There’s a growing problem in America, and it’s evident everywhere you look. The problem is obesity, currently at its highest level ever across all age groups, including children. While there are many theories about how this happened, it really all comes down to one thing: how much we eat versus how much we exercise. If we eat more calories than we burn off, we gain weight.
The key is to eat healthy.
Making some simple dietary changes will help to not only keep the weight off, but help keep you healthier as well. By adjusting certain food intake, you can end up with lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and many other anti-aging benefits.
Cut back on the sugars.
Sugar is the biggest culprit in unhealthy eating. Any food or drinks with added sugar can pack on the calories faster than anything else in a diet.
Sugary beverages, cereal bars, biscuits, cakes and other foods are all high in sugar. For example one bottle of cola has the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar. Surprisingly, fruit drinks are also high in sugars. Sweetened breakfast cereals could add as much as 22 cubes of sugar to your diet over a one-week period of time. Instead, substitute other foods, like plain cereals, water, low-fat milk or herbal tea.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
The more fruits and vegetables you eat, the better. It’s recommended that you eat five portions each day, and you can start by adding a banana to your cereal, or enjoying some fresh fruit for a morning snack. Eat as many different types of fruits and vegetables as you can. They can be fresh, frozen, cooked in dishes or eaten as snacks. And if you buy canned vegetables or fruits, make sure there are no added sugars or salt.
Nothing fishy about this!
Fish is a terrific source of vitamins and protein, and the goal should be to eat it twice a week. Make sure one of those dishes includes an oily fish, like salmon, trout, fresh tuna or mackerel. The oily fish contains important omega-3 fats that can help prevent heart disease.
Pass on the salt.
Salt is one of the causes of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke, so the less salt in your diet, the better. Just remember it’s not only about adding salt to your food, it’s about how much salt is in the foods you eat. That includes cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Read food labels carefully before making a purchase; if it has more than 1.5 grams of salt for every 100g, it has too much salt. Keep your intake to no more than 6g per day, which is equal to about one teaspoonful.
Eat lots of starchy carbs.
Yes, it’s ok to eat potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereal! Just be sure they’re whole grain, and if you’re eating potatoes, leave the skin on if possible – you’ll get more fiber, and you’ll feel full a lot longer if you do. Surprisingly, starchy carbohydrates are not fattening. The truth is, gram for gram they’re about half the calories of fat! So try to eat one starchy food with every meal.
Here’s another key: stay active! The more calories you burn, the healthier you will be.
Image Credit: Anthony Albright | Flickr