I feel like I am always trying to change and evolve my eating habits and attempting, little by little, to eat healthier. Although I wouldn't consider myself the healthiest person on the face of the Earth, and I am by no means an expert, I have learned a thing or two over the years. Eating healthy is often very overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be -- it's the little changes you make that often make the biggest differences. So, here is how to edit your unhealthy eating habits!
A huge way to edit your eating habits is by swapping out the less healthy item you are eating for a somewhat healthier alternative. For instance you can swap french fries for sweet potato fries; if you eat ranch with your veggies, start using hummus; you can swap white bread for wheat -- not huge changes!
Or, if you are obsessed with milk chocolate you can switch to eating dark chocolate instead! Although dark chocolate is a bit more bitter tasting than milk chocolate, milk chocolate contains less of the original cocoa bean that is found in dark chocolate, and more creams and sweetener to make it sweeter and creamier and therefore less beneficial to your health. There are tons of health benefits to eating dark chocolate and some experts actually recommend people eat dark chocolate on a daily basis -- so there's your excuse to eat more chocolate! (as if you needed one.) So there are little alterations, like that, that you can make that will totally change how you are eating without having to really sacrifice anything.
Eat more whole foods.
It can be hard to eat less processed foods since they are so easy to make and so delicious! However, there are some things you can do to incorporate more whole foods into you diet. It is really good to get into the habit of grabbing things like apples and carrot sticks for on-the-go snacks, instead of a processed snack. Pre-made and processed foods usually contain more sodium, fat, sugar, chemicals, and are just not as pure as a piece of fruit or vegetables!
Another thing you can do, which is a really popular trend right now, is use spiralizer's to create noodles or "pasta" out of zucchini and squash. You can also do things like using lettuce instead of a tortilla wrap or even eating peanuts when you are craving something salty instead of potato chips.
Don't overdo dairy products.
You can even completely cut them out (but I just cannot say no to ice cream). Although, it is great if you are able to completely cut dairy out, if you can't seem to do that (like me) it's good to just try to be conscious of how much dairy you consume in a day because it does add up quickly. I try to use almond milk, or coconut milk, when I'm making smoothies. I also will sometimes get sorbet or dairy free ice cream (which usually contains coconut milk as a substitute) when I am really craving ice cream, but don't want to consume a ton of dairy (usually my will power isn't that strong, but I try).
Think of fruit as a dessert.
I never really looked at fruit as being a dessert because I am a sucker for sugary sweets, but once you get in the mind set of looking at fruits as treats as well you will eat more of them. So, after lunch or dinner try eating a bowl of strawberries or slices of watermelon instead of a few cookies or cake. It's still satisfying because you are giving in to your sweet tooth, but you won't feel guilty afterwards which is a bonus!
Drink green tea.
Green tea is one of those things that you cannot go wrong by consuming it (unless you are anemic -- then you should be careful with how much you consume and do your research). It has so many health benefits including helping with weight loss, lowering your risk of certain cancers and more. To speed up weight loss by drinking green tea, it is recommended that you drink somewhere between one to three cups daily, and it is also recommended that you drink green tea approximately an hour after eating.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you go somewhere like Starbucks to get a green tea remember to ask for unsweetened, and even ask them to make it without water which just means that they will not dilute the green tea with water making it half water and half green tea, that way it will all be pure green tea.
Get creative with salads.
I used to not even enjoy the thought of eating salad, but what I have learned is that I actually really love eating salad as long as it's not boring and bland. Obviously, everyone has different preferences when it comes to taste so just experiment and see what you like best in you salads and what ingredients actually make you want to eat it. So try out different veggies, seasonings, dressings and toppings that make you actually want to eat a salad -- and will actually fill you up -- because that is the most important thing!
Cut out soda.
You don't need it so get rid of it! It is never a good idea to drink your calories. It's honestly not even worth it because I don't know about you, but I'd rather have an actual snack than a glass or two of Coke. Soda is just not good; it is full of artificial colors, flavors, tons and tons of chemicals that have been linked with cancer -- plus, it makes you bloated and gain weight. So try to stick to water, green tea (or other unsweetened teas), sparkling water or seltzer (which are amazing alternatives to soda). Even though they are still carbonated drinks -- which will make you bloated temporarily -- you won't have to worry about added sugar and chemicals which are really harmful to your body.
Try things you haven't tried before.
There are so many foods out there, some you probably have never tried, but you definitely should. Although trying new foods is always scary (especially if you are a picky eater), it's worth it in the long run when you end up stumbling upon your new favorite food.
Eat more good fats and less bad.
"Good" fats are things like peanut butter, nuts, hummus, olive oil and avocados as compared to things like butter, beef and pork fat, margarine and shortening. So do your best to replace the bad fats with the good, especially when you are cooking and baking.
Re-do your go-to recipes.
You can rethink your favorite recipes and figure out how to use healthier ingredients. For example, you can use applesauce instead of butter! There are tons of other ways to take out the ingredients we use so often, that aren't so healthy, by substituting healthier alternatives in their place without ruining our favorite recipes!
The most important thing to keep in mind when changing your diet in any way is that everyone is different. So you need to find your own balance in order to eat the correct amount to keep you strong and healthy. Eat the correct amount of food for your body, and listen to your body. If you are hungry -- eat! If you make a mistake and don't eat super healthy one day -- don't punish yourself; just keep trying to do the best you can! Eating healthy is a process, and nobody is perfect at it. It takes time, so don't expect to just wake up and have it all together. Enjoy the process of finding your perfect balance!