It seems like everyone is on always on a quest to eat healthier or lose weight, and although it may seem tempting to jump into a drastic diet change, you can’t maintain sustainable healthy habits by engaging in a four-day juice cleanse.
Good eating habits require many adjustments, but they don’t have to be done overnight, and you don’t have to cut out just gluten to do so.
Research shows that crash diets are ineffective because they eventually lead to loss in muscle due to drastic loss in calories.
The pounds end up creeping back — often more than before. So how do you attain sustainable weight loss and healthy habits? Stick to a long-term diet filled with small, impactful changes that will not only have you looking good, but feeling your best as well.
“Don’t try to make your diet perfect off the bat — that is a guaranteed way to fail,”says nutritionist Michelle Blum. “Instead, start with small changes and build on it. If you approach nutrition that way, it is much easier to develop into a lifestyle.”
If you’re looking to adopt some healthier eating habits, try these seven little diet tweaks that can make a big difference.
1. Eat More During The Day
It can be tempting to eat small meals for breakfast and lunch in an attempt to prevent overeating, but you need the most energy during the day rather than at night.
“People tend to have light meals, or skip meals, during the day, which makes their bodies crave the energy at night,” says Blum. “This is one of the reasons people overeat at night.”
2. Replace All Your Drinks With Water
Instead of opting for sugary sodas or loaded fruit-juices, stick to water. “Drink water as soon as you wake up, right before you hit that bread basket at dinner, etc.,” says Michelle Katz, LPN, MSN. “You will not only lose weight, but your skin will start to have that ‘healthy glow.'”
3. Choose Foods With Less Ingredients
If you’re still one to buy frozen and prepackaged foods, look for foods that contain the least unnecessary ingredients. “Additives, synthetic vitamins, preservatives, extra sugars and fillers — these are all things don’t help your body to maintain weight,” says certified holistic nutritionist Madeline Given, CNC. “Choose real, simple, whole foods products over complicated ones”
4. Opt For Whole Grains
Instead of munching on white wheat and rice, choose whole, unprocessed grains instead. “Whole grains contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than processed grains, and therefore will keep you satisfied longer,” says Andrea Cox, RD, the in-house nutritionist at Healthy.co.id. “Processed grains are quickly metabolized into sugar, causing the blood sugar reaction mentioned above.”
5. Switch To Unrefined Sweeteners
Ditch white sugar and substitutes such as aspartame and sucralose and opt for a healthier version instead. “Switch from refined sugars to less refined forms, like coconut sugar, grade B maple syrup and raw honey,” says chef and nutritionist Brigitte Theriault. Although you should still only consume them in small amounts, these sugars aren’t processed, which means they still retain healthy vitamins and minerals.
6. Slow Down
“Most people eat way too quickly, and not only is that tough on the digestive system, but it leads to overeating,” says nutrition specialist Jamie Logie. “The natural fullness signals from hormones like leptin need around 15 to 20 minutes to engage and reach the brain, telling it that we are full. When you eat too quickly, you override these signals and can end up eating a lot more.”
7. Snack On Fruits and Veggies
“If you choose to have a pastry or candy bar for a snack, you will likely find yourself hungry mere minutes later,” says Cox. “Snack on fruits and veggies instead, which have the fiber to keep you fuller longer.” Keep apples, carrots, and other easy produce on hand at home or at work so you’ll be less tempted to head to the vending machine.