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Quite a few of us know that we have an unhealthy diet. We definitely want to make efforts to change it. But the idea of giving up your favorite foods and changing your diet overnight is harsh. We just don’t want to do it. So let’s start with something simpler; can we make two small changes to our diet this week? To make it simpler, we provide you with 14 different alternatives to choose from. Choose any two, implement them for a week and then come back for two more!

1) Add salads to your diet every day

Benefit: Salads improve your digestion and are a source of many vitamins and minerals. They do not add to your calorie intake yet give you the feeling of being full. This can help you control your portion size for the rest of your meal.

2) Have almonds and walnuts daily

Benefit: Almonds and Walnuts have a lot of trace vitamins and minerals that are required by the body. Walnuts contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good type of fatty acids and help improve cardiovascular functions like blood pressure. 

3) Reduce the intake of chocolates, ice cream or Indian sweets to one a week

Benefit: Chocolates, ice creams and Indian sweets have a very high concentration of sugar. They not only add to your calories but cause an insulin spike which causes the body to stop fat metabolism for the better part of a day.

4) Prefer homemade meals, limit meals outside to 2 per week

Benefit: Food cooked by restaurants has a much higher concentration of oils, salt, sugar and various masalas. Home cooked food is always a much healthier alternative.

5) Limit the sugar you add to your tea of coffee

Benefit: A lot of us tend to have 3-4 cups of tea or coffee during the day. If each cup has 2 spoons of sugar, you are adding 8 teaspoons of sugar to your daily diet. This can account for more calories than what you consume in a meal. Also, having a high concentration of sugar can cause an insulin spike which then inhibits fat metabolism.

6) Have the last meal of the day 3-4 hours before going to bed

Benefit: If the last meal of the day is too close to bedtime and has a high carb content, it is likely to release a lot of sugar in your blood which is stored as fat. This is specifically important for your last meal, since the metabolism usually drops at night and the body cannot burn as many calories as it does during the day.

7) Avoid packaged foods like biscuits and chips.

Benefit:  Packaged foods have a very high concentration of sugar, salt and oil. It is made with refined flours and has very little fibre. This makes it a very unhealthy choice for you.

8) For vegetarians, add paneer, curd or dal to every meal

Benefit: Vegetarians may sometimes fall short of the daily protein content required by their bodies to build and maintain muscle. Paneer, curd and dal are all vegetarian foods with relatively high protein content and should be added to every meal.

9) Avoid fried foods as much as possible

Benefit: Fried and deep fried foods have very high content of oil – which has a high proportion of saturated fats and trans-fats. These fats are linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.

10) Have a heavy breakfast

Benefit: You have not had food for 8-10 hours before your breakfast. A heavy breakfast helps you kick start your day by increasing your metabolism – so you feel more energetic. It is also likely to reduce your intake for the rest of the day.

11) Avoid aerated drinks

Benefit: Aerated drinks have a very high concentration of sugar and chemicals and absolutely no nutritional value. They not only make you fat but are also linked to a higher incidence of heart disease and some cancers.

12) Add a fruit to your diet

Benefit: Fruits are natural foods and consequently have very low proportions of sugar as compared to chocolates or ice-cream. They also have fiber and a lot of useful vitamins and minerals. If you have a sweet tooth, it is much better to have a banana rather than a chocolate.

13) Have Green Tea daily

Benefit: Green Tea has many documented benefits and we should really have it regularly. It helps in fat metabolism, anti-aging, improves brain function and helps prevent many diseases including certain types of cancers. For more info click here

14) Have lemon water early in the morning

Benefit: Having lemon water early in the morning helps balance the acids that have accumulated in your stomach through the night and helps control hunger. It also aids in digestion, cleansing your system and gives you an energy boost. For more info click here.