"I hope you’re living a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. "
1. Cut Down On Alcohol
Although several studies have shown that moderate amounts of alcohol (1 drink per day for women, 2 for men) can have some health benefits—raising “good” HDL cholesterol, “thinning the blood” (preventing clots that can cause heart attack and stroke) and possibly warding off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, there are some good reasons to make sure that your alcohol consumption stays moderate. Alcohol takes a toll on your liver, the major organ of your body devoted to “detoxing” your system. It also acts as a diuretic, making it harder to stay hydrated. One idea to cut back: Try sticking to the suggested limit of one drink a day for women, two for men. (Think of the calories and money you’ll save!) Looking for an alcohol-free drink at cocktail hour? Try club soda with a splash of juice.
2. Cut Down On Sugar
Most of us eat too much sugar. On average, Americans consume 475 calories of added sugars every day (that’s 30 teaspoons), which is way higher than what’s recommended by the American Heart Association (6 teaspoons per day for women, 9 for men). High intake of added sugar is linked with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels. One idea to cut back: Skip processed foods, which can be loaded with hidden added sugars, and when you want a sweet treat, reach for fruit for a natural sugar fix.
3. Cut Down On Salt
Americans, on average, eat 3,400 milligrams of sodium in a day, about 1,000 mg more than we should. And if we cut that much out of our daily diets, we’d lower our risk of heart disease by up to 9 percent, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Restaurant foods and processed foods both tend to be very high in sodium, so a key step in lowering your sodium intake is to cook at home using fresh ingredients instead. One idea to cut back: Try eating out less and cooking more at home using fresh ingredients instead. And try boosting flavor with herbs and spices rather than salt.
4. Cut Down On Saturated Fat
Saturated fat—the kind of fat that’s found in whole milk, cheese, butter and meat—raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can damage arteries. One idea to cut back: Avoid animal fats and swap them for healthier unsaturated fats from plant foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil.
5. Cut Down On Refined Grains
Refined grains—white flour, white rice—are stripped of beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals. So while they add calories, they’re not really providing much in the way of nutrients. And since they’re low in fiber, they’re less satisfying than whole grains. One idea to cut back: Check the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” describes the grains in the product—if it just says “wheat flour,” for example, that’s not whole-wheat, so make another choice.
6. Cut Down On Processed Foods
I’m not concerned with minimally processed foods—like plain unsweetened yogurt or washed bagged greens—that are still essentially healthy whole foods. Rather, I’m talking about prepared food products with loads of ingredients. By cutting these out, I can easily minimize my intake of added sugars, salt and trans and saturated fat, too, since these things are often added to processed foods for taste. Plus, I’ll make room for more healthy whole foods in my diet. One idea to cut back: Go through your cabinets and see which of your foods come in boxes and think of alternatives. Two ideas to get started: Swap crackers or chips for crunchy veggies, and if you rely on prepared meals, like mac and cheese or canned soup, find an easy recipe to make your favorites from scratch.
7. Have More Fruits and Vegetables
Year-round, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Not only do they add a lot of flavor and color to meals, they’re nutrient- and antioxidant-rich, low in calories and can help lower your risk for heart disease. One idea to get more: When figuring out what to make for dinner, make vegetables the main event—start with the vegetables you have on hand or what looks good to you at the market. From there, figure out what else (protein, starch) would go well with it.
8. Have More Water
It’s tempting to choose other beverages, but water really is the best thing to drink. Our bodies are 60 percent water and it’s vital for the function of every organ system, helping to circulate oxygen and whisk away toxins. One idea to get more: Choose it for your main beverage at and between meals. If you’re not a fan of plain water, try a spritz of lemon or lime to jazz it up.
9. Have More Green Tea
Even though I know green tea has a bevy of health benefits—from boosting immunity to fighting cavities—I don’t drink it very often. One idea to get more: Try swapping one of your daily cups of coffee for a cup of green tea instead
10. Have More Whole Grains
Eating more whole grains could lengthen your life by reducing your risk of cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, suggests a 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine study. I tend to get in a grain rut—I choose 100% whole-grain breads and tortillas, of course, so technically I’m getting enough whole grains in my diet—but I don’t frequently cook other whole grains. One idea to get more: Try eating one new-to-you grain, such as quinoa or wild rice, each week.
"Trust whatever He has for you. It will be better than anything you can plan for yourself. "
Does anyone have some experience?
Excuse: “Vegetables Taste So ‘Blah’ When I Make Them”
Solution: The major mistakes people make when preparing vegetables are overcooking and underseasoning. Whether you steam, sauté, or grill, cut back a little on your usual cooking time (veggies should still have some crispness when you remove them from the heat). Then toss them in what chefs call a finishing sauce and season.
For a quick sauce, try this vinaigrette: Whisk equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a half teaspoon each of minced garlic and mustard. Top with a sprinkle of toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, or chives.
Excuse: “I Have No Time to Cook”
Solution: Pick up a healthy main course (think rotisserie chicken or grilled salmon) and add quick sides such as five-minute whole-wheat couscous and frozen vegetables at home. Steer clear of ready-made casseroles, pasta dishes, and mayo-based salads, which tend to pack in hidden calories.
