Beginner’s Guide to Eating Healthy

Have you been pushing yourself at the gym and still unable to accomplish your fitness goals? Or are you trying to improve your health but are overwhelmed by the variety of plans that are out there? The most important aspect of being physically fit is maintaining a healthy diet. A “fit” diet might sound challenging but it is in fact not that hard to adopt. In this post we will be covering some of the basic steps that you can take to develop healthy eating habits.

When a person thinks of being physically fit, the first thing that comes to their mind is going to the gym. Although that’s a great place to start, there is something way more effective than just running on a treadmill and that is eating better. Eating healthy does not mean that you’ll have to completely change your eating habits or change where you shop for groceries. Small changes lead to big wins in this area and we want to help you make those changes.

Real Food vs. Processed Food

What defines real food? Anything that grows in soil through plants and trees or a living creature under water, on land or in the air is considered real food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes (beans etc) meat, fish and eggs are all true examples of real food.

What defines processed food? Most food that comes out of drive-thru windows or packaged in boxes, cans or wrappers with more than a few basic ingredients is processed food. Processed foods are altered from their natural conditions so they can be stored for long periods of time. A lot of the times they’re found to be high in calories, sugar and sodium.

Now that we’ve understood what the difference between them is, we can start talking about how to incorporate real food in your daily routine.

food pyramid pie chart on plate with cutleryA Balanced Diet

When making choices at the grocery store, cooking meals at home or buying food from a restaurant, always make sure you purchase and consume a variety of foods. There isn’t one substance, which will provide all the essentials that you need to be in good health so eating a variety of “real food” is the way to go.

For example switching your side of fries with a salad will not only prevent you from eating only fried potatoes in terms of nutritional value but will also give you a wide assortment of fruits or vegetables that are high in different nutrients.

Similarly while doing groceries, switch out an unhealthy snack such as tortilla chips with a fruit you haven’t had much of before.

Small changes in your diet will go a long way in changing your eating habits. The actions mentioned above don’t require much effort other than presence of mind and that surely is not too much to ask for.

Grilled steak and vegetablesBe Mindful of Portions

The United States probably has one of the largest serving sizes in the world. While it’s okay to consume large amounts of real food in a sitting, one should be mindful of portion sizes with high-calorie foods. Splitting an entrée with a friend or saving some food for later are some ways to avoid cleaning up your plate in one go.

When eating packaged foods, make sure to eat read the food label and see the serving size before devouring the whole thing. Even small packages can have more than one serving size, which can give you a false sense of its nutritional value.

The words "too much sugar" written in sugar grains. Overhead view.Cut Out Sugar As Much As Possible

Sugar is the worst ingredient in our diets these days. In the past two decades food brands have increased the amount of sugar in their products by a lot. Cutting out fat and adding sugar does not help balance the food, it actually becomes worse for people.

You’ve probably heard this a hundred times but sugar contains NO essential nutrient and has harmful effects on your metabolism. This is why they are called “empty” calories. While making choices of what to eat, make a conscious effort to avoid sugar as much as possible.

Candy, processed juices, soda and even energy drinks have more sugar than you actually think. Fill up a bottle with 30 grams of sugar and you’ll see just how much of your drink is made up of a useless ingredient, which does more harm than good.

Committing to Change

Improving eating habits is not something that can be done in a day. It is a gradual process that takes time and effort on your part. We’re not asking you to change your lifestyle completely but commit to a small change. You don’t even have to think of it all the time because that can make it seem like a burden. Think more of it as something you do when picking out what you want to eat and making better choices by considering what you’ve read in this blog post.

Here is a Calorie Counter to help you track your calorie intake.

If you are struggling with a diet plan and would like to consult a professional, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our personal trainers. If you live in Arlington or in the DFW region come to Fitness Nation and our personal trainers will sit down with you and make a diet plan that is practical and suits your lifestyle.