Small Changes Equate To Big Results - Rethinking The Beginner's Diet!

Eating healthy doesn't have to require a complete overhaul. Here are some examples to get started. Each face off shows a typical food you may already be eating and a better alternative that's easy to make... Try them out!

Article Summary:
  • Try some protein powder in your coffee instead of cream.
  • Prevent midday crash by avoiding carbohydrate overload at lunch.
  • Carbs at night won't make you fat if you're under you daily calorie limit.
  • Perhaps you've never paid much attention to your diet - either you didn't have to, due to the fact that you always were able to maintain your weight - or you just simply enjoyed eating as you did and didn't want to change that.

    Now however, the weight might be creeping on, you may be facing some serious health consequences, or you've just decided that it's time to start taking action and improving your overall health.

    Now The Weight Is Creeping Up On You.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Now The Weight Is Creeping Up On You.

    This new health kick should start with dietary changes as these are going to have the single biggest impact over the long term. Eating healthy effects everything from your body weight to your disease risk to how you feel on a daily basis. Not enough can be said for improving your eating habits, making it something that everyone should be constantly aiming to do.

    Unfortunately though, many beginners have a tendency to suffer from 'information overload' - that is they start reading about all the things they should be doing and either get overwhelmed or confused.

    It can make for quite a stressful situation because changing your eating habits is always hard enough without this additional noise added in. When you're confused, chances are you're just going to throw in the towel and resume the standard fare you enjoyed for so long because it's comfortable and easy.

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    Now's the time to kick yourself out of that comfort zone. Eating healthy doesn't have to require a complete overhaul to your program. By making a few small changes to every meal, you take one large step in the right direction.

    As time goes on, small change by small change, you'll eventually wind up with a dramatically improved diet - a diet that's going to be ideal for optimal health, bodyweight maintenance, and is able to provide you with energy levels that never seem to dwindle.

    Here are some examples to get you started. Each face off shows you a typical food you may already be eating and a much better alternative that's easy to make and boosts your nutrition significantly.


    Breakfast Face-Off


    The Changes:

      While the first breakfast is rather low fat and does cover three different food groups, it's lacking in protein, healthy fats, and the breakfast cereal doesn't provide a great deal of fiber.

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      By opting for oatmeal instead, you'll boost the dietary fiber and iron content, as well as prevent a mid-morning energy slump. Replacing the jam with peanut butter boosts your healthy fat content, and adding the half a scoop of vanilla protein powder to your coffee to add flavor without the cream increases the protein further and decreases the fat content.


    Mid-Morning Snack Face-Off


    The Changes:

      Donuts are always going to be a bad option, but for those of you who are choosing a cereal bar thinking this is the healthier alternative, you may want to think again. These are going to be very low in protein and composed mostly of refined carbohydrates.

    Donuts Are Always Going To Be A Bad Option.
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    Donuts Are Always Going To Be A Bad Option.

      A better choice would be a lower calorie protein or snack bar that offers at least 5 grams of protein per serving to help support already healthy blood sugar levels.

      Replacing the dip with some sliced low fat cheese will boost the calcium content while adding in some protein. Finally, while coffee is going to help with hydration, water does a much better job. Dress it up with a slice of lemon, lime or orange for added flavor if necessary. Every beginner seems to struggle with the water issue, so this is one simple way to overcome that.


    Lunch


    The Changes:

      The last thing you want to do at your mid-day meal is suffer from carbohydrate overload because this is going to make your carbohydrate levels crash faster than your favorite gravity ride at the fair. Without enough protein, you may fall asleep at your desk.

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      To prevent this, swap the bagel (a highly refined and concentrated source of carbohydrates) with two slices of whole grain bread and tuna. The tuna will be a good low-fat protein source to power you through the afternoon and provide the amino acids necessary to get you ready for your workout.

      Pair this with some almonds for healthy fats and increased satiety and an apple to get additional fiber, antioxidants and give your lunch a sweet taste so you aren't as likely to reach for that candy bar in a few hours.

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      While the yogurt is a relatively healthy option in the first meal, since you do want to pay attention to total calorie balance since that is what determines whether you maintain your weight, it's omitted from the lunch meal.


    Mid-Afternoon Snack


    The Changes:

      While the before snack did contain a good mix of healthy carbs, the after snack takes it one step further. Making sure the yogurt you eat is the low sugar variety will help keep your daily sugar content under control as some of the brands out there do tend to get quite high in terms of added sugar.

      Next, pretzels are a good choice, but by making this trail mix with pretzels instead, you benefit from the healthy fats from the nuts and increased nutrient content. Just watch how much dried fruit you add in as it is calorie dense and will add up quickly.

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      Finally, swapping the Diet Coke with water if you can is a healthier choice, but the odd diet and Coke here or there if it helps you stick with your diet isn't going to be the absolute end of the world.


    Dinner


    The Changes:

      At this point in the day, you're likely not going to need as many carbohydrates so it's smarter to focus on protein and fat rich foods, helping to moderate hunger levels so you don't end up overeating in the late night period.

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      If you wanted you could completely eliminate the carbs from your dinner meal if you were aiming for fat loss; if not, then include a small serving in this meal (1-2 food guide servings).

      The other change made to this meal was the addition of olive oil salad dressing rather than low fat dressing. It's important to get enough healthy fats for the day and this is definitely going to help out in that regard.


    Before Bed Snack


    The Changes:

      Right before you go to bed you want to primarily be focusing on protein and fat rich foods in order to keep from waking up hungry.

      Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates eaten before bed will not automatically turn to body fat provided your total daily calorie intake is still in check (if you over eat, then any food you eat has the potential to turn to body fat). It's more a factor of carbohydrates not really helping you accomplish your primary objectives during this time period, and that is why you want to avoid them at this time.

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      Light popcorn is lower fat, lower calorie, and contains some fiber, but it doesn't offer much in the way of healthy fat or protein, and that's what we're going for here.


    Conclusion

    So, have a good look over your diet. How many simple changes do you see that you could make? Always keep in mind that every little change you make is a step forward. If you try and completely overhaul your entire diet, chances are it will be too much too handle, so don't expect this from yourself. Making two or three changes per week is doable and will get you to your long term goals.