If the word diet conjures up images of kale salad, you’ve got to find better inspiration. Believe it or not, healthy eating can be something you learn to love. Once you nix the sodium-filled processed foods and replace them with real, whole, fresh foods, your taste buds will take on a transformation. But, to make this switch, you have to find healthy foods you love, not just healthy foods you’re supposed to love (no offense to kale).
Eat Breakfast to Boost Metabolism
First off, you need to make sure you’re eating at least three meals a day, says Baptist Health Medical Group weight-loss surgeon Paige Quintero, MD. “Your metabolism – that elusive force that can make or break your journey to a healthy weight – is triggered by eating breakfast. If you rise at 8 a.m. but fail to eat your first meal until noon, you have missed out on stimulating your metabolism for four hours of the day.” Metabolism is the process your body uses to turn food into energy. That’s why skipping breakfast can make you feel sluggish and tired, leaving you susceptible to temptation for a quick sugar fix.
Healthy Eating is Easier if You Plan Ahead
Experts agree that planning your meals ahead of time will help you stick to a healthy diet. Why not try outlining your meals for a week – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks – and see if that helps you stay on track?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate helps you build an eating plan while incorporating the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Here are some yummy food ideas from Dr. Quintero and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that can be part of your daily menu plan:
- Smoothies. To get a morning dose of fruit, try a smoothie. Peel and slice a banana. Freeze overnight. In the morning, blend with fresh strawberries and low-fat yogurt.
- Snack attack. Pre-portion raw veggies into small bags in your fridge so they’re grab-and-go ready. Try red bell peppers, cucumber slices or whole radishes.
- Anytime breakfast. Add a serving of a variety of leftover veggies from your fridge and saute in a skillet with a touch of olive oil. Beat egg whites and combine for a fluffy veggie omelet.
- Craving carbs? Try a baked potato topped with salsa and low-fat cheese. It’s all the satisfaction of french fries with a fraction of the fat.
- Sweet treat. Choose whole-grain bread and wraps for your sandwiches. When a sweet craving hits, try almond or peanut butter on a wrap with sliced strawberries. You’re getting protein and fruit!