Simple Steps to Good Nutrition

Everyone knows how important proper diet and nutrition are to a healthy body and lifestyle. However, we also know that it’s not as easy as it sounds! If you like the idea of improving your diet and adding nutritious foods to your menus, you can ease your way into better health by using some of these simple ideas!

The best way to start formulating a more nutritious diet is to eliminate any canned, packaged or processed foods from your grocery list and cupboards. Sure, these foods frequently go on sale, but the money you save is little incentive when you consider the chemicals, preservatives and abundance of sodium they offer. Pre-packaged and canned foods are also loaded with fat and extra calories. Learn to love fresh foods instead!

Always read nutrition labels on the foods you buy. Everything you need to know about a product can be found here. Be sure to look at what a serving size actually is. You may think a can of chili is a serving, when in fact, it may be 2 or more servings! Look for clues like fat and cholesterol content, as well as calories, sugar and carbohydrates.

Instead of purchasing prepared sauces, gravies and dips, make your own from fresh ingredients and recipes you find in cookbooks or online. Sauces and dip recipes abound, and they can be fun to experiment with. Look for recipes that incorporate fresh salsas into salads and chicken recipes, or yogurt dips for fruit trays. Make them colorful and delicious!

Discover the magic of smoothies! If you don’t have time to cook breakfast in the morning, get the ingredients for a healthy smoothie together the night before. The whole family will enjoy a fruit smoothie made with yogurt, bananas, strawberries or any other favorite fruit. Add ice for some slush and a spoonful of bran for some fiber, and you have a complete meal!

Whenever you see an ingredient in your recipe or menu that is not nutritious, find a replacement for it. Instead of using fatty ground beef in your spaghetti, use ground turkey instead. For stir-fry, use brown rice instead of white. There are endless substitutions that won’t take away from the flavor of a dish but will add to its nutritional value. A great “hidden” tip is to throw a handful of spinach leaves into your recipes for some great nutritional value. You can use this trick in soups, casseroles or sandwich spreads. No one will ever know!

Finally, we know how important drinks are to many people. There are few people who don’t enjoy sugary soda or fruit juice drinks. Some drink soda all day long! Studies have shown that by cutting out soft drinks, you can lose up to 10 pounds in a year without dieting. That may not seem like a lot, but the sugar and empty calories you won’t be ingesting will make you healthier in the long run. Get creative and make your drinks attractive as well as nutritious. Drink plenty of water, and try adding lemon and lime slices for a twist. Drink club soda with a few strawberries thrown in for color plus a snack. Use your creativity and drink your way to good health!

As you can see, although carry outing a nutritious diet into your life can seem daunting at first, these simple steps shared here will get you started. Do a little research, tap into your creative side, and soon you and your family will be enjoying better health as well as wonderful meals!