It’s a new year and a fresh start. I’m sure many of you, like me, have a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. While I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle year-round, it’s at the beginning of the year that I feel the most motivated, especially because everyone around me is so enthusiastic about eat healthy too. To help fulfill healthy eating goals, I’ve partnered with Whole Foods Market® to share tips and ways to maintain a healthy diet.
Many people find maintaining a healthy lifestyle to be overwhelming. I find that the best way to continue a balanced diet is to start with small steps and gradually build-up. Here are some things I try to do in my everyday life:
Use Less Oil in Cooking
During the week, I try to eat at home as much as possible, so I can control what goes into the food I’m cooking, and I try to cook healthier by using less oil.
Steam-Frying: We eat a lot of sautéed and stir fried vegetables. Usually, this method of cooking starts with some oil. But years ago, I discovered that the oil isn’t necessary. You just need liquid. So I use water or broth instead and the result is the same. The vegetables are just as crisp and tasty as when I cook with oil. You can view a video demonstrating how to steam-fry on Whole Foods Market’s website. You’ll also find other videos demonstrating various cooking techniques without oil.
Applesauce and Greek Yogurt Substitutions in Baked Goods: Baked goods usually use a lot of oil. But just like with sautéing, you don’t always need all that oil. When I bake, I try to replace at least half (or more) of the oil with fat free Greek yogurt or applesauce. These healthier substitutes keep the baked goods moist and fluffy without the need for the unnecessary fat.
Add Nutrient Rich Foods To Meals
I try to prepare a lot of vegetables and other nutrient rich foods in the meals I’m making. I always start off eating those foods, which fill me up enough so that I’m not craving and reaching as much for meats and items that aren’t providing my body with as many nutrients.
Replace White Flour and Eat Whole Grains
I try to use whole wheat flour whenever possible in baked goods, such as muffins and breads.
Coming from an Asian background, rice is a staple for our meals. However, I rarely cook or buy white rice. Instead, we eat a lot of brown rice and other types of whole grains. I actually prefer whole grains because they have more flavor and texture. And of course, they are healthier. When grains are milled for refinement, the bran and germ of each kernel are separated and removed, and many vitamins and minerals are lost in this removal process.
Whole Foods Market offers a vast selection of whole grains, many of which are sold in bulk. I love this option because it lets you explore and try more varieties. Instead of being forced to wait until you finish off an entire pre-packaged bag, you can control the amount you buy of each grain and buy smaller amounts.
Limit processed and refined foods
Try to eat foods in their most wholesome form, without the additives, preservatives, artificial flavoring, etc. When foods are packaged and processed, nutrients are lost. I try to eat a lot of fresh and raw vegetables and fruits.
Reduce refined and added sugars
Many of the foods you eat, especially fruits, dairy and grains, already contain natural sugars. So, you should try to avoid adding additional unnecessary sugar to your diet. And if you are going to add something sweet, you should try to avoid refined sugars and stick with natural, unrefined sugars like raw honey.
Have you ever seen the honey display at Whole Foods Market®? It’s so enormous, I couldn’t even fit the whole thing into my camera frame.
Have Support and Seek Help
You don’t have to go about this alone. Talk to friends, visit food blogs and other websites for advice, recipes and tips. Whole Foods Market® has an entire section dedicated to healthy eating on their website, where you can find recipes, instructional videos, tips, guides, and much more.
And when you’re shopping at Whole Foods Market®, you can look for their “Health Starts Here” logo on prepared foods.
All items labeled with this logo follow their Four Pillars of Healthy Eating. Perhaps you’ve noticed the label or the phrases that accompany it while shopping? If you’ve wondered what the phrases mean, here’s a little more explanation.
Whole Foods Market advocates four pillars for healthy eating:
1. Focus On Whole Foods – This means trying to eat food in its most pure and natural form and avoiding artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives and processed foods.
2. Eat Plant-Strong™ – While it’s okay to eat meat and dairy, the majority of your diet should be plant-based foods, like fruits, legumes and beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. When you eat more plants, you fill your body with more healthy nutrients and leave less space for less nutritious foods.
3. Choose Healthy Fats – Your body needs fat, but you can choose what sorts of fats you give it. Try to get your fat from plant-based foods like nuts, seeds and avocados.
4. Consider Nutrient Density – You want to nourish your body with nutrients and the best way to do so is to not only choose foods high in nutrients, but also make sure you consume the full spectrum of nutrient rich foods so your body gets all the different vitamins and minerals it needs.
For more details on the Four Pillars, check out Whole Food Market’s explanation here.
This, of course, is not a complete list of all the tips to healthy eating. If you have advice or experiences you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them, so I can incorporate them into my life as well!
This is a lot of information and I hope you’ve found it helpful. Remember, you don’t need to do everything at once. Small steps, even baby steps, add up. I hope you’ll keep this guide for when you need a reference and also turn to Whole Foods Market® for other ideas, advice, recipes, guides, information and more. You can check out their Healthy Eating resources here.