Proper nutrition is essential for a high quality of life and an overall sense of well being. Many Americans, however, struggle with knowing what foods are healthy to eat, and what foods are best consumed in very small doses, and so levels of obesity and weight-related disorders and diseases continue to rise.

Protein is essential to a diet, and many do not seem to eat enough. Lean meats, fish, poultry provide high quality protein. Good sources also include pork and chicken. Protein helps you build lean muscle and also helps with suppressing your appetite. Protein is definitely a very important dietary nutrient.

Eat more soy containing foods for healthy bones. Many of the soy foods which contain soy, contain a lot of calcium, or they are fortified with calcium. Magnesium and borron, which work with calcium for optimum bone health, are also found in soy foods. Soy foods are great for strong, healhty bones.

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.

If you don’t like vegetables, try hiding them in different dishes. For example, vegetable lasagna is usually enjoyed by everyone, even those who don’t enjoy the vegetables. This way, you can get all the really great minerals and vitamins from vegetables without having to eat them in a way that you’d rather not.

To conquer a sugar craving without giving in to excess sugar, have an apple with all-natural peanut butter. This is sweet enough to feel like a treat, but the amount of sugar will not ruin your diet and as a bonus you get extra vitamins and protein in your diet.

A great tip to live a healthier lifestyle is to calculate how many calories you need on a daily basis. The amount of calories you need every day varies with every person depending on many different factors such as sex, weight, height, body type, etc. Once you calculate your daily caloric needs, you can count your calories to ensure you stay at your daily need.

We should consider carefully the meats and poultry we eat. Most are still laden with antibiotics and hormones, nitrites and nitrates–all detrimental to our health. Fortunately, in recent years, meats raised without these chemicals have become far more widely available to the general public. We can find them now at major supermarkets.

When making a smoothie for a meal, it is important to only add ingredients that are healthy. Don’t just load a smoothie with fruit and ice cream. That will load it with calories, and turn it into an unhealthy treat. Use yogurt, berries, frozen bananas and a small amount of honey.

Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid in your diet during your pregnancy. If you’re not, the low levels can lead to abnormalities in the fetus or even spina bifida. Even if you have to take a vitamin every day to keep your folic acid levels up, do whatever it takes to keep the baby healthy.

If you are a big soup fan you should try making your own from scratch instead of eating those that are in a can. Store bought soups in a can are full of fat and sodium, and a lot of time the low-fat versions have sugar added to them for flavor. Making your own means you regulate what goes in them.

If you refuse to eat breakfast, you put yourself at a disadvantage from the very beginning of the day. Some people think they are saving calories by skipping breakfast. Since you go into the day hungry if you don’t eat breakfast, the odds are much higher that you will break down and snack heavily. For example, if you skip a meal, you will normally eat more calories than you would have originally eaten.

While there is a recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin D, it is actually not always necessary to eat as much as is listed. This is because even a small exposure to sunlight, will cause your skin to make it by itself. However, during the winter months, there is less UV light, so you should drink more milk or take supplements.

To give your metabolism a boost, try not to ever skip breakfast. Eating a well-balanced breakfast enables the body’s metabolic engine to start running early in the day, and it also provides energy the body needs to perform at peak efficiency. Consuming a healthy breakfast also helps prevent overeating when blood sugar levels drop.

To work more green vegetables into your diet, try unique approaches to preparing them. If your family is tired of steamed broccoli, try roasting it with olive oil and sea salt, then serving it with a squeeze of lemon and some grated Parmesan. Leafy, nutritious kale makes a great snack when cooked in the oven, becoming a crispy, addictive alternative to chips.

Slow down and savor your food when you are eating. Eating slowly will allow you to sense when your body is full and let you stop eating. If you eat quickly, you may miss the cues that signal you are full and you will consume too many calories which can lead to weight gain.

Consume whole wheat. Whole wheat products are much better for you than products made with enriched flour. Whole wheat offers more fiber and fiber helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and many other diseases. Exchange white flour products for whole wheat products for a healthier diet.

It can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to fully enjoy life on a daily basis if your overall nutrition leaves much to be desired. Improving your nutrition, however, need not take days – by implementing the tips and suggestions listed below, you can begin to feel the benefits virtually overnight!