It’s summertime, and many of you are probably looking for ways to improve your diet to shed a few pounds or simply to feel better. Food plays a huge role in our health, and striving to eat clean will make a huge difference in your physical appearance and your mood as well. Here are some tips to start eating healthier so you’ll feel ready to tackle all of the summer activities that you have planned with plenty of confidence and energy.
Stock Up on Fruit
If your number one vice is your sweet tooth, summer is the perfect time to stock up on delicious fruits that will satisfy your cravings without indulging in processed, refined sugar. Instead of eating candy bars or other junk food, try to replace the bad sugar with foods like peaches, watermelon, or cherries. If it’s creaminess that you’re craving, buy some natural nut butter to spread on apples. Peanut butter has the added bonus of protein, so you’ll get a sweet treat that will help you stay full and satiated.
Cut Down On Dairy
To improve your health, it’s usually not necessary to make drastic changes. Instead of completely eliminating animal products from your diet, you can just work on reducing your intake. For many people, dairy causes problems with digestion and acne. There are plenty of other ways to get calcium in your diet, so try to phase out dairy in your diet until it’s only an occasional indulgence.
Adopt Meatless Mondays
Most physicians agree that plant-based diets are the healthiest, but you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to gain the health benefits from eating plenty of fresh veggies and fruits. If you’ve always wanted to reduce your carbon footprint, make a small commitment of going meat-free on Mondays, or any day of your choice. Once you’re used to this commitment, you can choose to eat less meat on other days of the week, as well.
Pack Healthy Snacks
Whether you work behind a desk at an office or you’re a busy parent on the go, it’s important to pack healthy snacks so you aren’t tempted to go to a vending machine for greasy potato chips or drive through your favorite fast food restaurant for a cheeseburger. Embrace the feeling of empowerment that comes with planning ahead for meals, and invest in a small cooler that you can bring with you wherever you go. After just a few weeks of replacing unhealthy snacks with foods like celery, apple slices, or mixed nuts, you’ll notice a difference in how you look and feel.
Reduce Your Egg Intake
Like everything else, eggs can be healthy in moderation. However, this ingredient hides in lots of foods, and eggs can be difficult to cut down on. If you love creamy mayo on sandwiches, you can save a few calories and a lot of cholesterol by using an egg alternative. Hampton Creek makes a delicious eggless mayo that’s healthier than the traditional version and more sustainable for the environment.
If you’ve always wanted to increase your veggie intake but you just can’t stomach eating a serving of vegetables with every meal, take a shortcut by blending them into smoothies or juice. Smoothies are perfect for summertime, as they’re cool, refreshing, and light. You can add as much spinach as your heart desires into a smoothie that’s packed with fruit, and you won’t be able to taste the leaves. If you have children who are picky, you can turn smoothie making into a fun experiment to see which recipes taste the best.
Rebalance Portion Sizes
In America, we’re used to seeing supersized portions as a way of life. Evaluate what’s on your plate: if most of it is meat and starchy food like mashed potatoes, it’s time to make a change. Meat should only be a small serving size, no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. More than half of your plate should be taken up by healthy veggies like leafy greens, carrots, or squash. If you love savory foods like mashed potatoes, try replacing half of the recipe with cauliflower, or make mashed sweet potatoes instead.
Eating healthfully doesn’t have to require strict dieting and the feeling of deprivation. By making small lifestyle changes and being aware of ways to sneak more veggies into your diet while eating less of the “bad” foods, you’re more likely to make a lasting change that you’re happy to stick with.