Healthy eating is a combination of a number of different factors. From portion control and proper nutrition, to counting calories and eliminating sweets, maintaining a healthy diet can be a little overwhelming.
When it comes to eating healthier, the key is to work smarter — not harder. Here are six simple ways to kick-start healthy eating habits:
1) Unlock the potential of frozen vegetables.
Frozen? Yes. Fresh vegetables are always a healthy choice, but prepping them can be time-consuming and they can go bad before you get a chance to use them. Frozen vegetables are cheap and require no prep. Toss them into your morning omelet or sauté a serving with dinner. When veggies are ready to use at a moment's notice, you're more likely to eat them.
2) Eat your vegetables first.
Start off each meal by eating the green stuff before the protein or carbs. Doing this will keep you from filling up on the main course, and will even help you eat less when you get to the other foods on your plate.
3) Plan ahead and cook extra protein.
When you're making dinner, cook an extra serving of protein and add it to tomorrow's lunch. Toss your extra chicken into a fresh salad or use last night's steak in a tasty wrap.
4) Invest in a dressing mister.
Salad dressings can come with a lot of calories, and one tablespoon of olive oil is almost 120 calories by itself. One spritz from an oil mister is only 5 to 10 calories and distributes your dressing more evenly for a lighter, tastier salad. Plus, making your own dressing means you'll get to make it exactly how you like it.
5) Substitute salt with seasonings.
While sodium is necessary to keep your fluids balanced, too much can lead to a lot of health problems. The daily recommended serving of sodium is less than 1,500 mg, but one teaspoon of salt adds up to over 2,300 mg. Boost your meals with onion powder, garlic or basil instead. Not only do these spices add flavor, they offer a lot of health benefits as well.
6) Think ahead before you go to bed.
Invest in a good set of food containers and make an effort to plan tomorrow's breakfast, lunch and snacks before you go to bed. Planning ahead will help save time in the morning, and you'll be less likely to run out the door empty-handed.
Changing any habit takes time, and adopting a healthier diet will take some practice. Start slow and make simple changes to ease into your new lifestyle. Once your old habits are a thing of the past, healthy ones will become easier than ever.