Want a lighter meal? Try a whole-grain roll and a broth-based soup from the deli counter (it’s lower in sodium than canned soup because it doesn’t need salt as a preservative), then toss in extra veggies or canned beans at home.
Excuse: “I Keep Candy and Chips Around for My Kids and Can’t Help Eating Them”
Solution: Your kids should be eating the same healthy foods you are, and it’s less tempting for everyone if you don’t make junk food readily available. Incorporate slow, subtle changes such as choosing graham crackers over cookies, baked chips over regular, or chocolate milk over soda, or occasionally go out for real treats together such as a shared piece of cake at a restaurant or a bag of M&M’s at the movies. Portion-controlled goodies like 100-calorie packs of cookies or fun-size candy bars may work too—but only if you can stop at one.
Excuse: “I Love Salty Foods”
Solution: Don’t stress about the sprinkle of salt you put on your baked potato or on a bowl of air-popped popcorn. Just try to avoid the mountain of salt hidden in processed and restaurant food: It makes up nearly 80 percent of the 3,000-plus milligrams (mg) of sodium the average woman eats every day; the maximum healthy limit is 2,300 mg daily. Excess sodium can raise your risk of heartburn, high blood pressure, and even stroke. Two tablespoons of salad dressing, for example, may have as much sodium (up to 505 mg) as 3 ounces of potato chips. When you’re shopping for packaged foods, compare labels to find the brand lowest in sodium.
Excuse: “Every Time I Buy Fresh Produce, It Goes Bad Too Quickly”
Solution: In general, fresh fruit and vegetables only keep about seven days, so first make sure you’re buying the right amount. Then store them correctly: Keep produce on the second or third shelf in your fridge in the thin plastic bags you find in the produce section. These are designed to release the moisture and gases that fruit and vegetables naturally emit and that accelerate decay. Since the type of gas fruit releases can spoil veggies, store them away from each other. If something does start to turn, remove it pronto or fungal spores will spread to the rest of the produce. And remember that some produce, such as mangoes, tomatoes, and bananas, last longer unrefrigerated.
Excuse: “I Can’t Survive Without Something Sweet”
Solution: Have an ounce of dark chocolate, which has just 150 calories, instead of your typical treat. An added benefit: Several studies have found that the flavonoids in dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and improve circulation, two factors that may protect against heart disease. Dark chocolate also offers about twice as many antioxidants as milk varieties and just an ounce boasts more of these disease-fighting compounds than one and a half cups of blueberries (one of the most antioxidant-rich foods), according to a USDA analysis. Look for a bar made with at least 60 percent cacao—the higher the percentage, the less added sugar it contains.
Excuse: “I’m a Total Carb Junkie”
Solution: As the brain’s main source of fuel, carbohydrates are a must. But the refined carbs you’re probably having (like bread and sweets) aren’t very satisfying, so they’re easy to overeat. Plus they trigger a release of insulin that can quickly drop blood sugar and make you feel hungry and tired.
What to do? Add protein to each meal and snack. Because it’s digested slowly, protein will keep you fuller longer than refined carbs, which should help you eat less overall. Good protein sources: lean beef, poultry, cottage cheese, eggs, soy nuts, beans, and canned salmon or light tuna.
Excuse: “I Know It’s Good for Me, But I Don’t Like Fish”
Solution: Not all kinds of seafood have a strong flavor or smell. With just 150 calories, a baked four-ounce piece of fish supplies more protein than a burger and more potassium than a banana. And fish is one of the few sources of omega-3 fatty acids that help protect your heart and your memory. Tilapia, cod, flounder, and sea bass meld well with other flavors, so if you like what they’re seasoned with, chances are you’ll like these varieties.
One-pan prep to try: Brush fish with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and bake alongside fresh sprigs of herbs like rosemary and parsley, and boiled red potatoes. Also consider incorporating fish as part of a dish rather than making it the main course. For instance, substitute flounder for chicken in a chowder or toss tuna onto a big green salad.
Excuse: “I’m Too Time-Crunched to Pack a Healthy Lunch”
Solution: Brown-bagging is a smart healthy eating strategy because it helps prevent spontaneous splurges and keeps your calories and fat in check. If you truly can’t find time to do it daily, try doing it weekly—just supersize your lunch bag. Throw in a box of fiber crackers, a few cartons of lowfat yogurt, individual packets of peanut butter, several 1-ounce portions of reduced-fat string cheese, one vacuum pack of tuna, one bag each of baby carrots and snap peas, apples and bananas, a small bag of almonds or walnuts, and several packages of low-sodium instant soup. Or try these quick and healthy lunch recipes—they take less than 10 minutes to whip up!
Excuse: “High-Fiber Foods Upset my Stomach”
Solution: It’s essential to make the effort to eat more fiber since it may reduce cholesterol levels—and help keep you lean because high-fiber foods are low-cal and filling. Your body should adapt to extra fiber within two to three weeks. You also probably won’t get any symptoms if you up your intake in 5-gram increments—that’s about the amount in two slices of whole-grain bread, 1 1/2 cups of strawberries, or 3/4 cup of most high-fiber cereals—to work your way up to the recommended 25 grams daily. Drinking plenty of water to keep things moving through your digestive system will also help you avoid discomfort.
Thanks :) I will try to post boys more, I think girls won’t mind ;)