By Marissa Lippert, Epicurious.com
One of the goals at Epicurious is to help you balance the great pleasures of eating and cooking delicious food with maintaining a healthy diet. Wholesome eating and a healthy lifestyle can be surprisingly simple when a solid foundation of smart habits is in place. Here are ten useful tips you can easily incorporate into your day-to-day life.
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1. Be Prepared
When it comes to establishing and maintaining nutritious eating habits, being well-prepared makes a world of difference. Set up a weekly time in your schedule to head to the grocery shop or the farmers' market to ensure that your kitchen is well stocked with a variety of healthy foods for meals as well as convenient, portable snacks.
2. Rearrange Your Plate
Limit calories and boost nutrients by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. The other half of the plate can be split between lean proteins, such as fish, chicken, and tofu, and a mix of complex whole grains and carbohydrates, such as quinoa and sweet potatoes.
3. Less Is More
Scan the ingredient list of all your processed foods, and seek out foods with short ingredient lists. Seek out foods with short ingredient lists. Ideally, most-if not all-of the ingredients will be easily recognizable. Try to minimize your consumption of processed and packaged foods.
4. Keep a Food Journal
Make a close assessment of what you've eaten in a typical week to affirm positive eating habits as well as to identify and tackle negative ones. Keep a food journal for three to seven days and choose small, strategic goals to work on, such as drinking more water or consuming two pieces of fruit and two different vegetables daily.
5. Take Cues
Be aware of when you're hungry and when you're full. Doing so will help keep portion size in check, which in turn will impact your weight loss or gain. Eat slowly-it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full-and aim to get fruit or vegetables into the majority of your meals.
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6. No Skipping Meals
Eating every three to four hours helps keep up your metabolism and calorie-burning ability. Make sure you have breakfast-even if it's as simple as a piece of fruit and a skim latte-about one to one-and-a-half hours after waking, and at least one snack between meals per day.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Challenge yourself by changing your current routine: Add one extra day at the gym, go for a daily 30-minute power walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or add 10 to 15 minutes to your workout.
8. Drink Up
Boost energy and digestion by drinking water daily. Aim for at least six 8-ounce glasses and increase your intake according to your individual needs and physical activity level.
9. Strive for Balance
Hectic schedules are challenging, and they can affect our food choices. Reduce stress by taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Try to carve out some quiet time for yourself every day, even if it's just 30 minutes.
10. Sleep Well
An important physical component of maintaining good health is getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Along with physical activity and nutritious eating, proper sleep can help you manage sugar and carbohydrate cravings as well assist your efforts to achieve an ideal weight. Healthy adults should try for an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Studies show that trying to recapture lost sleep on weekends simply doesn't add up.
New York-based nutritionist and food writer Marissa Lippert is the author of The Cheater's Diet and founder of Nourish, a nutrition-counseling and food-consulting firm. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Glamour.
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