Most people I talk to are confused about how to eat start eating healthy. Many turn to deprivation diets and end up not seeing the results they want or gain the weight they lost again and throw in the towel and give up. It becomes this vicious cycle of near starvation to extreme eating, an all or nothing mentality. Who wants to live like that?
Do you want to eat in a healthy way, but don’t know how? Whether you want to lose weight, need more energy, or just want to be healthy overall, it can be confusing and overwhelming to try to make sense of all the conflicting nutritional information out there. I know how frustrating this can be!
Today I suggest a different way of thinking, focus on addition not omission; don’t deprive yourself by taking away foods you enjoy, but rather start adding in new, healthier choices. In time, these new additions will naturally crowd out some of the less healthy foods… This strategy is much simpler and easier to implement, right? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
Here are some things to add today:
1. Green leafy vegetables. These are one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods. Eating foods with high nutrient levels will keep you satiated longer and help reduce cravings, because your body is already getting the nutrition that it needs. Leafy greens are low in calories and they’re a great source of fiber, which digests slowly and therefore keeps your stomach feeling full for a longer period of time. Include arugula, spinach or swiss chard to your diet.
2. Water. It sounds too simple to be true, but drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day can help you stay healthy. When you are well hydrated, your organs are able to perform more optimally. This allows your metabolism to speed up, which means you’ll burn calories; even mild dehydration will slow down metabolism. We often mistake dehydration for hunger. Next time hunger strikes, try drinking a glass of water and wait a few minutes… you might be surprised to find that you are no longer hungry, you were just thirsty!
3. Whole grains. These are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fiber, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. As the body absorbs grains slowly, they provide sustained and high-quality energy. We need carbohydrates to function, of course not all carbs are created equally, however, whole grains are an excellent choice. Include quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, or barley to your diet.
4. Different protein sources. Our body requires protein for cell renewal, stabilizing our blood sugar and providing us the energy we need. Most people assume that protein is only present in meat; however many other foods are great sources such as dairy, eggs, as well as plant sources like nuts, seeds and beans. Eating enough protein is a great way to stay satisfied longer, include 2-3 different sources of protein throughout the day.
5. Fruits and sweet vegetables. These foods are packed with vitamins and nutrients plus they are naturally sweet, healthy and delicious. When you increase your intake of healthier sources of sugar, eventually it will reduce your cravings for sugary processed foods and unhealthy desserts as they help crowd out less healthy foods. Whether you are having fresh fruit or sweet vegetables for a light breakfast, a midday snack or an evening treat; enjoy nature's sweetness!
6. Healthy fats and oils. The low fat craze diets caused most people to fear all sources of dietary fat, even the ones we need to thrive. Fat from high-quality oils and whole foods are used by our bodies to help keep metabolism steady, nourish our skin, hair and nails. Include olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, whole nuts and seeds, or the fats in whole foods such as avocados, coconuts, and the high-quality fats in cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna.