A lot of us want to be healthy eaters, but we’re not even sure we know what that means anymore. So here are the basics of becoming someone who eats healthier, according to nutrition experts.
Making vegetables the center of your diet - With all the antioxidants and fiber in veggies, they should be the center of the meal, not just a side dish. They’re low in calories, and have lots of water to keep you hydrated and full, so for healthy eaters, they make up the bulk of the meal, nutrition coach Candice Seti says.
Planning your meals ahead of time - People who eat healthy - even at the office - do it because they think ahead. You don’t have to have every detail of every meal planned out for a week, but you do need to have healthy choices ready to go all the time, like cut up fresh fruits and veggies, hummus, and Greek yogurt, suggests registered dietitian Lauren O’Connor.
Drinking water all day long - Healthy eaters always have their water bottle nearby, and they know sipping water helps them avoid over snacking.
Eating protein at breakfast - People who eat healthy don’t start their day with cereal or granola bars, which are full of carbs. They eat a protein-packed breakfast and that helps keep them from getting hangry before lunch.
Never skipping meals - Even the busiest healthy eaters find time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so they’re “properly energized and not ravenous at any point in the day,” explains registered dietitian Jenny Champion.
Knowing that processed food isn't real food - Health nuts and nutritionists know that packaged food isn’t healthy just because it’s “fat-free,” or “gluten-free,” or “sugar-free.” If the list of ingredients is long and has a lot of words you can’t pronounce or recognize, a healthy eater probably wouldn’t eat it.
Appreciating your food and eating it slowly - People who eat healthy aren’t torturing themselves, they tend to love food and enjoy taking their time with it, eating when they’re hungry and stopping when they’re full. Eating mindfully helps keep them from overeating.
Indulging often - Healthy eaters know how to indulge in a treat without going overboard. “The trick lies in keeping the serving size small and choosing something with some nutritional benefits," Seti explains. "The antioxidants in a square of dark chocolate - with at least 75 percent cacao content - or a glass of red wine can make good choices."