By now, the word “diet” has garnered a bit of bad reputation. We tend to think of diets as 10-day fasts or wacky fads that work great in the moment, but make you gain all the weight back once you stray from their strict rules. That’s one kind of diet, sure. But talking about diets in the larger sense reveals that they’re not meant to be simply short-term plans to help you fit back into your bikini.
Really, a “diet” should be something you practice during every meal of every day. Of course, that’s way easier said than done. But we have the benefit of living in 2014, a time when we have a pretty good idea of what our bodies benefit the most from and what they could certainly do without. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of the four best healthy diet foods and how to stick with them. Consider this your first lesson in online nutrition counseling.
1. Fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
In 2010 alone, Americans ate three billion pizzas and drank 15 billion gallons of soda. Though those make you feel great at the time, they have nothing on the long-term benefits of fruits and veggies. You tend to lose some of the nutritional value of these foods when you cook them, though, so consider getting to know (and even love) the fresh tastes, the crisp textures and the pure power of fresh fruits and veggies.
2. Non-fatty proteins.
One of the most essential foods for healthy diets, good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, legumes and even raw nuts like almonds and walnuts. You need protein to build stronger muscles, but it’s important to find the right kinds of protein. Most people love a good, juicy cheeseburger, but the fat found in those is simply no good for your heart and blood pressure. As any online nutrition counseling worker will tell you, the leaner the meat, the healthier it is.
3. Whole, not refined, grains.
Here’s how to remember this one: wheat bread over white. Brown rice over white. Bran flakes over sugary, marshmallow-infused cereals. While processed grains might taste better, you lose quite a bit of the nutritional value in order to get those yummy flavors. Wellsource.info reports one study where folks who ate a high-fiber diet decreased their risk of early death by 22%. Chances are, once you make the switch to whole grains, you’ll come to appreciate their complex, nutty taste, and even prefer it over the blandness of white flour or rice.
4. Natural, not added, sugars.
This is the hot health tip of today, according to online nutritionists everywhere. Sugar isn’t bad for your body on its own, but excessive amounts can wreak plenty of havoc. Candy bars are a big no-no, but apples and oranges are fine. Brightly colored cereals might be visually appealing, but the darker, whole-grain options that are sweetened with dried fruits are much, much healthier.
Online nutrition counseling can help you learn the best foods to eat in order to maintain a healthy weight naturally, so you can stop the trendy “diets” in hopes of shedding inches from your waist. All it takes is a few extra seconds to read the labels of your food. Or better yet, buy fresh ingredients that don’t come with labels at all. Welcome to your new healthy life diet.