Given that just about 3% of Americans live a “healthy lifestyle” we don’t need to fret over that number. We can see it as a statement that there are lots of small things that we could be doing better. There are plenty of simple ways to achieve a more perfect diet.
Here are the top 7 ways to do it.
1. Stay Colorful
The easiest way to know whether or not you’re holding a plate with a healthy balanced meal on it is to look at the colors. If you see green, yellow, orange, purple, red, and more, you know you’re eating a lot of variety. If you see brown, brown, and brown, you’re probably holding a plate of prepared, cooked, or fried food.
While those foods are good in moderation, your normal mode should be to eat as colorfully as possible. This is one of the most simple ways to eat healthily.
And it should go without saying that those colors should be natural. While a bowl of fruity cereal might taste good, it’s got nothing on the nutrients that a mixed greens salad with tomatoes and carrots could have.
Make sure you already eat a variety of foods. Those brown bready starches might feel good when you eat them, but you’ll be missing out on fresh veggies. Make sure you always balance your foods out so that you’re eating fresh as often as you can.
2. Replace Added Sweets
Think twice when you’re about to add sweetener to something or pick up a sweet treat. There’s always a more natural solution that could take the place of that sweet thing and give you the same kind of kick you’re looking for.
Look no further than fruit. Every time you’re about to bite into a piece of cake, a donut, or a cookie, why not grab an apple instead. You’ll get all of the kick that you’re looking for and just a fraction of the calories. After a while, you’ll start to remember just how sweet fresh fruit can be.
If you’re going to add sweeteners, make sure you’re always going natural. While you might be tempted to add a spoonful of sugar to your tea, think about a dollop of honey instead. Agave is another great natural solution to satisfy your sweet cravings.
Instead of jellies, go with jams. Keep as much real fruit in your diet as possible. Keep ingredients down to a minimum. When something has 5 ingredients or less, it’s probably not too bad for you.
3. Variety is Important
Along with following the color rule, you need to always keep things rotating and changing. You might fall into a habit of bringing the same lunch to work every day, but try to mix things up as often as possible.
Variety ensures that not only do you get a mix of colors but that you get a mix of flavors. Variety keeps things interesting and can ensure you’re picking up all the vitamins you need. While your salad on Monday might be missing protein, you can make up for it with a healthy omelet on Tuesday.
Don’t feel obligated to jam-pack every meal with all the nutrients on the planet but keep mixing it up.
4. Eat to Your Lifestyle
If you’re a runner, you might eat more than someone who isn’t a runner, even if you’re smaller than they are. In some cases, size doesn’t matter. Instead, it’s how much activity you get.
If you sit at a desk all day, you should probably eat as lean as possible. Avoid saturated fats and artificial flavors.
If you spend most of your day lifting heavy machinery and moving things around on a construction site, you’ll need more protein than an office worker. Meanwhile, they could be the one eating a cheeseburger with a side of chicken nuggets for lunch. While that’s not the healthiest option, it’s slightly more suited to someone who is exerting their strength all day long.
5. Avoid Juice
Believe it or not, juice has no nutritional value. When you remove the fiber from fruits and vegetables, all that you have left is sugar. Sugar without the fiber to help you process it gets turned directly to fat.
Meanwhile, it also wreaks havoc on your teeth. The sugar rush spikes your blood sugar and makes you crash a short time later.
A glass of freshly squeezed juice is nice once in a while on the weekend but drinking it every day can be bad for your health and actually make you gain weight.
6. Prepare it Yourself, Know the Ingredients
When you prepare your own foods, you know the ingredients that are in it. When you have to eat out, you’re forced to guess what the quality of the ingredients is.
You can probably bet that the ingredients are a lower quality than what you would buy. While the preparation might be top notch, this is something to think about when you go out to eat.
7. Fat is Good if It’s Natural
Fat gets a bad rap. Fat isn’t all bad. Fat can be found in healthy yogurt, in avocados, and in nuts.
These are all good and healthy things that can be high in fat.
However, they’re made of the kinds of fats that your body knows how to process easily. Processed fatty foods are made in such a way that it’s hard for your body to break them down. Your body can take apart a nut or avocado much faster.
The Perfect Diet is Different for Everyone
No matter who you are, there’s no one perfect diet that can work for you and someone else. There are suggestions for what can make it better, but ultimately you’ve got to decide what works for you. Every diet will have to consider what foods you like to eat, how active you are, and what you want to improve.
While you’re trying to figure out what diet works for you, check out these weird diets you may have never heard of.