Sometimes eating better can be so complicated, the internet is full of advice! Here are 5 SIMPLE ways to improve your diet today
Hey, friends! The weather is getting a bit warmer here bit by bit (although it’s been snowing this week!) and I can’t wait for summer to get here. Spring is a time of new things, fresh beginnings,…and diets. The funny thing about Spring is that most people are working on some kind of diet to get themselves ready for summer swimsuit season.
While it’s awesome to work towards your goals and get motivated by the changing seasons, eating healthy shouldn’t be a seasonal fad that comes and goes. Good nutrition should be a lifelong habit! Diets come and go but healthy eating habits can last decades if you keep practicing them.
If you’re working on losing weight or improving your health, here are my favorite ways to kickstart healthy eating habits for the long term, no diet required!
Eat until you are satisfied
This is a big one! When it comes down to eating at snacks and meal times, make sure that you aren’t stuffing yourself! Even if you are eating healthy foods, stuffing yourself on them isn’t healthy for your body and it’s hard on your digestive system.
Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, not stuffing yourself can help ease symptoms of digestive problems like IBS, GERD, and indigestion.
Whole foods first
Prioritize whole foods, and make sure the bulk of your eating is unprocessed. Swap those breakfast biscuits for a bowl of homemade oatmeal and you’ll stay fuller longer on fewer calories.
This can be tough in a fast-paced world and when you’re really busy, so this takes a lot of preparation and planning to make sure whole foods are accessible to you at different times of the day.
Here are a few prep strategies for keeping whole foods accessible even when you’re busy:
- Batch or bulk cook meals on the weekends to prepare lunches and breakfasts for the busy week ahead
- Create freezer meals every week or a couple of times a month
- Cook extra food each night at dinner so there are planned leftovers for the next day or 2 (this is what I do a lot)
- Prepare foods by washing and cutting up fruit and vegetables for ready to eat snacks
Like the infographic? Print a copy to keep on your fridge!
Think more, not less
When people begin to think about cleaning up their eating habits, they immediately begin to think of LESS: less sugar, fewer carbs, lower calories, etc. While some of these things can be great (less sugar for example), it isn’t always great to think in those terms. When our mindset is always on “less” when it comes to food, we start to feel deprived.
The next time you need to change your eating habits, try to shift your thinking to MORE: more veggies, more whole foods, more fiber, more lean protein, etc. Since your stomach only fits so much food in it (and you should only eat till 80% full or just until satisfied anyway), adding more to your plate of things like veggies and lean protein will leave less room for foods you should be avoiding.
Balance each meal and snack
Avoid cutting out entire food groups (like carbohydrates or fats). You will have more energy throughout the day if you can balance your macronutrients and focus on getting a variety of nutrients at each meal or snack time.
If you are trying to lose weight and want to reduce your consumption of fats and starches, make sure you are still having healthy fats and carbohydrates, just in smaller servings. Balancing your calories in this way will help you stay full and reduce cravings after meals.
Become a drinker…of water! make sure that you’re getting plenty of water each day to stay hydrated. Our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger and if you’re active your need for water is even more important. The dietary recommendation for water is drink half your weight in fluid ounces each day. If you’re 150 pounds, then aim for 75 ounces daily.
Plain water is usually just fine, but if you’re active consider adding electrolytes during or after your workouts. Avoid sugary beverages and make sure you limit your intake of artificially sweetened ones, too. The jury is still out, but some research suggests that artificial sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame can actually make you crave more sweets. It’s better to avoid chemical sweeteners to be on the safe side!
Here’s a little trick for staying hydrated:
Ok, so I’m going to try something new today. I just thought of this and maybe it will help me drink more and keep track of my water intake. ????I always have a rubber band or hair tie on my water bottle to tell which bottle is mine when everyone else in the house has one. I added more bands today, 1 for each bottle I need to drink (this bottle holds 2-1/2 cups, so that’s 10 cups). Once I drink a full bottle, I take off a band. ???? That should tell me how much water I have had and how many bottles I have to go! Now we’ll see if I can stick with it! ?????? #wellness #hydration #lifehacks
Tell me: what are your favorite ways to eat healthy?
Do you have any tried-and-true tips to share?
Food allergy mom and healthy living blogger! Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist