If Eating Healthy is Your Resolution for 2017, Read This

As the years go by, more and more of my peers are beginning to prioritize their health. As compared to when we were younger, the effects of a beer and pizza night takes a considerably larger (and visibly noticeable!) toll on our bodies.

While many aspire to ‘eat healthy’ in 2017, what does eating healthy actually mean? If your New Year’s resolution this year is to start eating healthier, here are four ways you can work towards this goal.

01 | Consume Less Calories

The intention with eating healthier is often to lose weight, whether for health or for beauty reasons. Research has shown that eating lesser has numerous health benefits, such as living longer. The rationale is that less stress placed on the body to digest all the food consumed, leading to less oxidative stress and DNA damage.

Drastic caloric restriction, which often happens when people go on a ‘diet’, usually backfires. Eating lesser does not mean drastic caloric restriction or starvation, but choosing foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients.

A good way to start consuming less calories is to reduce your daily caloric intake by 100 calories, which is within something called the ‘Mindless Margin’. The ‘Mindless Margin’ refers to the window whereby your physical body does not notice the increase or decrease in caloric consumption. Therefore, just as you can easily consume 100 less calories per day without your body realizing it, you can also easily overconsume the 100 calories. By consuming 100 less calories every day, you are set to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year.

Donuts with apple filling dusted with sugar

02 | Consume Less Sugar

The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories of added sugar for women, and 9 teaspoons or 150 calories for men. However, with sugar being hidden in many of the foods that we consume on a daily basis, people often consume more than this recommended amount.

Excess sugar becomes metabolized into body fat, increases inflammation in the body, and also the risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

While it will take considerable effort to go on a zero sugar diet, an easy way to reduce consumption of added sugar is to refrain from adding sugar in drinks such as coffee or tea. The taste of black coffee and tea does take some time to get used to, but using high quality beans and tea leaves help enhance flavors without adding sugar.

03 | Eat More Greens

This is especially for those who are ‘allergic’ to vegetables. It’s time to get more of them into your diet this year!

The plant-based diet is gradually gaining momentum, with the World Health Organization confirming that meat-based diets are detrimental to our long-term health.

One of my favourite ways to add more greens into my diet is to drink green smoothies. Green smoothies are delicious beverages made from blending different combinations of fruits and vegetables, and can be used as a meal replacement. By sticking to a 60:40 ratio of fruits to vegetables, I assure that you can hardly taste the vegetables in them.

Plate with different fruits like blueberries, oranges and kiwi

04 | Eat More Whole Foods

Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural states as possible. This idea is simple – eating an orange is better than drinking orange juice, and drinking orange juice is better than eating an orange popsicle. The more you choose foods in their natural states, the more you will benefit from the phytochemicals, fibre, vitamins and minerals that are  stripped during processing.

A tip for grocery shopping is to shop around the perimeters of the grocery store, and avoid the central aisles, where most packaged processed foods are placed. If you are not that much of a chef, look out for a few salad bars, sandwiches or wrap stores that you can always rotate between to get fresh, healthy meals.

Have a happy, healthy 2017!

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