Bad eating habits can be difficult to break. Poor nutrition, such as eating processed foods packed with preservatives and high levels of sugar and sodium can lead to many chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Luckily, you can prevent and even reverse the impact of an unhealthy diet by making small, gradual changes in the everyday food choices you make.
Basics of Healthy Eating
The omnipresence of fast-food restaurants can make eating healthy a challenge. However, every unhealthy food choice you make can be replaced with a healthier alternative. For example, if you enjoy drinking coffee with a sugary creamer in the morning, you can try to replace the creamer with milk and a little bit of stevia for sweetness.
The ideal diet should consist of a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fat. You should also be drinking plenty of water and keeping processed foods and sugar at bay. Here are some examples of healthy foods to include in your daily diet:
- Lean proteins, like skinless chicken, lean beef, plain Greek yogurt, tofu, tilapia and beans
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, like brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat bread
- Healthy fats, such as salmon, tuna, eggs, avocado, nuts and olive oil
- Water: Drinking at least 64 ounces every day will help you stay hydrated and avoid consuming sugar and empty calories found in soda and processed juices
Another crucial aspect of healthy eating is moderation. Even the healthiest foods eaten in excess can result in weight gain or digestive problems. Try to avoid overeating by keeping track of what and how much you eat. You can do this by preparing your meals ahead of time and tracking your food intake via a diet and exercise tracking app, like My Fitness Pal.
Making life-altering diet changes can be overwhelming. Working with an experienced wellness expert that specializes in weight loss and nutrition can help alleviate the stress associated with weight loss. Your coach will work with you to create a personalized eating plan tailored to your unique goals and needs. Our team excels at helping our Georgia weight-loss patients find food replacement options that allow them to enjoy what they eat.
What Is Junk Food and Why Is It Bad for You?
Junk food, including most fast food and chain-eatery food, offers little nutritional value. Many fast-food meals are calorie bombs loaded with added sugar and trans fats. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily sugar intake to no more than 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. Unfortunately, exceeding this recommended amount is easy. For example, there are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 ounce can of Coca Cola, so even drinking one can of Coke with your lunch means that you’ve consumed too much sugar for the day.
Trans fat is the result of food processing and is the worst type of fat you can eat because it’s known to raise the level of bad cholesterol in your blood and even lead to diabetes and heart disease. The highest levels of trans fat can be found in baked goods (pies, cake, cookies), margarine, frozen pizza, nondairy coffee creamer, fried foods (donuts, chicken, French fries) and microwave popcorn.
Your best bet to stay healthy is to avoid junk food altogether, or at least limit your intake to once a week. Replace eating out with cooking nutrient-dense, whole-food meals. If you’re unsure which products you regularly consume fall under the junk food umbrella, here’s a list of foods you should cut back on or eliminate from you diet altogether:
- Candy bars
- Sugary drinks, including soda, juice and energy drinks
- Alcohol, especially sugary drinks
- Processed meat like bacon and deli meat
- Fast foods
- Frozen meals
- Unhealthy vegetable oils, like canola, sunflower and soy
Healthy Snacks for Diabetes
Sticking to a healthy diet is an absolute must if you have diabetes. Prioritizing lean proteins and healthy fats, while limiting your carb intake will help keep your blood sugar under control and improve your overall health.
Some examples of healthy snacks to eat if you have diabetes include:
- Sliced apples with healthy peanut butter (one with a short ingredient list and few added sugars and oils)
- Cottage cheese
- Tuna salad
- Trail mix (try choosing savory over sweet)
- Eggs (hard boiled or fried with coconut oil)
- Oatmeal with berries
- Aged cheese with fruit
- Roasted almonds
- Salads with healthy, sugar-free dressing (read your labels)
- Guacamole with cucumber slices
- Hummus with whole wheat pita bread
- Green smoothies
These, as well as many other healthy snacks, will likely help to keep your diabetes in check. These healthy snacks are also ideal for people with heart disease, high blood pressure or those trying to lose weight.
If You’re Looking to Improve Your Health Through Improved Nutrition, Optimum Health Rehab Can Help
Making long-term lifestyle changes is never easy, and consistency is key. Our Georgia-based nutrition experts will carefully examine your condition, learn about your lifestyle, listen to your concerns and help you create the optimal meal plan for your unique preferences and needs.
You can schedule an appointment with one of our weight loss or nutritional experts by calling (877) 704-1761.