When it comes to making decisions regarding your health, it can get tough to know where to start. There are so many options out there that are seemingly healthy but are bad for you. There are also so many easy options out there, such as fast food, when you are hungry and want something quick. Although maintaining a healthy diet may seem difficult at first, it gets easier with the right advice and support!

To help those seeking nutritional guidance on how to live a healthy lifestyle, we have decided to share 15 helpful diet tips for a healthy lifestyle that anybody can apply to their life.

Disclaimer: These health tips are meant as a general guide for those looking to improve their health. It is important for our bariatric patients to carefully follow the bariatric surgery guidelines to ensure optimal recovery and weight loss success.

Without further delay, let’s get started!

Plan and Prep Healthy Meals in Advance

1. Plan and Prep Healthy Meals in Advance

For many of us, life can get hectic, and some days don’t allow you the time to cook or prep each meal. A great solution to this problem is simply preparing your meals in advance and taking them on the go.

For example, you can prep and plan meals for Monday through Wednesday and Thursday through Saturday. This gives you the ability to eat much healthier meals consistently and portion size your meals so you do not overeat.

Build Shopping List Around Healthy Meals

2. Build a Shopping List Around Healthy Meals

When shopping for foods to prep your meals, making healthy selections is the key to making it pay off. Selections such as produce, lean meat, healthy fats, and whole grains help to ensure that your meals will be packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and much more.

Shop the Perimeter Where Healthy Foods Are

3. Shop the Perimeter Where Healthy Foods Are

Since you want to meal prep and build around healthy meals, it is important to know where healthy foods are. For the most part, the healthiest foods are located around the store’s perimeter. Produce, lean meat, fish, whole grains, nuts (such as almonds), and other healthy selections are great places to start.

Then, you can work your way through the islands that have additional healthy selections such as green tea, beans, etc. Many of the aisles throughout grocery stores are filled with ultra-processed and prepackaged foods loaded with sugars, sodium, and other unhealthy ingredients. You can create meals that support your well-being by staying mindful of your selections and emphasizing fresh instead of frozen foods.

Avoid Foods that POSE as Healthy

4. Avoid Foods that POSE as Healthy

Some food selections seem like they are healthy choices because of clever labeling and branding. However, you must learn to avoid such foods as they can be damaging to your health.

Some examples of seemingly healthy foods that aren’t that good for you are cereals, which may claim to support heart health, sugar-free snacks, diet soda, Lean Pockets, trail mix, and much more.

Many of these sorts of selections use ingredients that your body will now know what to do with or contain great amounts of sodium and sugar, and simple carbohydrates.

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5. Shop on a Full Stomach

When you are hungry, it can be tempting to buy a quick snack that isn’t healthy and buy more food than you need. By shopping on a full stomach, you allow yourself to select the foods you truly need and allow yourself more freedom to take your time and be sure you make wise selections.

Many grocery stores have unhealthy selections such as candy bars, chips, and soda located at the checkout, and the last thing that you want is to be so hungry that you grab those selections to settle your stomach.

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6. Drink the Correct Fluids and Keep Hydrated

When it comes to making great health choices, even the fluids you drink can help or hurt you. Some fluids to avoid are soda, alcohol, fruit drinks such as orange juice, creams, and syrups in your coffee, milkshakes, and the list can go on.

Some great selections to go with instead are a minimum of 8 cups of water and some herbal tea such as green tea, coffee, and other great options out there. Some fluids, such as syrups and creams for coffee, can be high in sugar, which is why avoiding or limiting them is often a wise decision. Coffee after bariatric surgery should be decaf and avoided unless in moderation.

7. Don’t Eat at Restaurants Often

While it can be enjoyable to take in a nice restaurant’s atmosphere and ambiance, they can be costly regarding money and your health. Many restaurant dishes are prepared with ingredients and cooking techniques that are not healthy and could contribute to weight gain. A good alternative to eating out is to prep meals with the good selections made at your local grocery store.

Avoid Added Sugar and Salt in Your Meals

8. Avoid Adding Sugar and Salt in Your Meals

A primary reason for buying healthy selections is to prevent additives such as high sodium content and sugar. For that very reason, it is important to avoid adding these to the meals that you prep for yourself. Both sodium and sugar have negative effects on your health when you take in amounts above what is recommended for your daily caloric needs.

