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Nutrition 101: Establishing Healthy Eating Habits

The importance of healthy eating is everywhere we look—magazines, television, conversations with your friends, and appointments with your doctor. In this day and age, making sure your body is properly nourished is more widely known than ever before. With new information swirling around us daily in regards to new diets, different kinds of illnesses brought on by processed foods, and cancerous materials in packaged food, it can seem overwhelming to try to stay healthy. But in today’s world, the stress and responsibility of jobs, family, and social demands are high, making it more important than ever that you are full, focused, and ready to tackle the day.

Healthy Eating Is Easier Than You Think

Individuals who consistently eat unhealthy foods are at risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer

In order to keep your body functioning at peak performance, to achieve long-lasting energy, and keep stomach grumbles at bay, following a few simple, easy-to-implement tips for healthy eating habits can go a long way.

Eat a High Fiber Diet

Fiber is an important part of a well-balanced diet. Dietary fiber stays in your stomach longer than most foods, making you feel full for longer periods of time. Foods high in fiber give you more energy, allowing you to be more productive and feel less sluggish. Some foods that contain healthy amounts of fiber are beans, lentils, artichokes, broccoli, avocado, blueberries, pears, oatmeal, and whole-wheat pasta.

Eat Small, Frequent, Nutrient-Rich Meals Throughout the Day

Eating six smaller meals/snacks as opposed to three big meals ensures that you have energy around the clock. Smaller portions of healthy foods are easier for your body to digest. Making a habit of eating more frequently throughout the day will ensure you never go too long without nourishment which will help you avoid feeling wiped before your day is over.

Avoid Sugary/Caffeinated Drinks

Energy drinks, sodas, and coffee—while providing you with a short burst of energy—can do more harm than good. They can be good for a quick pick-me-up, but more often than not, when the effects of the caffeine wear off, they will leave you feeling depleted. This can cause you to “crash” which is where your energy fades and your mood falls. In addition, sugary drinks can fill you up, making you less likely to consume healthy foods. Try to drink water as much as possible. Water will keep you hydrated (which will then, in turn, increase your energy) and help you achieve and maintain optimal health.

Meal Plan and Prep Weekly

Meal planning is a tried and true method used by students, athletes, families, and nutritional specialists alike. Planning out what you are going to eat in advance can deter you from making unhealthy food choices last minute. Meal preparation, which is the process of preparing your meals beforehand and freezing, is extremely convenient for busy parents, students, or a young business owner with an unpredictable schedule.

At the beginning of your week, spend time writing out a list of what you will need from the grocery store for the meals you want to eat. After shopping, prep a large batch of different foods and store in containers in your refrigerator or freezer. By doing this, you are then able to take and heat quickly when you are short on time. Having readily available meals will ensure you always have healthy food on hand, ready to fuel your mind and energize your body. 

Making healthy eating choices is ultimately up to you. While it can seem daunting, making small changes in your diet will ensure your success and overall health.