a healthy diet is sometimes easier said than done. Most of us know the feeling.
For starters, just sifting through the array of healthy diets to figure out which one is best for you can be a challenge.
But even after you’ve picked out a meal plan or eating pattern, maintaining that healthy diet day in and day out has its fair share of difficulties.
The good news is, no matter how tough it might feel some days, sticking to a healthy diet is possible, and it doesn’t even mean that you have to give up your favorite foods.
There are tons of tips and tricks that make eating healthy easier, and most of them are simple and free.
1. Eat a diet rich in whole foods
There are many ways to follow a healthy diet, and no two nutritious diets look exactly the same.
Still, most successful, long-term healthy diets have at least one thing in common: They’re rich in whole foods.
Whole foods are those that have been minimally processed, such as:
- whole grains
- nuts and seeds
- eggs and dairy
- fresh animal proteins
Shakes, supplements, and fad diets might seem useful on the surface, but time and time again, whole-foods diets have been linked to better health outcomes all around the world.
Whole foods are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that support a healthy gut and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes
2. Think twice before you crash diet
One of the most important questions to ask yourself when starting a healthy diet is, “Can I keep this up long term?”
If the answer to that question is no, you could be embarking on a crash diet.
Crash diets usually rely on extreme calorie restriction to obtain fast weight loss results
But here’s the thing about crash diets — actually, the thing about diets in general, from keto to Atkins and everything in between — the results usually don’t last in the long run. Over time, most people who diet regain the weight they’ve lost
Interestingly, one diet that has held up to the test of time is the Mediterranean diet — and it’s rich in whole foods
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Thus, when it comes to sticking with a healthy diet, try to resist the urge to focus too much on weight loss.
Oftentimes, the healthy habits you instill by eating a nutritious diet end up being more important in the long run than how much weight you’ve lost in a short period of time.
3. Lean on professionals to get started
Simply put, adopting a healthy diet can be intimidating and challenging.
There are so many diets to choose from, you may feel like you don’t even really know where to start. It seems like everyone under the sun has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t eat.
The good news is you aren’t alone on this journey.
Many trained professionals can help you figure out the best path for you
A registered dietitian can help you navigate meal plans, food groups, your daily nutrient needs, and safe diets for specific conditions and diseases.
A behavior change specialist, such as a psychologist, can help you break old habits and form new ones.
4. Learn the right diet for you
It’s not uncommon to hear about diets described as being the “best” or “healthiest.”
Yet, no one diet works best for everyone.
We each live in a unique set of circumstances influenced by genetics, our health, work schedules, family, cultural traditions, and more.
No single diet can perfectly account or accommodate for so many individual factors.
In the end, the “best” healthy diet for you is the one that makes you feel your best and that you can stick with for the long haul.
5. Surround yourself with healthy foods
In recent years, researchers have found that people around the world are eating more ultra-processed foods than ever before
Ultra-processed foods are those that have been made by industrial processing. They tend to contain additives like sweeteners, thickeners, stabilizers, and other ingredients that make the foods last longer and taste better
Some examples of ultra-processed foods include fast food, frozen dinners, and sugar-sweetened juices and sodas.
Not only are ultra-processed foods tempting due to their flavors, but even being in the presence of these types of foods can affect brain chemistry and behavior
You can help avoid the temptation to eat these foods by keeping them out of your house, limiting your access to them at home
On the other hand, keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with nutrient-dense, whole foods is a great way to keep your healthy diet in mind and encourage yourself to have those nutritious foods more often.