We all follow diets, whether consciously or not. The food you eat regularly forms the basis of what your “diet” is. But no matter what kind of diet you follow, I’m a firm believer that it should be a way of life, and not trend-based. There are always little tweaks we can make to be sure we’re getting enough of what we need to function at our best.
Of course, the five tips below are all general enough that I think they can work for almost anyone. If you’re looking for more personalized advice in terms of your energy and nutrient needs, it’s a great idea to set an appointment with a nutritionist for more info.
Incorporate healthy fats
Just in case you didn’t get the memo – fats are good for you! As with any other food group, it’s the type and quality of fat that makes the difference. Healthy fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – are essential for a healthy mind and body, and are great for your skin, too. You’ve probably heard that the fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds are great for you. It’s also a great idea to have fish once or twice a week, or flaxseed oil if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or are just not that into fish at all.
Switch things up a little! We all have go-to foods we cook and/or order. But a varied diet is one of the keys to optimal health. It also helps us avoid boredom when it comes to food – something that can get in the way of following a healthy lifestyle. Try browsing cookbooks or Pinterest for inspiration during the weekends, and get cooking! Even small substitutes like the kind of fruits and veg you use in your smoothies can make a big difference.
Make carbs your friend
Like with fats, never fear good carbs. Healthy carbs like whole-grain products should actually make up the bulk of your diet. Again, it’s the quality of the food that matters. Go for whole grain foods, like 100% whole grain bread (rye is a great option, too), and brown/wild rice and pasta. If you’re gluten sensitive, try buckwheat-based products. I rarely eat white rice or white bread, as they’re pretty much the same as simple sugar.
Go veg crazy
We’ve all heard that you need to get your 5 a day – or five servings of fruit and veg daily. What you may not know is that this is actually the minimum of what you need. It’s actually best to aim for something closer to 9 or 10 servings. Instead of being intimidated by this, find simple ways to add some wholesome goodness to your diet. Maybe add an extra handful of spinach to your smoothie or stew, or throw together a big, colorful salad for dinner on some nights.
Cut down on caffeine
If you consume too much caffeine, try reducing your intake and see how your body adjusts to that. I’m definitely not saying to cut caffeine out completely. A cup of coffee in the morning brings joy and comfort (and energy!) to many of us. A little caffeine is okay, but try not to have more than one to two cups of coffee or caffeinated tea a day. It can create an energy slump, increase feelings of anxiety, and even interfere with iron absorption. Also – please don’t go near energy drinks. They’re just not good for you at all! Take an exercise class, have a small glass of orange juice, or just go to sleep. Anything but that! Haha.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Let me know if you have any other tips for having a healthier and more balanced diet.