A healthy mind and body are what most of us want, but do we make it our top priority to achieve them? It should be everybody’s priority, but it’s not.

Regardless of how good or otherwise our education about healthy eating was as children, when we become adults, our diet and eating habits often change for the worse. Fast food outlets, drive-throughs, and no time left in our day make it more difficult to follow a healthy diet.

As unhealthy foods continue to flourish, so too do chronic ‘lifestyle’ diseases. To prevent disease and to live a long and healthy life, you need to develop better health habits.

If you want a healthy lifestyle to prevent disease, maintain your ideal weight, or lose some excess weight, there are essential dietary tips you need to follow which are backed up by research. Here are just a few:

Develop Improved Eating Habits

To be more successful in improving your eating habits, take gradual steps instead of drastically changing your diet. If you don’t it will only lead to cheating or quitting. Start by slowly incorporating more fresh ingredients, such as colorful fruits and vegetables into your meals every day because they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

They also promote gut health, which is vitally important. Be committed and consistent in adding nutrient-rich foods to your meals.

It’s essential to improve your eating habits if you already have any health-related issues, such as kidney and heart disease, that can worsen from unhealthy eating.

Practice Moderation

Eating is necessary, but you must eat intelligently. Healthy nutrition means a balanced diet and being a moderate eater. You cannot achieve a balanced diet if you eat and drink excessively. If you are eating more than your body needs, you are doing damage to your health.

Consume a balanced nutritious diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fat, fiber, minerals, protein, and vitamins. If you are adhering to healthy lifestyle principles, occasional indulgences are fine. If you love consuming salty, sweet, or other unhealthy meals, snacks, or drinks, consume small portions only, and only sometimes! Too much of anything is harmful to your health and well-being.

Watch Your Portion Sizes – Control is Key

You can manage your diet and weight better if you are mindful of the amount of food you consume. If you want to lose excess weight and you’re dining at home, use smaller plates, so you have small servings only.

If you are dining out, choose a starter or entrée on a small plate as your main, or order small-sized main courses. If you are served up a huge meal, be mindful and don’t eat it all.

Keep Track of What You Consume

Jot down in a food diary what you consume daily. It can help you determine what you need to eat more or less of in regard to nutritional content. You can also get help from a dietician or nutritionist for a personalized diet plan. They will advise what you should eat more or less of, and this is especially important if you have an existing health condition.

Practice Mindful Eating

Healthy nutrition is not only about what you should eat, but how you prepare and how you eat. Think of your food as essential nourishment for your body. Instead of frying foods, it’s healthier to bake, broil, or grill. Be sensitive to your body’s signals. Are you hungry or just thirsty? Also, watch for your satiety cues.

While dining, enjoy chewing and savoring your food slowly. Put down your fork and knife between bites. Don’t pre-load your fork while you are chewing, ready to thrust more food in your mouth. Don’t eat while watching tv or using your mobile phone because you are likely to overeat. You can’t be mindful of what and how you are eating in these situations.

Avoid Irregular Mealtimes

Don’t skip having a nutritious breakfast and set regular mealtimes daily to maintain your energy, boost your metabolism, and avoid unhealthy snacking. Avoid eating or drinking late at night. Eat more at lunchtime rather than at dinnertime, so that you give your body time to digest everything better before you go to sleep.

Timing your meals and snacks right, such as 45 minutes after exercising, can reduce fat gain. Also, you can try intermittent fasting to improve your health and allow your body to process any food eaten.

Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated daily helps flush toxins and waste products from your body. Dehydration causes headaches, low energy, and tiredness. So, drink plenty of water. Stay away from energy drinks, soda, fruit juice, instant coffee, sweetened milk, and iced tea.

Improving your health and fitness can be achieved if you have the desire to follow the steps outlined above. Nourishing your body through healthy nutrition is the main ingredient for better health and the one you should have the most control over.