Eating healthy can be incredibly stressful whether you wish to do so because you are tired of eating junk or because your doctor has recommended it to prevent illness. With countless articles, social media posts, and videos discussing famous fad diets, it may seem like dieting is the only way to improve your nutrition habits. I am here to tell you that that is simply not true! Dieting, if done correctly and under the supervision of a doctor or dietician, can certainly be beneficial. However, no one likes dieting and most people tend to gain back all the weight and then some once they stop dieting. In my opinion, eating healthy has to be a lifestyle, rather than a few weeks or months of calorie restriction, for it to be sustainable and enjoyable. In this article, we will discuss easy ways you can eat healthy with absolutely no dieting involved.
1. Replace processed foods with whole foods.
Processed foods are foods you typically find in a can or packet because they have been processed in a factory. Whole foods, on the other hand, are in their most natural form. An example of this is raisins vs. grapes. Raisins are essentially dried grapes. Although raisins are an excellent source of antioxidants, Berkley Wellness notes that the drying process creates a concentration of sugars and calories, making raisins perhaps not the best choice. In fact, half a cup of whole grapes has about 50 calories, while half a cup of raisins has around 220. You will find that processing, in general, destroys key nutrients and minerals that whole foods provide.
2. “Low carb” foods aren’t always the best – they can be misleading.
Diets such as the Atkins diet and South Beach diet have popularized low-carb eating so much that various restaurants are now providing low-carb options and even grocery stores are promising low-carb pasta, cereal, and even chocolate. Not only are these packaged foods heavily processed and artificial, but they can be deceptive. Companies often add sweeteners such as xylitol, maltitol, and sorbitol to “low-carb” foods to make them tastier. These sweeteners are technically not carbohydrates, which means that companies can get away with not including them in the “net carbs” calculations in food labels. However, these substances act just like carbohydrates in that they increase the amount of glucose and the fat-storing hormone insulin in our bloodstream. Traditional “low carb” diets focus on reducing insulin in the body, but these “low carb” foods are not doing so. Should you choose to do “low carb” eating, I recommend avoiding any packaged “low carb” foods and replacing a small portion of your daily carb intake with protein-rich foods.
3. Replace soda with sparkling water.
Ah, soda – the culprit behind a plethora of illnesses, including diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, dental issues, and weight gain. Soda is notorious for containing significant added sugar. One 12oz can of coke contains 39 grams of sugar, which is roughly equivalent to NINE teaspoons of sugar. NINE! If you swear you won’t put nine teaspoons of sugar in your tea, why would you drink it in a can of coke? Sparkling water is a fantastic alternative to soda. If you can find one with natural flavors, that is even better.
Berkley Wellness. (2014, September 29). Raisins or Grapes: Which are Better? https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/raisins-or-grapes-which-are-better-you
Schaffer, A. (2004, November 9). A Carb Is a Carb Is a Carb. Slate Magazine. https://slate.com/technology/2004/11/misleading-marketing-of-low-carb-products.html