When most people think about healthy eating, bland salads and boring meals come to mind. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Eating a well balanced diet does not have to eliminate exciting meals and enjoyable foods. It means balancing foods from all the food groups and eating less unhealthy foods. There are plenty of tasteful recipes for every meal and plenty of ideas for snacks as well.

To begin eating healthy, consider making some small, but important changes.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables contain plenty of fiber, which can improve digestion and provide a steadier stream of energy to get through the day. Increasing fiber intake and prebiotic ingredients can reduce blood sugar levels, especially when combined with an exercise program.
  • Reduce salt intake. Eating less salt reduces the feeling of bloating. For some people, reducing dietary sodium can also help lower blood pressure. Try some new seasonings and spices, for tastier meals.
  • Cut back on saturated fat. Reducing saturated fat helps cut calories and reduces risk of heart disease.
  • Try to eat fish once or twice a week. You will be consuming healthy fats that provide omega 3s, a good way to help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
  • Drink more water. Drinking water helps a person wanting to cut calories feel fuller and eat less. It also cleanses the body of toxins.
  • Reduce consumption of sugar. Reducing sugar can help a person maintain steady levels of energy throughout the day, rather than feeling the highs and lows of spikes from sugar.

To make these small changes, healthy eating will require some fun recipes that are easy to prepare and taste good. If Southwestern dishes are your preference, try fixing Chipotle chicken bowls for lunch or dinner. Start by grilling chicken breasts, then dicing them into 1″ cubes. Saute some Chipotle chili peppers, add some spices like ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Shred some romaine lettuce, add diced avocado, and add some pinto beans into the bowl. Add a small amount of shredded cheddar cheese or another favorite cheese. This dish contains foods from almost ever group and looks as good as it tastes.

For a healthy snack, try cutting some favorite fruits into squares or small sections. Add some berries, mixed nuts, and some sunflower seeds, for a healthy treat with plenty of flavor, that can be a great source of energy for a mid day or evening snack. Add some granola or add it oatmeal for a healthy breakfast.

For slow cooker meals that can feed a large family or a dinner party, consider slow cooker eggplant Parmesan. Slice eggplant wedges and place them on a baking sheet on a towel for a half hour to soak up moisture. From a jar of marinara sauce, use about a third to line the bottom of the slow cooker. Mix seasoned bread crumbs, garlic powder, and Italian spices. Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in the bread crumb mix. place them in the crock pot in the sauce. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Repeat the process of adding marinara sauce then breaded eggplant layers, and Mozzarella cheese, until you have 4 layers. Cook on the high setting for about 4 hours. This is another recipe that combines foods from all groups and limits saturated fats.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring or bland. Using spices instead of salt provides plenty of flavor. Substituting vegetables for fatty or large cuts of meat can help reduce fats as well, though they can also be replaced with fish. There is no shortage of fun recipes that are as nutritious as they are tasty.