When you eat right, you feel better. You have more energy, and your overall health improves. Making small changes in the way you eat can significantly impact how you feel. Your doctor can help you figure out what changes to make;some of the recommended small steps and changes include:
1. Eat Breakfast Every Day
Daily breakfast eaters tend to be thinner and have lower cholesterol levels than those who don’t eat breakfast. Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast. Try whole-wheat toast with fruit or yogurt, oatmeal with raisins or a banana, or eggs any way you like them. You can also try muesli, a breakfast cereal made with oats, fruits, and nuts. It can be eaten dry or soaked in milk or yogurt.
2. Pack Your Lunch
You’re more likely to make healthier choices if you pack your lunch rather than buying it. Make a sandwich with lean meat or peanut butter, include a piece of fruit, and add a low-fat yogurt or milk. If you’re short on time in the morning, make lunch the night before.
3. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage. Try to eat a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are perfect for you. Aim for at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables every day.
4. Cut Down on Saturated and Trans Fats
Saturated fats, found in animal products, can raise your cholesterol level. Trans fats, often found in processed foods, can also increase your cholesterol and make it hard for your body to absorb essential vitamins. Both saturated and trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease. To cut down on these unhealthy fats, replace whole-milk dairy products with low-fat or nonfat options. Choose lean meat and poultry without skin, and cook with vegetable oils rather than butter. When you eat out, look for menu choices that are baked, grilled, or steamed instead of fried.
5. Cut Down on Sugar and Salt
Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and cavities. You might be surprised at how much sugar is added to processed foods, such as bread, cereal, and lunchmeat. Check food labels for the amount of sugar in a serving. Be aware of the sodium content in foods, especially if you have high blood pressure.
6. Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains
Eating whole grains instead of refined grains has many benefits. Whole grains have more fiber and other nutrients than refined grains. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol, keeps you regular, and may help protect against heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Good whole-grain choices include whole-wheat bread, popcorn, quinoa, oats, and brown rice. Also, consider granola, made with rolled oats and other whole grains.
Making small changes in your diet can significantly impact your overall health. Talk to your doctor today about what changes you can make to eat healthier and feel better!