TOVI's Science Communicator, Ashley Miller-Dykeman, M.A.
Five Healthy Eating Wins You Can Do Today
Eating healthier can seem complicated. There are tons of different diets and fads people swear by, and it can leave you feeling totally lost. In reality, there are some simple changes you can make to improve your eating habits. No diets or fads, just easy wins that will help you manage how much you’re eating and eat more nutrient-rich foods.
1. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help displace processed or unhealthy foods from your diet, and give you a boost of nutrients. In fact, people that eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
To get more in your diet, try to fill more of your plate with vegetables (aim for half a plate), or prep fruit and veggies in advance, so you have them ready for easy snacking.
2. Use smaller plates.
Portion sizes have gone up over the years, and eating too much is a common cause of issues like weight gain. When putting meals together, try serving them on smaller plates. It will help you self-monitor and avoid overeating.
TOVI Tip: When you’re eating at a restaurant where the plate size is out of your control, be mindful of how full you feel so you can stop eating before you start feeling too full. Another great option is to share a meal with another person. Try to adjust your expectations of serving sizes to better reflect the needs of your body.
3. Go for color.
Bright, colorful foods are not just visually appealing. Colorful fruits and vegetables generally indicate the presence of phytochemicals, naturally occurring compounds in plants that are believed to positively influence health and lower disease risk.
While much is still unknown about phytochemicals, we do know that eating a variety of fruits and vegetables has benefits in disease prevention. Let colors guide you to a variety of veggies!
4. Swap white for whole grain.
A straightforward swap you can make is shifting from highly processed flour and bread to whole grain options. Swapping to whole grain increases your intake of fiber as well as important vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains also tend to have a lower glycemic index (which is a measure of how a food affects blood sugar levels), which is important for appetite and blood sugar regulation. Most grocery stores carry whole-grain versions of items like bread, crackers, rice, and pasta.
5. Remove temptation.
Let’s be honest, no one can resist the temptation of a box of their favorite treats at the end of a long day. Remember: out of sight, out of mind! Don’t keep them in the house, or hide them in a place where you don’t look often. Then make sure you have a healthy alternative ready to help you satisfy your cravings (like fruit).
With a few simple tweaks, you can start improving your diet. Remember, every adjustment you make counts. While swapping to whole grain pasta might not seem like a huge change, a bunch of little changes can really add up. To learn more about healthy eating and put what you learn into practice, download the TOVI app today. It's free!
Reviewed by: Dr. Tara Coletta, PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry