A dietitian's top 10 tips for healthy living
- 3 Minutes Read
Are you looking for tips for healthy living? Learn what a MyNetDiary dietitian considers the top 10 fundamentals of a healthy nutrition and exercise plan.
People often want to know what they can do to be healthier–plain and simple. So, to satisfy this request, here is a summary of my top 10 fundamental tips for healthy living.
Eat a colorful diet. Food scientists use color to identify the many antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. Choose a variety of red (tomato, pepper), orange (tangerine, cantaloupe), yellow (banana, squash), green (spinach, green bean), blue (plum, blueberry), and purple (eggplant, grape) produce. Try to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. Mix it up to get a wider variety of nutrients and prevent boredom. Look at your food records on MyNetDiary to see how much variety you actually eat.
Sitting is the new "smoking" of our tech-driven society. Instead, creatively work physical activity into your daily routine. Choose to not sit longer than 30 minutes at a time. Walk to the store, take the stairs, hand-deliver a document, get off the couch and move during commercials, and take breaks to stretch. The body is meant to move.
Don't fret over not liking Brussels sprouts. Enjoy the broccoli and spinach that you do like. We all have different tastes; find healthy foods that you enjoy!
Make your kitchen work like a well-oiled machine. Are you stocked with items from all the food groups? Make your life easier by planning ahead so you can whip up an easy, balanced meal. Keep a running grocery list to jot down the items you need. Enjoy cooking. Use meal prep as a time to decompress and visit with family. Don't view it as drudgery. Save the complicated gourmet recipes for the weekend or when you can linger longer in the kitchen.
It may not sound like one of the best tips for healthy living at first, much less in the top 10, but eat what makes you and your body happy. Of course, you may get instant and temporary pleasure from eating a loaded pizza or a family-size bag of chips chased down with a few beers. But does your body feel happy when you later suffer from heartburn, bloating, and a stomach ache, probably made worse by feelings of guilt and remorse? Think of happiness as feeling comfortably satisfied, but not stuffed, after a meal. Healthy eating can lead to a healthy weight and a happy body. As a result of good health, this longer-lasting happiness allows us to enjoy the happy moments in life, like walking on the beach or playing with grandchildren.
Eat healthy the majority (80%) of the time, and allow yourself treats less often (20%). In other words, try not to live every day as if it's your birthday. That would be the 20-80 rule. There is absolutely no reason to eat a perfect diet all the time. Our bodies are amazing at storing many nutrients and utilizing nutrients efficiently and as needed.
Avoid eating most of your food from a can or box. Have steamed fresh broccoli with your meal instead of fried onion rings. Choose a baked sweet potato instead of packaged seasoned rice. Look for locally grown and seasonal produce, or grow your own. Also, go to restaurants that offer fresh rather than highly processed foods.
Savor food–admire it, smell it, be grateful for it, and really taste it instead of just going through the motions. If you are flitting around in hyper mode, you may be vulnerable to the influence of enticing food advertisements. Additionally, if you are not mindful, you are more likely to grab and eat whatever is within arm's reach, whether hungry or not.
Prioritize and plan exercise just as you would plan dinner for the family or pick up the kids from school. Make exercise fun; do something you enjoy. Track your minutes on MyNetDiary and give yourself kudos for your efforts.
Sociologists tell us it's human nature to act like the people around us. Seek out others who stay active and eat healthily. Spend time with friends, hiking, playing sports, walking, etc. Have lunch or dinner with people who appreciate fresh, healthy food. Behaviors are contagious.
Of course, there are other elements of healthy living that aren’t included in my 10 tips, like work-life balance, adequate sleep, and stress management. However, they are essentials to consider, making it a holistic approach.
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