The nutrition world is inundated with diets, meal plans, false information, misleading advertising, and to be blunt, garbage we put in our bodies. So what do we do about it? We need to focus on the basics and KEEP IT SIMPLE. When we are in a bind, stressed, or short on time it makes it easy to think simple. There is no silver bullet or perfect plan, the one thing or plan, what to eat or not eat that will be the ultimate answer. Well, unfortunately, silver bullets and perfection is mostly a figment of your imagination. With that said, you should 100% be striving for it. This is how you start – make small decisions that are in your best interest over a period of time. Continuously doing it will lead to big results and a healthier lifestyle. As time passes decisions will get easier and easier and leave room for more improvement. Nutrition isn’t a quick fix, strive for perfection by making good decisions and seeking constant improvement.
Here are a few habits you can put in place.
Don’t drink your calories
A coffee from the coffee shop might as well be a giant slab of cake… a venti size frappuccino with whipped cream at Starbucks can have as many as 600 (!) calories. Booze is all empty calories (meaning you get no nutritional value) plus consuming alcohol in excess can cause you to make poor food choices. Fruit juice, while natural, is liquid sugar! Water or unsweetened tea is your best bet.
Drink water with every meal
Hunger can often masquerade as thirst. You may feel that you are still hungry, but really you just need some water, so drink a tall glass with every meal. If you can’t decide if you need a snack or not, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes before going for the snack. If plain water is too boring, try infusing your water with fruit. Use a shaker bottle, add a few pieces of frozen fruit and you have a cold, lower sugar, flavorful drink.
Eat veggies with every meal
Mom said veggies are good for you and turns out she was right. Not only are you getting a boatload of nutrients and vitamins, but the water and fiber content of the veggies keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Try sautéing vegetables, like zucchini and onions, and seasoning with salt and pepper and fresh herbs like chopped thyme or tarragon. When in a pinch grab a bag of baby carrots, snap peas, or green beans. Almost all supermarkets have washed and packaged snack or smaller size portions of fresh veggies.
Make calculated indulgences
Nobody said, never indulge! Just plan and indulge smarter. A failure to plan is a plan for failure! If you know you’re going out for dinner and you’ll want to order dessert, make smart food choices leading up to your meal out and there’s no need to feel guilty about the creme brule. Ordering the dessert is a planned indulgence. Now, if you find yourself eating junk food from a vending machine because you didn’t plan ahead to bring your own food, you’ve indulged, but you probably haven’t enjoyed it one bit. Plan ahead and eat well most of the time so you can eat something not so healthy but feels truly worth it guilt-free. There are non perishable food items you can stash for snacks; almonds are a great option.
Avoid your “trigger” foods
Can you think of any foods that once you start eating them you just can’t seem to stop? The package of crunchy, salty, sugary, fatty whatever-it-is that you just need to keep snacking on until it’s gone? Any food that triggers a binge, that is, a food you cannot eat in moderation, you should just simply steer clear of. Remove the temptation. If it is in your house get rid of it and replace it with a healthier option.
It all goes back to keep it simple. If it is to hard to follow it is a recipe for failure and frustration.
Take the tips above focus on them and then start building upon them.