Happy New Year!
If you are looking for easy nutrition resolutions for 2018, I have some tips below to get you started. Remember that change takes time and small consistent steps. Start each week with trying out at least 1 new tip and build from there. By the end of February, you will have gained new healthy habits that can last you for the rest of 2018 and beyond.
Eat a healthy breakfast every day
Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. It can also be simple too. A quick combo of a high fiber carbs (think whole grains and fruits/veggies) + lean protein (low-fat dairy, eggs, lean meats) is key. The combos are endless too:
- ¼ cup steel-cut oats + ½ cup frozen fruit + 2/3 cup of low-fat plain Greek yogurt + 4 walnut halves
- 1 small whole wheat tortilla + scrambled egg + veggies
- 1 Oatmeal muffin + 1 medium apple + 8 ounces soymilk or skim milk
Eat a fruit or veggie at every meal or snack
Fruits and veggies are a great way to get satisfying calories that are high in fiber and filled with tons of antioxidants. These food groups should be the base of your daily food intake. Their increased intake can help to beat inflammation and improve your mood. Some ideas include:
- Add 1/3 cup of diced mango to your taco dinner as dessert
- Pair string cheese with apples, pears or grapes
- Make ½ of your plate veggies at lunch and dinner
- Pair hummus with carrots or other sliced veggies (cucumbers, peppers, raw zucchini) for a midday snack
Limit intakes of unhealthy carbs
Cakes, pies, cookies and other high sugar carbs cause your blood sugars to spike, encourage the storage of excess calories as fat and will leave you feeling hungry about 1 hour later. Rather, swap out the sweets for more whole grain goodies paired with more fruits and veggies and you will do your body and blood sugars some good.
Switch sugary drinks with fruit flavored water
Sugary drinks are packed with empty calories which mean “no nutritional value”. The average 20 ounce soda is loaded with 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar. And be careful with other soft drinks, fruit punches, or various kinds of “ades”. Many of these beverages are also filled with large quantities of sugar and close to 240 calories per serving. It would be better to enjoy plain water or to squeeze fresh fruit juice into the water than to rely on food manufacturers to do it for you. Frozen fruit also works well as “ice cubes” for water. It is a fun and novel way to get more fruit in your diet, especially if you eat the fruit after you finish drinking the water.
Behold the benefits of mindful eating
Mindful eating is a practice of slowing down the time you take to eat your food as well as becoming aware of the food you are eating. It is amazing when you take the time to really taste your food. Paying attention to the texture, aroma, and taste of your food of the food helps you to remember you meal after it is finished. Mindful eating is also a practice to become more aware of your food choices and why you are making those food choices. Mindful eating helps you to determine if you are eating food because you are truly hungry or if you are stressed and/ or emotional. If you figure out that you are seeking food due to stress or emotions, you can learn how to go to other non-food coping mechanisms that will benefit you and your waistline.
Don’t skip meals
This is one of the biggest “no-no’s”, for it sets you up to become “hangry” and likely choose high fat and high sugar foods to satisfy your hunger. It is best to strive for 3 meals and 1 to 2 snacks each day about 3 to 4 hours apart. By eating small frequent meals, you can keep your hunger levels in check and it makes it easier for you to choose healthier foods for meals too.
Exercise does the body and mind good. Not only does exercise help to keep your metabolism humming, it is also a great way to relieve stress and keep your bones strong. It does not have to be a lot each day, nor does it all have to be one time. 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there throughout the day can do wonders. It is all about making sure that you keep moving and to reach a goal of about 30 minutes of movement each day. So instead of taking the elevator or escalator, take the stairs. Every little step counts!
Eat in more often
Eating out is fun, occasionally. But when eating out becomes the norm rather than the occasional treat, your waistline pays the price. Restaurants serve large portion sizes that are typically high in sodium, fat and excess calories. It is best to cook at home, where you have the control on the amount of sodium and fat you put in your food. Super markets make it easy to have pre-cut meats, veggies and fruits at your fingertips which helps make meal planning and cooking more time efficient.
I hope that 2018 finds you reaching your nutritional health and wellness goals. If you are interested in developing a personalized meal plan to suit your specific nutritional needs please contact me by filling out a contact request form.