This new year is the perfect time to start a healthier diet after a long winter full of indulgence. Whether you spent this holiday at home, taking visitors to your favorite local food places or traveling and exploring new foods, you can probably agree that more than fifty percent of your activities were centered on eating. Though there is nothing like a delicious large bowl of pho or all-you-can-eat crawfish with family and friends, periods of overeating can add up – impacting your weight and health in the long run. Now that this year is coming to an end, it is time to start on a healthier diet by being aware of not only what you eat, but also the way you eat. Put these five tips into your daily practice to help you feel great, keep weight from creeping on, and to prevent future health problems.
Make Your Meals Bright and Colorful
For a healthier diet, add a variety of fruits and vegetables to your meals daily. Fruits and vegetables provide important antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, potassium and fiber that are beneficial for both short- and long-term health. In addition, green leafy vegetables like gai lan and baby bok choy are high in fiber, which can make you feel full easily, helping to reduce your calories at each meal. These vegetables are also known to help maintain a healthy digestive tract and blood sugar level.
Keep Dipping Sauces to a Minimum
Sodium is found naturally in foods, which means you’re likely to get enough in your daily diet without needing to add more. Dipping sauces such as soy, hoisin and hot sauces, regular or lite, are high in sodium and can add excess sodium to your meals. Too much sodium intake daily can cause you to gain water weight and eventually lead to hypertension. So as much as possible, use just a dab for taste.
If you tend to eat fast, try slowing down. Chew each bite of food at least 30 times before swallowing or place your chopsticks down after each bite. Eating slower helps give your stomach time to process and communicate with your brain, letting you know when you’ve had enough, keeping you from overeating. Eating slower can also help prevent heartburn.
Take it To-Go
It is okay if you did not clear off every grain of rice or strand of noodle from your bowl. Pay attention to your body and recognize when you’re comfortably full – not stuffed. Eat what you can and take the rest home. You’ll thank yourself later for not overstuffing and for the leftovers you saved for lunch tomorrow.
Skip the Sweets
Sweet toppings on frozen yogurt and sugary drinks like tapioca pearl-filled fruit smoothies can easily push your calories past its daily limit. Instead, pass up on the treats and place them on the occasional splurge list to keep you from packing on extra pounds overtime.