Although we know more today about food and how it affects our daily life the typical American diet continues to be high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. Not to mention low in many nutrients.
Living a whole and healthy life doesn’t have to be full of bland foods, deprivation or a rigid diet.
Truth is, there is no one size fits all eating plan.
The key is starting with a healthy diet will lead you to a lifestyle that blooms like a flower in spring. Cheesy I know but I had to do it. 😉
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you start your journey.
1. Find your groove.
I love food prep and having a variety of foods ready in a flash stored in the freezer. Some swear by the slow cooker and others the microwave.
Focus of identifying a healthy way to cook and eat and flourish.
You don’t have to stick to six meals a day if you prefer a larger sit-down family style meal.
Be prepared for your kryptonite. If you are a sucker for pretzels and tend to eat more than your fair share. Try buying snack size baggies and portion out a serving size.
Aim for small changes. These are easier to stick to long term.
Eating just 200 fewer calories a day can result in 20-pounds of weight loss in a year.
2. Spice up your fruit and veggies
Many times when we try out a new recipe meat is the focus and then we serve a plain salad with store bought salad dressing on the side.
Try roasting your broccoli and sprinkling with Parmesan cheese or sautéing spinach with garlic and olive oil. For dessert try broiling peaches and drizzling with a cinnamon honey syrup.
3. Meatless Monday?
The cornerstones of a healthy diet include whole grains, nuts, seeds, no starchy vegetables and fruits rather than meat.
Whole grains provide a sufficient amount of fiber and benefit the digestive system which helps you feel fuller. They also contain B vitamins which boost energy and gives your metabolism a boost.
Nuts and seeds provide nutrients like vitamin E found in almonds and sunflower seeds.
Legumes provide fiber, protein, iron, folate and other beneficial nutrients. Replacing meat with beans and lentils as a protein source is a great way to reduce saturated fat intake.
Add black beans or kidney beans to soup, chili or pasta.
1 1/2 ounces of sunflower seeds to salad
2 ounces of almonds as a mid day snack
4. Watch portions
If managing portions is a struggle for you try eating on a smaller plate or large saucer.
My biggest challenge is going out to eat. Portions are huge and tend to be high in fats and sodium.
When dining out consider sharing an entree and dessert.
Click here for a portion control size guide.
5. Steer clear of liquid calories
Drinks don’t fill you up the way food does. Consider haveing fun with plain old water and jazzing it up a bit with fruit and herbs.
- Strawberries & Mint
- Cucumbers & Lemon
- Apple slices, Cinnamon & Ginger
You may also try these options with mineral water as well for an extra fizz.
Quick Tip: To figure a good amount of water to drink daily you can work this equation
Current Weight / 2 = Amount of water to drink daily in ounces
150/2= 75 ounces of water daily
6. Reduce packaged foods and pay attention to labels
I am sure you have heard that the perimeter of the store is the best place to shop. Fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables are usually sold there. Highly processed foods are usually found in the center aisles.
A high percentage of the sodium, trans fats and added sugar Americans eat are found in the center aisles of the supermarket in the packaged foods.
If you have a favorite item that lives in the center aisle find a way to make it at home.
Regardless of the ingredients and steps, it takes to make it at home, you will definitely be healthier for doing so.
I would love to hear your thoughts and how you maintian a healthy lifestyle.
Until next time.