Thursday, August 20, 2009

10 Easy Steps to Healthier Eating

1. Avoid heavy breakfasts packed with saturated fat like ham, bacon and eggs; instead, start your day with lighter alternatives like high-fiber, hearty oatmeal and delicious yogurt and granola parfaits.

2. When you crave a snack, instead of eating processed, high-fat snack food like potato chips, reach for nuts. Whether your preference is peanuts, cashews or almonds, nuts are an excellent source of protein. And because nuts are high in fat (the good, monounsaturated kind), eating just a handful will satisfy your hunger. Toss in raisins or dried fruit for the perfect healthy snack.

3. Give your cholesterol a break and try cooking a vegetarian meal once a week. You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy a light, meatless meal every so often.

4. Instead of reaching for a candy bar when you crave sweets, always keep fresh fruit around, such as apples, oranges and bananas. The natural sugars and fiber from fruit break down slowly and help to keep blood-sugar levels stable.

5. Keep plenty of leafy greens around and make salads with every dinner. Side salads are an easy way to get in several servings of vegetables each day. Avoid high-fat, high-calorie bottled salad dressings; make your own healthier alternatives with olive oil, vinegar and seasonings.

6. In recent years, countless medical studies have shown that fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, especially cold-water varieties such as salmon, combat Alzheimer’s disease and are good for your heart. Try cooking fish at least once a week for a high-protein, low-fat meal.

7. Eating healthier doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all your favorite foods. Even bad-rep pizza can be healthy. Avoid frozen or takeout pies and make your own. Go lighter on the cheeses and high-fat meats; top with loads of veggies like spinach, olives, and artichokes.

8. Take a walk after dinner instead of plopping down in front of the television. Walking after you eat reduces acid reflux, burns calories and helps you digest. Before you know it, you’ll look forward to your evening strolls.

9. One easy way to improve your health on many levels is to cook with garlic more often. Garlic is high in vitamins C and B6, and it contains powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents that help fight colds and flu. Garlic is also believed to protect against cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

10. Keeping your kitchen stocked with fresh produce is a great way to keep you eating healthy. But frozen fruit and vegetables are a convenient and healthy alternative during winter months. Frozen vegetables are steamed before they’re packaged, so they don’t lose their vitamins like canned vegetables. Frozen fruits are handy for making smoothies or blended drinks-just drop them right in the blender and add some fruit juice.

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