You don’t have to give your diet a complete overhaul to feel healthier. Learn easy healthy food habit changes to make every bite count.
What and how we eat can determine our health, keeping us alive and thriving. But you don’t have to give your diet a complete overhaul to reap the benefits. Learn easy healthy food habit changes to make every bite count.
You know that classic saying, “you are what you eat?” This phrase holds true, explaining that what we put in our bodies has a big impact on our health. A healthy diet helps protect us from many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer while keeping us energized to do the things we love most (1).
Yet with so much health information (and misinformation) out there, it can be difficult to decipher which way of eating is the right one. Rather than blindly following the next fad food trend, learn how to replace the unwanted habits with better ones.
Dietary fiber, sometimes called roughage or bulk, is the part of plant-based foods that doesn’t get digested by our bodies; rather our healthy gut bacteria love to munch on it, helping keep our immunities strong and boosting mental health (2). Fiber comes from cereals and grains, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. The best way to up your fiber is to throw more plant-based foods into your meals and snacks. Add some greens to your favorite omelet or sandwich and add a piece of fruit to a snack.
Check out this fiber-rich video: 10 ways to eat more whole grains
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and healthy dietary fiber that can prevent disease and keep our gut healthy. Science shows that there’s a significant benefit to eating at least five portions of produce per day (3). A serving includes 1 cup of raw or cooked fruits or vegetables. Aim for the colorful ones such as dark green, orange, red, purple, and blue to up your vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (4).
Since different foods provide different types and amounts of nutrients, it's important to choose a variety of foods. The key is to focus on a balance between each food group and varying macronutrients such as protein, carbs, and healthy fats with each meal. Mixing up what you eat can help expose you to different flavors, keeping healthy food interesting!
Highly processed foods provide us with convenient fuel but at the expense of losing nutrients. Eating too many highly processed foods (such as chips, candy, fast food, and pre-made microwave meals) contributes a lot of sugar, fat, salt, and low-nutrient calories. Eating a lot of these foods, in the long term, has been associated with some health problems such as heart disease (5). The key is to check your food labels and look for the products with ingredients you know how to pronounce, and less saturated fats and sugars. It is recommended to aim for less than 13 grams of saturated fat and about 35 grams of added sugar per day (6).
Sugar is fine (and enjoyable!) to indulge in from time to time. But eating too much sugar can lead to more fat storage, inflammation, and an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease (7). Eating sweets alone can cause a roller coaster ride of blood sugar, resulting in more cravings. Set yourself up for success and boost your energy by eating a balanced meal before you eat a sweet treat.
Switching from sugary beverages to water is one of the easiest ways to cut excess calories and sugar. This is because it can be “too easy” to slurp down calories without chewing and digesting food. Getting enough water is essential for your health, including keeping a normal temperature, getting rid of waste and toxins, and protecting joints. (8) Simply swap sugary drinks such as soda, sweetened coffee, and juice for water.
Healthy food habits are all about eating balanced. All kinds of foods can be enjoyed, but aim to have them mostly come from their natural and original form, meaning not very processed. Think an apple versus apple juice for example. One of the best ways to support your transition to more healthy foods is to track the food you’re eating. Download a nutrition app such as Lifesum to help!
All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice.
All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.