Eating nutritious food is one of the best ways you can improve your overall health. Getting the right nutrients plays an essential role in keeping the body working properly. A healthy diet consists of the right amount of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats. Making healthy food choices sounds great in theory, but eating the same foods, such as grilled chicken, salads and fruit each day can get a little boring. However, there are several fun and easy things you can do to make your food healthier.
Make It A Family Project
Making food healthier can be a fun way for families to spend time together. Consider planting a garden together, explore local farmers markets or make meals together. Have a healthy cooking contest with family members. Regardless of what activity you choose to do, the point is to turn eating healthy food into a fun family project.
Switch It Up
Simple switches in recipes can make favorite dishes healthier without compromising on taste. By switching certain ingredients, you can reduce salt, sugar and fat. For instance, use egg whites instead of whole eggs for recipes. Swap applesauce for butter when baking and use cooking spray instead of shortening when frying (see: Healthy Cooking Oils To Use In The Kitchen).
Make Healthy Snack Kabobs
Sometimes all it takes is a little different presentation to make healthy food more appealing. Put a twist on serving fresh vegetables and fruits by making healthy snack kabobs. Stack fruits, such as grapes, melon, cherry tomatoes and pineapple. Alternate chucks of cheese with bite size apple pieces for a fruit and cheese kabob.
Choose The Whole-Grain Options
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), swapping a few servings of white foods for whole-grain options is an easy way to eat healthier and get the recommended servings of whole grains in your diet. For example, try wheat bread instead of white when eating a sandwich. Swap white rice for brown or trade regular pasta for whole wheat.
Top It Off
A little sprinkle here and there can add up to a healthier diet. By adding a dash of healthy topping to foods, you can boost nutrients and flavor. For instance, sprinkle a tablespoon of nuts or seeds, such as flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds on your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt. Try topping a salad with edamame, which is a great source of protein and is low in fat. Even adding a little bit of a healthy topping can add vitamins, protein and healthy fats to your meal.
Making your own fresh juices or smoothies can be a great way to incorporate a healthier diet into your day. Kids especially may like to make different combinations of juices using fresh fruits and vegetables. Since children may often be less than enthusiastic about eating their vegetables, making fresh juices and smoothies is a good option. To learn more ways to help your children enjoy vegetables, check out 10 Fun Tips For Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables.
Add Exotic Fruits To Dishes
Common fruits, such as oranges, grapes and strawberries are good for you, but if you want something different add exotic fruit to dishes, such as salads, stir-fry or pancakes. Exotic fruits, such as lychee, passion fruit, mango and kumquat can add a new, healthy twist to your regular meals.
Sneak In Fiber
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet for several reasons. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), fiber helps keep the digestive system working well, may lower heart disease risk and can help lower cholesterol. Sneaking a little extra fiber into foods to make them healthier is simple. For instance, mix a teaspoon of oat bran into a smoothie or add a half cup of beans to a salad or soup.
Don’t Fry Your Fried Foods
One way to make foods healthier and still eat your favorite fried foods is to prepare them without the frying. Unfried food can still taste like the fried version of dishes, such as french fries and fried chicken, but it is much better for you. For example, instead of using oil and a frying pan, coat chicken in egg whites and dip in breadcrumbs and bake (see: 10 Healthy Cooking Methods For Better Nutrition).
Cut Down The Portions
Eating healthy does not mean you have to sacrifice all the foods you love. If you want a simple way to make your food healthier, you can start by cutting down the portion sizes. Want a double-cheeseburger, just have a regular cheeseburger instead. It would be even healthier if you just ate a plain hamburger, but one step at a time, right?
Healthy eating does not have to become routine or boring. Even if you stick to the basics, such as eating fresh fruits, veggies, whole-grains and lean protein, you can add a few twists to keep things interesting. Get creative, try healthier recipes of your favorites and make eating healthy fun. Keep in mind, even simple changes can make food healthier.