How to Make Better Food Choices: 8 Tips for a Healthier Life

When it comes to our diet we often struggle to stick to it, especially with our busy work schedules bundled together with our personal lives. Finding the time to make the right food choices can be challenging and we often opt for a takeaway meal that probably isn’t the healthiest choice.

However, there is a way that you can cut down on stressful food decisions and make healthy eating easier. Reducing the complexity of your meals, understanding basic nutrition and limiting the number of choices you have to make are three steps you can take to healthier food choices. Programs like the newest HelloFresh meal decision detox teach people how to simplify the decision making process when it comes to deciding what meals to prepare.

Utilising a meal-kit service is incredibly helpful in reducing the number of decisions you need to make and providing you with healthy food. However, knowing what’s good for your body is also important for those times when you aren’t at home. Here are a few tips to help you make better food choices and reduce the daily dietary decisions you have to make.

Find out what you need

Everyone is different and that means that everyone needs different foods and different amounts of food at different times in order to perform at their best; be it in work, sport or life in general. Consult your GP and look at the Australian Dietary Guidelines to give yourself a better understanding of the basic food requirements for a healthy diet. Understanding the main foods that you need not only makes it easier to make healthy decisions but it makes it easier to make decisions in general as you have already narrowed your scope.

Develop your cooking skills

Developing your cooking skills is going to help you to make healthier meals and enable you to try out new recipes. Having the skills to cook these delicious meals will not only reduce the decisions you need to make but also make you want to continue to cook these healthy meals.  Remember; cooking is fun, so make it enjoyable for yourself and savour the creative experience.

Reduce the size of your plate

This point goes hand in hand with eating healthier food. One of the biggest mistakes people make is simply eating too much food that ends up being stored as fat in their bodies because there is no immediate need for it. By more whole foods you are able to reduce the portions on your plate and feel just as full. Healthier foods are higher in the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs meaning that you will feel satisfied despite eating a smaller serving.

Eat more vegetables

Selecting vegetables to be a core part of your meal immediately reduces the number of decisions that you need to make when it comes to meal time. People often look to find ways to fill their plate and with vegetables you have the perfect solution.

Look to the darker vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli to boost your meal. Vegetables should take up at least one third of your plate and this will help you to feel more satisfied after eating. This all helps reduce the decisions you are required to make in planning your meals.

Eat more fruit

Fruit is another food group that should form a major part of your diet. Fruit can often be neglected outside of breakfast and desserts, but it’s actually quite nutrient rich and easy to carry around with you. Substitute your usual snacks such as biscuits and muesli bars for fruits. Fruits are really easy to take with you to work and many offices will have a fruit bowl in the kitchen. If fruit isn’t a big enough snack to keep you going, look to nuts or wholegrain toast to satisfy your cravings.

Drink lots of water

Water is the juice of life and is essential not only for basic functioning but for your general health and well-being. However, many people will substitute a bottle of water for something like a fizzy soft drink or bottle of sweetened juice. Whilst these do have water in them they also have unnecessary calories that add no nutritional value. Replacing the usual soft drinks and coffee with water is one of the best things you can do for your ongoing health.

Exercise more

Physical activity is an essential part of life. Not only does it keep you fit and strong but it also makes you feel good (through the release of endorphins) and helps to rid your body of toxins through your sweat.

Along with your adjusted healthy eating habits, fitting in 3 hours of exercise a week will help ensure that you stay lean and flexible. Exercising doesn’t have to be boring if you join a social sports team or go for a run, bike ride or swim with friends to make it a more enjoyable experience. Exercising in a more enjoyable environment will not only motivate you to do it more often but will enable you to get more out of it.

Reduce discretionary foods

Discretionary foods are those that are high in fats, sugars and salts. These are the foods that add very limited nutritional value and will ultimately increase the likelihood of you gaining weight. Whilst it is understandable to want to indulge in these types of foods from time to time, ensuring that they are not a regular feature in your diet will do wonders for your health and well-being.

Limiting your exposure to these types of foods (i.e. not purchasing them during your weekly shop) will help you to consume less and also eliminates the temptation of having them around the house. Luckily, it’s becoming easier to make healthy choices thanks to Sydney’s growing health food scene.

Applying these tips to your everyday life will help you to make better food choices and ultimately achieve your health goals. Understanding what you need to eat and what is in your food is important in managing a balanced diet. Substituting out foods that are high in fats, sugars and salts is simple to understand but can be hard to put into practise.

The key to the success of any diet is consistency, so you need to make sure that you are sticking to the behavioural changes you are making. While the changes may take some getting used to, eventually they will become so engrained in your lifestyle that you will be making healthier food choices without even thinking about it.

If you put the above tips into practise and stick with them you’ll quickly realise how much more energy you have and you’ll likely notice improvements in your mood. A food journal or diary is a great way to help you keep track of your progress and record your success.