10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier
Overwhelmed by the health info overload? We get it. There are so many opinions out there about what constitutes “healthy.” The fad diets, trendy weight loss tactics, and rapidly expanding list of superfoods make it difficult to put together a decent grocery list; let alone finding time to cook the food.
Looking for some simple, everyday tips to get healthier this week? Read on.
Always read your labels.
Marketing might as well be called mind control. Think its coincidence that cereal boxes boast bright colors and kid-friendly characters? Of course not! The same strategies apply to adults; especially those who are looking to lose weight or eat healthier. Don’t let the “green labeling” fool you - just because the label makes it look healthy, it doesn’t mean that it is! Always check the ingredients, especially sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. Generally, try to avoid processed foods altogether when possible. Fruits and vegetables never need deceiving labels! Focus on eating an organic rainbow each day to get a wide variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants and to avoid the pesticide residue on conventionally grown produce.
Drink more water.
Staying well-hydrated helps your body to function properly and avoid overeating. Have you gone through 6 different snacks, and none of them are satisfying you? You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty! If you feel hungry between planned meal or snack times, reach for a glass of water or tea first. If you’re still hungry after that, grab something healthy from your pre-prepped stock. Our bodies are 60% water; your liver needs 6 oz. of water an hour to detoxify properly; your metabolism slows by 3% and your brain actually shrinks when you are dehydrated! Shoot for half of your body weight in ounces and more if you exercise!
Don’t skip meals.
Eating regularly helps your body to maintain energy levels throughout the day and keep your metabolism going. Depriving your body of proper nutrition not only encourages you to overeat later, but it slows your metabolism to a near-stop. Rather than eat one huge meal a day, try for five smaller ones. Studies will show more fat storage with the same calorie consumption eaten in one large meal versus spread throughout the day because the body can metabolize the smaller portions of food more efficiently.
Don’t drink your calories.
Some of your favorite drinks may contain a sneaky amount of sugar. Besides the obvious culprits (the whipped cream-topped lattes and soda), watch out for smoothies, fruit juice, flavored teas, and alcohol. If you chewed an equal number of calories as you drink in one can of soda, your body would do so much work chewing that it would communicate to your brain a sense of fullness.
Eat like a true Italian!
The Mediterranean Diet is proven to be not only healthy, but sustainable long-term. Enjoy foods like seafood, lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, and wine. (Yes, wine!) Choosing food so full of vitamins and antioxidants will keep you healthy and fulfilled.
Make swaps, not substitutions.
If eating a pint of ice cream before bed is a habit of yours, switching to a dairy-free or sugar-free option isn’t going to make you any healthier. In fact, phrases like “fat-free” or “sugar-free” should be a red flag - they most likely contain harmful chemicals which only mimic the sweet or salty taste of your junk food favorites. Instead, make a swap. Rather than the pint of ice cream, make a cup of tea or piece of fruit your nightly routine. Your body will thank you for it! Or try some plain coconut yogurt over some cantaloupe pieces with a drizzle of tart cherry juice for a huge dosing of Vitamin A, probiotics for your gut, antioxidants for inflammation control!
Eat at a table.
Putting mealtimes into a structured schedule, with a dedicated space, will help you to eat more mindfully. Free your mealtimes of distractions (phone, work, television) and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Simply paying attention will help you to both enjoy your food more, and stop when your body has gotten enough.
Find physical activity that doesn’t feel like a chore.
The gym isn’t for everyone, we get it. But who doesn’t enjoy a nice walk through the park? Or a swim at the beach? Physical activity should be an effortless addition to your day. Reframe your thinking here. If you start moving in a way that feels good to you, you’re less likely to skip out. Can’t go a half hour? Not to worry, break your activity into 10-minute chunks – the benefit is cumulative! And studies show just 10 minutes of “movement”, particularly outdoors, modifies mood in a positive way as effectively as medication (and with NO negative side effects)!
Cook at home.
While it takes a (tiny) bit more effort, cooking at home helps you to both make healthier choices and save some money! Chances are, you won’t be deep-frying foods, or making 4-course meals while at home - but they do seem awfully tempting when sitting at your favorite restaurant. Even if you’re not choosing to make “health” foods at home, the restaurant version of your favorites always has more fat and calories. Don’t believe me? Look up the nutrition facts for a fast food burger versus the homemade one. You deserve the higher quality version. Another trick – cook once, eat twice! Make food in bulk so you can grab something healthy quickly when you need to. Shop one day of the week and cook and prep your food the next day. Success is where preparation meets opportunity!
Being healthy does not mean making perfect choices. (By the way, there IS NO perfect!) Craving a slice of pizza? Enjoy it! End your negative relationship with food by making the conscious choice to eat, rather than deprive. While you should try to stay away from mindlessly eating half a chocolate cake in front of the tv, truly enjoying a slice every so often won’t hurt. As long as you’re making healthy choices 80 percent of the time, let loose a little!
Remember, every little step you take to improving your health goes a long way! Spring is almost here, a time of new beginnings! Need help with some health challenges or with reaching your health goals? Check out our unique blended consult and coaching programs personalized to your specific goals and health issues, designed to get you back to VIBRANT! Working with an expert in functional medicine with years of experience coaching and guiding clients back to health and vitality is the fastest way to reach your goals and get back to the Life You Want to LIVE!
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