If you are eating a well-balanced diet that involves very low sodium, a pinch of salt here or there isn’t so bad, but moderation is key. Because sugar can naturally occur in foods such as fruits, it is also important to be careful about how much sugar you take in with those sorts of foods factored in.

Balance Your Meals (Macros) Properly

9. Balance Your Meals (Macros) Properly

When preparing meals, it is important to consider what you choose to put into your body and how you balance it out. Some focus on calorie intake, and then those focus on macronutrients in calorie intake. The winning selection is to go with macronutrients, which break down your caloric intake into three categories:

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat

For a balanced diet, consider incorporating protein-rich foods such as lean meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, and tofu. Opt for nutrient-packed carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, lentils, quinoa, vegetables, oats, and whole grains. Don’t forget about adding healthy fats found in avocado, olives, and fish! Remember to avoid saturated fats and trans fats, which can lead to heart disease and other health problems. By figuring out a good balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein (macros), you can better provide your body with the overall balance that it needs.

Eat the Right Carbohydrates

10. Eat the Right Carbohydrates

Where some may go wrong with nutrition, no-carb diets can deprive your body of valuable whole grains. Whole grains are, of course, a key factor in that sentence. It is wise to cut out simple carbohydrates such as white bread, tortillas, white rice, potatoes and replace them with whole-grain options such as yams, oats, and whole wheat.

The problem with simple carbohydrates like white bread is that they cause issues with your blood sugar, leading to health issues such as type 2 diabetes.

Use Low or No Calorie Additives for Flavor

11. Use Low or No Calorie Additives for Flavor

When it comes to adding some flavor to your food, it can be tempting to buy sauces and dressings. But many dressings and sauces contain high levels of sugar and sodium, alongside unhealthy fats and other additives that aren’t ideal for sustaining good health. Some great alternatives to add to your diet can be options such as:

  • Healthy oils
  • Vinegar
  • Avocado
  • Splash of citrus
  • Yogurt
  • Mustard

Support Good Digestive Health and Your Immune System with Probiotics

12. Support Good Digestive Health and Your Immune System with Probiotics

A great way to further ensure that you have good overall health is to add probiotics (live microorganisms that
reside in your gut and benefit your digestion and health). This can also aid in reducing depression and anxiety. Some great sources of probiotics are:

  • Yogurt – Perhaps the most popular choice, but it is important to be sure it is organic and from grass-fed goats or sheep.
  • Kefir – Similar to yogurt but higher in probiotics, this option can contain anywhere from 10 to 34 strains of probiotics to help aid in good health and digestion.
  • Kombucha –  This fermented black tea can serve as an excellent way to aid in digestive support, increased energy, and liver detoxification.

(For a larger list of sources of probiotics, click here)

Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids

13. Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A great essential to good health and happiness is to include omega-3 fatty acids. One great benefit of doing this is that it can reduce depression and leave you feeling more energized and confident. Some excellent sources of omega-3s are wild-caught salmon or sardines, flax seeds, or walnuts. It’s nice to include these things at least twice a week to support good health.

Spicy foods and Healthy Spices

14. Spicy foods and Healthy Spices

Utilizing spicy foods and healthy spices is a great way to boost your health and add flavor to your meals.

By eating hot peppers, you can provide your body with capsaicin, which has numerous health benefits include:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Congestion relief
  • Improved intestinal health

The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, it is good to introduce it into your diet and gradually build tolerance.

And then, there are healthy spices such as ginger (antioxidants and anti-inflammatory), turmeric (anti-inflammatory and carcinogenic), and cinnamon (which controls blood sugar).

Select Healthy Snack Options

15. Select Healthy Snack Options

Between meals, it can be great to fit in a nice quick snack now and then. Perhaps you are about to cook dinner, but you are already hungry and could use something to tide you over. Some may go for a bag of chips, some candy, or perhaps even a doughnut at times like this. Those are not healthy snacks to select as they contain sugar, sodium, and simple carbohydrates, which turn to sugar and provide little to no nutritional value.

Some great options to have as quick snacks can be fruits such as berries, apples, or pineapple. Then there are vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and celery that can make great finger foods to settle your stomach. Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts can also serve as excellent go-tos. There are even dark chocolate-covered almonds if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The benefit of eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts as snacks is that you provide your body with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and more.