Getting personal nutrition on track can be overwhelming. With mixed message about what to eat and what to avoid, it can be difficult to know where to start when in comes to eating healthy.

Lately, fad diets have been stressing that in order to be healthier, we need to cut out any and all harmful foods: sugar, fat, salt, etc. Of course, this is always tough, since our favorite foods also tend to be the sweetest, fattest, or saltiest.

There is certainly validity in reducing those foods that aren’t so great for us. But cutting out our favorite foods or completely rewriting our diet can also make eating feel joyless and restrictive. Ironically, we also likely to crave those foods even more

One school of thought advocates that instead of subtracting unhealthy foods, we should concentrate on all the healthy foods we can add. Not only do we get the nutritional benefits of all the new healthy foods we’re trying, we don’t feel like we are deprived of our favorite treats.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas…

Add…

…extra veggies and legumes to recipes

Eating nutritious foods becomes surprisingly easy when you realize you can toss them into so many different recipes. The next time you cook up some Bolognese or chili, consider adding as many extra veggies and beans as you can. Try spinach, carrots, lentils, and fresh tomatoes. Try it with sauces, soups, scrambled eggs, casseroles, stir fry, and pastas. Aim to make your dish as colorful as possible. Sky’s the limit!  

….a glass of water for every cup of coffee, tea, or soda

Nothing wrong with loving a little caffeine. But to keep yourself hydrated, remember to balance it out with a big glass of water. If you have a particular penchant for soda, resolve to drink one glass of water before you pop open a can. The fullness from the water will help you drink less soda. Need some flavor? Try adding lemons or mint to your water.  

…fruits or veggies to your snack routine  

The next time you’re craving some noshes between meals, try cutting the portion of your go-to snack in half and replacing it with a cup of carrots or a banana.

…healthy grains to bulk up a meal

If you’re a fan of soup, stews, or stir-fry, consider bulking up your meal by serving it over a steaming hot bowl of healthy grains. Try brown rice, quinoa, or bulgar wheat. Each of these offers their own nutritional benefits and you’ll be able to stretch out your meals to get more longevity out of them (leftovers for lunch!).

…a fresh green salad to each meal

Round out a meal by adding a healthy and refreshing side dish. Salads involve minimal cooking and are a guaranteed way to add vegetables to your diet. Eat the salad first: getting fuller sooner means you’re less likely to overeat on the rest of the meal. 

…A new healthy recipe each week

Sometimes we are wary of eating certain healthy foods because we simply don’t know what to do with them or how to flavor them. However, we promise that with the proper research, you can find a recipe that transforms even the most “blah” food into a delectable delight.

The key to nutrition is variety and balance. You might find that adding healthy foods, instead of eliminating “bad” ones, ensures your diet is as delicious as it is nourishing. You deserve to feel full, not famished!