Eat whole foods. This is food with as little ingredients as possible. An apple has one ingredient. Apple flavoured granola bars have several. Plants should be plentiful in your diet because of their low ingredient amount. Meats, beans, dairy, whole grains like buckwheat and quinoa are all one ingredient foods.
Eat when you are hungry. If you consistently eat when you aren’t hungry, you won’t know when you are satisfied and will likely overeat. If by chance you can’t eat when you are hungry, then eat about 1/4 less than usual (if you find that you feel super full after a meal) You can always have a quick snack if you are still hungry.
Get fluent in your macros. Macronutrients – carbs, protein and fat are all required for a healthy body. Without protein, you can’t heal, regenerate or build muscle. Carbs are needed to fuel your muscle contractions and your brain. Fat provides structure to your cells. Most people split up their percentages of macros: carbs 45%-65% of their calories, fats 20%-35% and protein 35%-45% (or more if you are paleo). You can use MyFitnessPal to track and tweak your macros based on how you feel after meals and how you perform on your diet (diet being how you eat and not a weight loss plan).
Eat at a frequency that suits you. Some people swear by three squares, others like six small meals. Some are grazers. How you get your calories in the day is totally up to you. What you want to avoid is eating all your nutrients in one meal because they can’t always absorb and be utilized all at once and avoid getting ravenous.
Eat enough. Many people, especially men, don’t get enough calories to fuel their bodies. Or some women will restrict their calories so severely that they will be essentially starving themselves. No adult female can survive off of 800-1000 calories. Even the 1200 calorie standard used by most weight loss companies isn’t enough. Restricting your calories more than 300-500 per day is going to put your body into crisis mode and wreak havoc on your metabolism. Many people, after years of severe restrictions will gain weight if they eat more than 1500 calories because they’ve essentially trained their metabolism to slow right down, which is what happens when the body goes into survival mode because of famine.
Developing good habits around food is a good first start at improving your nutrition to live your most vibrant life!