Six Simple Tips for a More Healthful Diet

By Victor Cotton

Devising a plan for eating healthfully and keeping on that path is not a task easily accomplished. So instead of planning an entire diet, try making small, healthful switches in your existing one. I’ve searched the internet for diet advice, and have compiled some of the reoccurring ideas here in a single post for your convenience.

1. Eat whole grains

The next time you find yourself perusing the isles of the grocery store, buy whole-wheat bread, not white bread. Eating whole grains that come from whole-wheat bread provides several benefits. Firstly, whole grains are full of “good carbs,” which are digested more slowly than the “bad carbs” contained in white bread. This slow digestion of whole wheat bread gives you a steady, long lasting supply of energy, as opposed to white bread, whose quick digestion leads to an excess of energy and subsequent fat buildup. Whole grains benefit in the long run as well.  Experiments have indicated that consistent consumption of whole grains can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. A full list of whole grain foods can be found here

2. Switch soda with water

College students drink a very large amount of soda. In fact, soda is easily the most popular drink at McLanahan’s Student Store, according to Grace Mehalick, the manager. Despite its popularity, soda is obviously an unhealthful drink. By switching it with water, you can eliminate all of the unnecessary sodium, sugar, and empty calories, while still maintaining the hydrating benefit.

3. Drink skim milk

Milk is an excellent source of calcium and protein. However, a single cup of whole milk contains five grams of saturated fat—that’s almost twenty-five percent of the recommended daily intake. Whole milk also contains a large amount of cholesterol. High fat and high cholesterol diets are known to lead to heart disease, let alone the negative impacts on physique.  Skim milk, on the other hand, has little to no fat or cholesterol content and still maintains the protein, calcium, and vitamin content of whole milk. In fact, the USDA recommends consuming solely skim milk. Thus, simply switching your milk type can positively impact your diet.

4. Vary protein intake

Protein is essential to any diet, especially for those of you out there trying to bulk up. However, eating one type of protein will not work. Different proteins sources hold different benefits, so focus on varying the types of protein consumed each day. This includes chicken, pork, beef, fish, eggs, milk, and others. In an effort to help incorporate all of these, try making sandwiches with different types of meat, or eating a different type of meat each day of the week. Sandwich meats can be purchased at McLanahan’s and tuna can be bought in cans, both for a reasonable price.

5. Chew your food

Many guys (including myself) eat too quickly, especially when they are hungry. This may not seem harmful, but recent scientific literature indicates that it may cause overeating. Hendrik Jan Smit and his team have recently proven that chewing each mouthful a greater number of times reduces food intake. According to these investigators, extra chewing lowers the rate at which food is consumed. This allows satiety hormone levels to rise at an earlier stage in the meal, which makes the subject stop eating. Obviously, by stopping earlier in the meal reduces consumption. The bottom line is that overeating can be combated with proper chewing. Another, more well known benefit of thorough chewing is that it ensures proper digestion. The mechanical action of your teeth mashing the food combined with the enzymatic activity of your saliva aids the body in extracting every nutrient it needs from the food that you eat. Combine correct portions with good digestion and you have a healthful diet. So chew your food.

6. Mix fruit and vegetables with other foods

Fruits and vegetables are an essential component of a healthful diet, but many guys don’t eat enough of them. Even if you hate vegetables, you need to find ways to eat them. For example, the next time you make a sandwich (with your whole-wheat bread of course), add some lettuce and tomato. The next time you watch a football game, make some salsa and have chips with it. Not only does salsa taste great, but it is full of fruit and vegetables and making it at home is cheap. If you don’t like eating fruit and vegetables alone, mix them with something that you do like eating. It is a great way to consume the nutrients that you need.

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