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20 simple tips for improving your diet

20 simple tips for improving your diet and optimizing your health:

  1. Incorporate vegetables in every meal (or at least in 2 of your main meals). Vegetables are full of fiber which provides bulk and helps you feel full for longer. Fiber may slow down the emptying of the stomach and increase digestion time. When you add a salad as a side dish, start first with it and then move on to the main dish.
  2. Get rid of all candy, sweets, chips and all kinds of packaged snacks you have at home.
  3. Find a substitute for your snacks. For example, instead of sweets you can have some dried fruit (make sure there is no added sugar in it), fruit; or you can even make yourself a healthier version of your favourite cake and cookies. Just google it. Same goes for your favourite chips. You can make at home oven-baked chips or popcorn with coconut oil in the pan. Experiment and find your new favourite healthier snack alternatives.
  4. Eat until you are about 80% full, and then stop. It is very easy to overeat.
  5. Chew your food. Chew at least twice as much as you are used to. Chew a lot and eat slowly. Digestion starts in the mouth.
  6. Avoid eating when you are under stress or in a hurry. Slowing down and savoring your food is an important aspect of mindful eating, the opposite of mindless, emotional eating. Try taking a few deep breaths before starting your food, putting your utensils down between bites, and really focusing on the experience of eating. Pay attention to the textures, shapes, colors and smells of your food.
  7. Eat whole foods. Eating whole foods that don’t come with an ingredient list ensures that you are nourishing your body with natural, nutrient-dense foods.
  8. Avoid refined carbs. Refined carbs include sugars and grains that have had their fiber and other nutrients removed. Examples include white flour, pasta and bread. Instead, choose sources of complex carbohydrates like oats, whole grains, ancient grains like quinoa and barley, or potatoes.
  9. Drink plenty of water. Among all the benefits, staying hydrated supports your digestion, as well as proper elimination.
  10. Incorporate more healthy fats into your diet. Here you can read about the benefits of fats for our health.
  11. Make sure you don’t undereat. Undereating could lead to malnourishment (the body doesn’t get the needed nutrients for optimal health) and could increase cortisol levels which, as a result, could lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
  12. Eliminate foods you are sensitive to. Most of us have certain food intolerances that cause digestive problems or even allergic reactions. If you are aware that you don’t tolerate some foods, simply stay away from them.
  13. Spice up your meals. Spices give taste to food and thus make it more enjoyable to eat.
  14. Avoid watching TV or sitting in front of the computer while eating. These distractions could slow down the digestive process, and at the same time make you consume more food than you would eat otherwise.
  15. Do meal preparation. You can batch cook 1-3 times a week for yourself and your family. Thus, you can save time (which you can use for yourself), as well as avoid the stress around figuring out meal ideas every day. You can also portion the food and freeze it for later.
  16. When eating out, chose more simple meals that do not have many ‘unknown’ ingredients. Always ask for your dressing ‘on the side’ and, if you are not happy with certain ingredient, ask for an alternative.
  17. Give your digestive system some time to relax. Try to have at least 8 hours break between your last meal for the day and breakfast on the next day. Like this, your body won’t be overwhelmed and will digest food properly.
  18. Avoid eating when not hungry. Don’t eat just because ‘it’s time to eat’. You should always feel at least slight hunger before you get to eat.
  19. Don’t feel guilty or punish yourself for eating something ‘unhealthy’. Accept it and move on.
  20. Don’t label foods as allowed or forbidden. Don’t forbid yourself anything, simply try to consume mainly whole foods and allow yourself ‘treats’ in moderation.

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