When you’re deep in the SAD (standard American diet), it can feel reeeaallly overwhelming to overhaul food habits all at once. It takes time to educate yourself, to test out different foods to find sensitivities, to build an understanding of what makes a healthy diet (for you); but if in the mean time you’re ready to make some changes, there are plenty of easy ways to begin! Here are four easy ways to improve your diet right now:
Plan your meals around vegetables. Even if you’re at a point where that only means ordering pizza with extra vegetables as toppings, do that. Nothing beats vegetables in the nutrition game–they’re so low impact calorie-wise but im-PACKED (puns!!!) with micronutrients, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. The micronutrients from veggies are so crucial, especially those from leafy greens, so in my book they’re priority number one when looking at my diet as a whole. I almost like to think of vegetables as the main portion of my meal, with the protein acting as a side dish.
This is more in terms of if you’re not willing to cut out grains yet or ever (and I do personally endorse a diet free from grains for the most part, but you do you), switching from grains containing gluten to naturally gluten-free grains is a great switch. Even for someone without a gluten allergy, it can be beneficial to avoid gluten because it can be addictive and hard to digest. Rice, quinoa, oats, etc. are cleaner, more easily digest-able options for most people, and you can find great pasta substitutes made from gluten-free grains easily as well. Read this lovely blog post about why going gluten-free, even without being Celiac, is a good move.
Swap out sweeteners.
Easy peasy. Switch processed white sugar for a more natural and nutrient-dense alternative. Coconut sugar is delicious and swaps out perfectly for white sugar while being much less processed and higher in vitamins. Raw honey and pure, grade A dark maple syrup are great liquid options–still very sweet, but with many more nutrient-dense properties along with other benefits. Obviously all of these options are still just sugar, which we should limit for optimal health, but when the mood strikes, you’ve got some better options.
Upgrade your meats.
Factory-farmed meat just isn’t your friend. It’s very much not the same, both in nutrient value and in ethics, as meat that has been raised on a proper diet and with a happier life. I highly encourage you to invest in your health as well as the health of the animals you’re eating by buying ideally grass-fed-grass-finished meats, and even more ideally, pasture-raised. If that’s not an option, organic is better than not, and even just antibiotic-free is a step up. Factory-farmed meat is much higher in Omega 6 (an inflammatory fat), which is no good, and its vitamin content–the one that is abundant and rich in properly farmed meat–is lacking in comparison. No thanks! Choose happy, healthy meat when you can for a major improvement in your diet.
I so hope you enjoyed these tips. Let me know down in the comments your favorite tip or any other ways you may suggest to begin the ever-daunting diet overhaul!
Disclaimer: I am by no means a doctor, nutritionist, or a health coach. I’m just an avid reader and studier of books, articles & research on nutrition & wellness who wants to share her journey with you.