slowly

food

What you eat matters, it’s as simple as that.

Eating healthy has countless benefits, from reducing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease to keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure down.

A balanced diet, together with physical activity, can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your memory, boost your mood, support gut health, and sleep better.

Wondering how to establish healthy eating habits? Not sure how to get all the fiber, zinc, antioxidants and calcium you need? We’ve taken out the guesswork for you with 26 tips in this beginner’s guide to healthy eating.

Let’s dive right in!

1. Stick to Water 

water

Skip artificially sweetened beverages like energy drinks and soda; all they are is an extra source of calories and added sugars. Drinking water has countless benefits, from reducing your appetite and calorie intake to helping with weight loss and weight maintenance. Studies show that people who stick to water eat fewer calories.

2. Nosh on Healthy Snacks 

food

Keep pre-cut fruit and vegetables in your refrigerator so it’s easier to reach for them as opposed to chips and cookies. Aim to keep nutritious foods and drinks on hand, in your fridge, in your car, and in your office drawer.

3. Eat More Whole Grains

grains

Bye-bye white bread and other refined carbs! Start eating foods that contain ingredients like bulgar, rolled oats, quinoa, whole wheat and buckwheat. Whole grains contain fiber, zinc, magnesium and iron, among other vitamins and minerals, and studies show that they can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

4. Fill Your Plate Up With Fresh Fruit And Vegetables

fruit

Ensure your plate is as colorful as possible by adding foods like broccoli, sweet potato, and red peppers to the mix. The more colors and nutritious foods you see, the better chance you have of getting the necessary fiber, minerals and vitamins you need.

5. Reduce Your Sodium Intake 

salt

Next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to read food labels and choose products that are low in sodium. Specifically, look for labels that say “no salt added” and “reduced sodium.” The limit for adults is 6 grams per day.

6. Control Your Portion Size 

portion

Use smaller plates when preparing your meal and don’t keep eating once you’re full. Save the extra food for leftovers the next day. Also, the right portion size for you will depend on several factors, such as gender, age and how active you are, so keep this in mind too.

7. Skip Fried Foods 

fried

Take a pass on the deep fryer, and especially fast foods, and stick to dishes that are prepared on the grill or baked in the oven.

8. Snack On Crunchy Foods

crunchy

We’re not talking about chips here, we’re talking about nuts, celery, apples and the like. These require more effort to chew and require that you chew more slowly, which means you eat slower and give your body the chance to register how full you are.

9. Add Oily Fish To Your Diet 

fish

Keep heart disease at bay by increasing your intake of oily fish, which is high in omega-3 fats. This includes sardines, mackerel, trout, salmon and herring.

10. Use Healthy Oils 

oils

Stop using canola, sunflower, cottonseed and soybean oil and make the switch to coconut oil, avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil in particular, which contains healthy fat and has proven to have countless health benefits.

11. Cook At Home And Eat Out Less 

eathome

You have better control over your meal, especially the ingredients and the way you prepare it, than when you eat at a restaurant.

12. Eat More Beans 

bean

Legumes are nutrient dense and excellent sources of protein, they can help you feel full for longer, and they might help improve blood cholesterol. What’s more, there are lots of quick and easy recipes you can make with a can of beans!

13. Eat More Nuts And Seeds 

seeds

Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts, almonds—they’re packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, protein and minerals. Plus you can eat them on the go!

14. Cut Down On Saturated Fats 

saturated

Too much saturated fat in your diet can put you at risk for heart disease. Make an effort to eat fewer cakes, cookies, sausages, butter, and hard cheese. These can also contribute to weight gain.

15. Mix It Up 

mix

Not every meal has to be chicken, steak or fish, and you don’t have to be a full-on vegetarian or vegan to give vegetables pride of place on your plate every now and again.

16. Read the label 

label

The best way to pick the healthiest foods is to see exactly what’s in them. Read the label and get familiar with the lingo so you can make the best choices.

17. Keep A Food Diary

daily

Keeping track of everything you eat can help you be more aware and see which foods you’re not eating enough of and which ones you’re eating too often. In the long run this can help you get rid of unhealthy eating habits.

18. Add Super-Foods To Your Diet 

super

Keeping track of everything you eat can help you be more aware and see which foods you’re not eating enough of and which ones you’re eating too often. In the long run this can help you get rid of unhealthy eating habits.

19. Switch Up Your Seasoning 

seasoning

Skip the salt and use a variety of other low-sodium options, such as lemon, lime, or a dried herbs and spices.

20. Plan Your Meals

meal

Throwing a meal together at the last minute is often a recipe for disaster when it comes to eating healthy. Take the time to plan out your meals each week so you know you’re going to eat right, as this helps you make healthier food choices. As an added bonus, meal plans generally help reduce spending!

21. Eat More Slowly 

slowly

Savor your food. Chew it. Think about it. Studies show that people who eat more quickly are more likely to suffer from obesity than people who eat slowly.

22. Eat More Greek Yogurt 

yogurt

Up your protein intake with a little Greek yogurt. Add it to your smoothie or mix in some fresh fruit—however you want to eat it, it’s a good idea all around. Greek yogurt contains three-times more protein than regular yogurt and protein also makes you feel fuller, so it can help you eat less overall.

23. Eat Your Veggies First 

veggies

Fill up on veggies first, and you might eat less of other parts of your meal that are potentially less healthy. It’s also worth noting that eating vegetables before carbs can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels.

24. Don’t Eat “Diet” Foods 

diet

Eating healthy means avoiding junk food, but did you know it also means avoiding foods with labels that say fat-free, low-fat, and low-calorie? Sure, they have less fat, but they also generally have more sugar to compensate for it.

25. Add Eggs To The Menu 

eggs

Eggs have a lot of protein as well as choline, and eating them in the morning gives you the feeling of being full, which is especially great if you want to lose weight.

26. Wake Up To Black Coffee 

coffee

The next time you go food shopping, skip the sweeteners, milk, heavy cream, sugar and syrup and drink your coffee black. Coffee is chock-a-block with antioxidants and has many health benefits, such as protecting against Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

There you have it! 26 simple tips on how to eat healthy. The food you eat has an impact on every aspect of your life.

Hopefully you can incorporate some of these ideas and eating tips into your daily routine, make the right food choices and get your diet on track so you can reap the rewards of a healthy diet.