5-things-diet-nutrition

5 Things You can Do Right Now to Improve Your Nutrition

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

When it comes to eating healthy and getting proper nutrition, there is so much information available you can get overwhelmed. Do you load up on carbohydrates or go carb-free? Is gluten good for you or is gluten bad for you? With so many questions, it can become a serious academic undertaking just to eat delicious and healthy food.

Luckily, you can forget about obsessing over the latest diet and health information, because there are five things you can do to improve your nutrition today. The steps are so easy it seems odd that they are not mentioned everywhere. However, they are very effective when it comes to improving your health through eating quality foods and proper nutrition.

These five simple tricks get results.

The Fab 5

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Eat more fruit.
  3. Use less salt.
  4. Eat more vegetables.
  5. Use less sugar.

If you start with all five items from the list, you can have noticeable changes within a week. Is five is too much? Start with one and gradually increase over time. By including these simple, yet important changes to your eating habits, you can become healthier and your body will thank you later.

The list is very simple, but being healthy by eating right is simple. Using a few practical tools, adding a few good habits and making a few simple changes in how you eat can go a long way towards making you feel better, improving your health and your quality of life.

Now that you have the list, it would be good to have suggestions on how to make it work for you. Listed are a few of the health benefits of items on the list and some examples of what can be done based on personal experience that you can use to improve your nutrition and overall health.

Drink more water

There are a few reasons to drink water beside the fact that it quenches your thirst. Some suggest that you drink at least eight to ten 8oz glasses of water daily. A trick that I use to help me to drink the suggested amount is gulping down a mason jar full of water first thing in the morning.

A Mason jar filled to the brim is a tad less than 24oz. That is almost three glasses of water down before you even brush your teeth. You can buy a Mason jar but I just use a jar from some store bought marinara sauce. If you do not have a Mason jar use whatever large drinking container you have. If you add another glass before you leave, another when you come back and a glass of water 30-minutes before or after each meal and you are on the right track.

Eat more fruit

Fresh fruit packs plenty of vitamins, antioxidants and natural sugars. I honestly do not eat as much fresh fruit as I should because almost every store has fruit that is out of season, unripe, from some place I never heard of or a place that I never want to visit. Even though I do not often eat generous portions of fresh fruit, I do routinely make my own frozen fruit smoothies.

Besides fruit smoothies (which are a treat and a healthier alternative to soda), here are three easy things that you can do to incorporate more fruit into your daily eating habits. 1. Use fresh fruit as a topping on ice cream and other sweet treats. 2. Use fresh fruit in salads. 3. Use dried fruit as an alternative to potato chips, candy bars or any other junk food that you normally go for. You might be surprised. I have found dried chili lime mangoes to be a real treat.

Use less salt

Everything tastes better with salt. That is what makes it evil. The way I get my food to have that nice and savory flavor without using so much salt is by adding the salt just before serving the food, or during the last five minutes of cooking. Otherwise, you will find yourself constantly tasting the food and adding more salt as it cooks. Wait and add the salt last.

Additional tips for reducing salt content in your food include using fresh vegetables instead of canned vegetables, or when using canned vegetables use those that state, “No salt added”, “Reduced salt” or “Low-Sodium”. To reduce your salt intake further you can use herbs and other seasonings that are salt-free. Lastly, you can use reduced salt or no salt added, packaged frozen foods.

Eat more vegetables

Scratch the whole concept of one entrée, one starch and one side. Change it up a bit and try two side dishes of vegetables and one starch. Alternatively, you can go for one entrée and two sides of veggies. Sliced carrots and celery are not just for the kids, the health benefits extend to adults too.

Another healthy option for you to eat more vegetables besides the frequently mentioned suggestion of eating a salad at every meal is to pick one day out of the week to go vegetarian or vegan. That is where you go from breakfast to dinner (and all snacks too) eating only vegetarian or vegan foods.

This will give you a chance to change your routine of cooking the same foods repeatedly and get creative. If creativity is not your thing, there are many good vegetarian websites loaded with tasty recipes that will have your mouth watering and your belly pleasantly filled.

Vegetables have vitamins, fiber, minerals and other nutrients that are very important in helping you improve your nutrition and overall well-being. Vegetables can help to reduce risk of heart disease, digestive problems and lover blood pressure. Another added benefit of eating vegetables is that they can curb your appetite even though they are low in calories. Eat more veggies they’re good for you.

Use less sugar

If you love sweets as I do, trying to cut down on your sugar intake can be troublesome. Sugar brings a good taste to food, but it can be bad for you. Besides that the energy rush from sugar is usually followed by a crash because of the empty calories refined sugar provides your body.

In addition to trying various sugar alternatives, and natural sweeteners like dates, bananas, and apples, one thing you can do is treat yourself to sweets just on the weekends. You can also reduce your sugar intake by drinking beverages that use natural sweeteners that do not have the same negative impact on your body as refined sugar.

You can do it. Be healthier.

With these simple tips, you can improve your health today. If you do even one of the five suggestions on this list, by the next meal you will be one-step closer to better health. As the ancient saying of the philosopher Lao-Tzu goes, “the journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step”.

Make today the day you step forward and move closer to achieving your goals.

If you can think of any more simple things to do to improve your nutrition be sure to add them in the comments below. Thanks for reading.