Want to eat healthier? There are some very simple ways to eat healthier every day without much effort.

Diets can be difficult to navigate. Since no two people are the same, a healthy diet that satisfies one person won’t necessarily satisfy another. Vegetarians might be perfectly happy without chicken or steak, while some people might shudder at the notion of never indulging in the occasional filet mignon.

How to Eat a Healthier Diet

While the most effective diets tend to be those that emphasize nutrition while still allowing individuals to indulge in some of their favorite dishes in moderation, the following are three ways that everyone can eat healthier every day.

Eat Lots of Whole-Grain Carbohydrates

Fad diets tend to paint carbs as the enemy, but various studies have shown just how integral carbohydrates, particularly whole-grain varieties, are to a healthy diet. One such study published in 2018 in the medical journal The Lancet Public Health found that diets that got between 50 and 55 percent of their calories from plant-based carbohydrates like whole grains were associated with a lower risk of mortality than low-carb diets that favored animal-derived protein sources.

Kyra Oliver, author of “8 Ways of Being: How to Motivate Yourself to Live Happy and Free Every Day”, Motivational Speaker, and Wellness Lifestyle Coach, said, “Eating a plant-based diet is beneficial in so many ways. Plants provide us with far more nutrition, and believe it or not, you can actually get protein from many plants. Keep in mind that plant-based doesn’t mean no meat at all. But, the health benefits of smaller portions of meat are amazing. Keep in mind, if you choose to eat meat make sure that it is from a quality source.”

When buying carbs at the grocery store, shoppers can opt for whole-grain varieties, including whole-grain pastas, brown rice and cereals. That won’t require sacrificing flavor and makes for a simple way to eat healthier every day.

Make a Concerted Effort to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

The United Kingdom-based National Health Service, which is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world, recommends eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. That may sound like a lot, but it’s pretty easy to incorporate all those healthy fruits and veggies into a diet. For example, add a serving of antioxidant-rich blueberries to your cereal bowl each morning.

Fruits and vegetables are king when it comes to a healthy diet. Also reach for leafy vegetables such as spinach and add some broccoli, fresh bell peppers and other veggies. Your body will love you for it.

At dinner time, allow vegetables to take up the most real estate on your plate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that diets rich in fruits and veggies can help people control their weight and may even reduce their risk for certain diseases, including cancer.

Kick Added Sugars to the Curb

Avoiding added sugars is another way anyone, regardless of their food preferences, can eat healthier every day. Healthy foods such as fruit contain natural sugars, and these don’t pose a threat to overall health. However, added sugars, which the Harvard Medical School notes are found in many foods and can include honey, molasses and corn syrup, can increase a person’s risk for various conditions and diseases, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

According to Oliver, “A little more about sugar…you want to make sure that you’re not over consuming carbohydrates which is sugar. Honey, molasses, or any type of syrup is loaded with sugar. Have much smaller amounts as in a little drizzle. Make sure you use a local pure honey or pure molasses. Just be careful about the portions! Overdoing this can totally kill a healthy diet. One quick note: bread, pasta rice —all of those convert to sugar, so make sure to pay attention to those portions as well.”

Fruit contains fiber that slows the absorption of natural sugars. The body digests added sugars much more quickly, leading to an uptick in blood sugar levels that can ultimately contribute to diabetes. Added sugars can be found in a host of foods and beverages, including some that aren’t generally considered unhealthy, like bread, certain breakfast cereals and pasta sauces. When shopping, consumers should read nutrition labels and avoid products with excessive amounts of sugar.

Eating healthy does not require people to abandon their favorite foods. A few simple adjustments can be all it takes to improve the nutritional value of your diet.

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