Proper nutrition is important for a huge number of reasons, including that it can help you maintain clear skin, grow healthy hair and stave off a wide variety of diseases. Here’s a collection of the some of the best nutrition tips, which you can use to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy, happy and balanced.

Whenever you get that growling sensation in your tummy, have a healthy choice on hand. Look at portion sizes for your usual, and then compare that to the healthy alternative. This is a chance for you to fill up for less. Keep snack size portions on hand so you can’t use the “it’s easier to get the other” excuse.

Many people take an inconsistent approach to nutrition because the subject isn’t naturally exciting. They may start the day with a donut, then feel guilty later and try to go for something healthier. If you are one of these people, consider simplifying things for yourself by making different, less unhealthy choices when you get your junk-food fix. If you like donuts, try a low-fat muffin next time. Then maybe work your way down to an egg-white flatbread. Also try changing your half-and-half to milk. If you make slow, incremental changes, soon you will find that you’re making more nutritious choices and that the old junky choices just don’t taste as good.

You should write down everything you eat during the day. This helps make you accountable for what you have eaten. It also helps you to not “forget” about that latte you indulged in, or that candy bar you ate after lunch. Knowing what you have eaten already will help you make better decisions about what to eat at the next meal or snack time.

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Write down and collect healthy recipes. Cook books are expensive and seldom have much useful information. Make your own instead. Buy a pack of index cards and use them to copy down any healthy recipes you try and enjoy. Replace all those high calorie, unhealthy recipes you had been saving with the new ones.

To lower the amount of tissue damage done by free radicals, include copper in your diet. Superoxide dismutase, an enzyme essential in removing free radicals from the body, is dependent on copper to function properly. A copper deficiency severely limits your body’s ability to fight free radicals. Foods high in copper include cashews, sweet potatoes, and oysters.

A great nutrition tip is to stop eating regular cheese and start buying fat free cheese. A lot of people love cheese but it tends to be pretty high in fat. You can still eat cheese and get fit by eating fat free cheese. You can find fat free cheese in most grocery stores.

If you are a vegetarian, make sure your nutrition choices are well-rounded. While many omnivores miss essential vitamins in their diet, it’s easier to recover lost minerals. That said, it’s easy to keep on top of a vegetarian diet. If you find yourself hitting roadblocks, consider seeing a nutritionist.

To reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, try using natural sweeteners instead of white sugar. Honey, molasses, and syrup can sweeten your food without adding as many calories. When you’re baking, try substituting fruit juice for some of the sugar. Use fresh fruit to add some sweetness to your cereal in the morning instead of another spoonful of sugar.

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If you are looking for a tasty addition to your meal that will provide filling, choose beans. Beans are essential to help the flow of foods through your body, and have a lot of nutrients that are vital. Also, beans contain protein, which help to convert fat to muscle, reducing your weight.

When you are looking for a meal that is easy to make and still gives you a lot of nutrition, try a baked potato. They offer a lot of fiber, and if you leave off the sour cream and butter, you will have a lower calorie meal with less fat.

Trade out a portion of white flour in a recipe for whole wheat flour for a quick nutritional boost. Whole wheat flour not only has more nutrients and fiber than white flour, but it is also less processed.

Foods that are high in fat are not good for you. But, there are some foods that contain good fats, and you should not avoid eating those. Try adding olives, nuts, and fatty fishes to your diet and these will give you the fat you need, while still being healthy. Do not over do it, though, and eat too much of these.

When you are pregnant, be sure to get adequate calcium everyday. Your baby needs lots of nutrients like calcium to grow up healthy, and it will take them from you if you do not provide enough.

Apples are great sources of nutrition. They are full of fiber, including pectins, which help make you full, pleasantly sweet, contain lots of antioxidants, and in general fill you up without too many calories. Their portability also makes them great for having as a snack between meals or taking to the office.

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Most bad habits are psychological and this is equally true for nutrition. All of the battles are actually inside your mind. One example of this is removing the reward system that you have set up with yourself. You want to try to remove the associations between food and happiness. Food is fuel, not happiness.

An easy way to improve your diet is to focus on a greater variety of foods and flavors. Instead of carbohydrates, try adding a vegetable you don’t eat often, or have some fruit. Try not to eat the same thing twice in one day and focus on eating things with vegetables that are uncommon in your diet.

Obviously, nutrition is important and can affect a lot of health factors that play into the quality of your life. Keep the easy nutrition advice from this article in mind, however, and you’ll have a few less things to worry about and few more things you can rest assured you’re doing right.