1. Count Chemicals Not Calories
Much of the American diet is highly processed food products. These boxes, bags, and cans have made American eating “easy” and “quick” but at hefty cost. Many packaged foods have a lot of chemical additives in them, some with some pretty sketchy track records where human health is concerned. Packaged foods also tend to hide a lot of extra sugars and salts, even in the “health foods.”
Do yourself a favor and eat real whole foods. What do I mean by real, whole food? If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat. If your grandma wouldn’t have cooked with the ingredients listed, don’t eat it. If the ingredient list reminds you of your high school chemistry class, drop the box and run the other way.
100 Days of Real Food is an amazing resource if you want to pursue this idea a little further.
2. Eat Your Rainbow
This is actually pretty interesting. Our bodies need a variety of vitamins and minerals to be their most healthy. These nutrients are found in nature in various foods. They also help give the foods their color. For example, dark leafy greens are high in iron; carrots and apricots are both high in beta-carotine. By eating a variety of colors, you can help ensure that you are getting a variety of phyto-nutrients (the nutrients that give fruits and veggies their unique colors).
One way to do this is to try to “Eat A Rainbow” every day; meaning that you eat one serving of fruit or veggie from the five main food color groups (red, orange, yellow, green, blue). There’s a great kids’ program available here. It could also be beneficial for adults if you need a little extra motivation.
If you’re really setting high goals, try to get a whole rainbow in every meal! Not only will you get your phyto-nutrients, but you’ll certainly get your recommended fruit and veggie amounts!
3. Divide Your Plate
This is a simple way to help you to eat more fruits and veggies and keep your meat and grain portions under control. When you fix your plate for a meal, divide it into four quarters. Now, two of those quarters should be filled with fruits and veggies. Yep, half your plate should be coming from the produce aisle. Fresh is best followed by frozen followed by canned. One of the remaining quarters should be whole grains. Try to avoid processed “white” grains. The remaining quarter is for protein.
If a visual guide would be helpful, check out this plate available on Amazon.
There ya have it folks! Three ways to eat a little healthier without counting calories. Are you changing your diet this year?
Please, do be mindful that a change in your diet can affect your health, often for the better, but you should always consult with your doctor or health care practitioner before making any major dietary changes, especially if you are pregnant or have any chronic health conditions.