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Ways to Incorporate Healthier Foods Into Your Diet

March 20, 2023

Our National Nutrition Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness and promoting nutritional health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of March. Each article will cover different aspects of good nutrition and diet, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to prioritize healthy eating habits and diet.

Eating healthy can seem overwhelming. Whether you are concerned about the extra expense, you don’t know how to adjust your family meals or anything in between, you can still choose a nutritious diet by taking a few small steps.

Eating better doesn’t have to be a chore. There are many ways to incorporate healthier foods into your diet without completely changing the way you eat. In fact, it’s best to slowly add more healthy foods into your meals and snacks here and there rather than making a radical diet change. Taking smaller steps is more sustainable for long-term results.

Choosing simple swaps is a great way to start. First and foremost, we recommend 30-50g carbs a day. For this, you will need to read nutrition labels so as to make sure you’re staying within the limit. For example, swap out white rice for brown rice or quinoa or swap pasta noodles for zucchini noodles or other low-carb alternatives. As for bread, we recommend that if you eat more than one slice a day, cut back to one a day and eventually cut it out completely. Limiting your carb intake to 30-50g per day is key.

Replace regular sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices, and other sugary beverages with water. If you prefer carbonation or fruit flavors, you can also try sparkling water or fruit-infused water to make it more exciting.

If you are someone who drinks a lot of coffee or tea with cream and sugar, try cutting it down slowly or opt for a natural sugar alternative such asmonk fruit. We also recommend switching the use of creamers to heavy cream. This can potentially cut down significantly on unnecessary calories and sugar.  

Swapping out your favorite packaged products for healthier alternatives is also a great and easy trick. For example, if you normally eat yogurt, start reading your food labels. Certain yogurts contain high amounts of sugar but can easily be swapped for one that contains a lot less. This is true for many products. Pay attention to serving size, calories, saturated fat, and added sugars on your labels. These small changes can pack a big punch.

You can also swap out cooking techniques. Instead of frying foods in (vegetable) oil, try baking with butter or olive oil, grilling, or broiling foods instead. This alternative way of cooking will help limit your intake of carbs, often found in the breading of fried foods, while still packing a lot of flavors. Additionally, try to choose more foods at home if you can. This could mean eating 1 additional meal at home each week, limiting eating out to only once per week, or anything in between depending on your current dining habits.

If you do decide to eat out, you can still make smarter choices. Choose fresh fruit or steamed veggies for your side instead of French fries or onion rings. Choose an entrée that is baked or grilled versus fried or order off the lighter menu if they have one. Share your meal with a friend or ask for half of your meal to be boxed up to eat for leftovers the next day. Many restaurants provide meals that contain multiple portions.

Eating healthy is a journey, not a race. Although it may be tempting to jump into it, a lot of these changes will take time. Changing too much too soon can set you back. Pick a few things that feel realistic to you and work on those until they no longer feel challenging. Then move on to another. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is when you aren’t racing to the finish line.