Eating Healthy In The New Year
Getting fit and/or healthy is one of the most popular resolutions Americans make every year, but many of us fail to live up to our promises. By mid-year we are right back into our old habits and the healthy habits we dusted off are right back on the shelf until next year. What can you do differently this year?
Did you know that to lose weight, the way you eat is just as important (actually more important) than the hours you log on the treadmill? Many people think that eating healthy is hard and that you have to eat nothing but salad and you can never enjoy eating again. That isn’t exactly true. Here are few small changes you can make to get yourself started on the road to eating healthy.
Step 1: Keep a food journal for two weeks straight. If you take the time to write down everything you are eating for two weeks, you can then think about what small, unhealthy things you can eliminate or change to make your current diet healthier. There are apps available to help with this and many already have restaurant menus in them or you can scan bar codes to find nutrition information.
Step 2: Once you have identified some small changes you can make, create a plan for yourself. Fail to plan, plan to fail. By planning what you will eat ahead of time, you can ensure that you are sticking to the commitments you have made to yourself. If you have a plan, you are less likely to run to the snack machine or out for fast food at mealtime.
Step 3: Increase your water drinking. As a general rule, consume ½ oz of water for every pound of body weight you have. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, you should be drinking at least 100 oz of water every day. Carry a container with you and know how many times you have to empty and fill it daily to meet your water goal. The benefits of drinking adequate water are numerous and it will improve the way you feel.
Step 4: Learn to read nutrition labels and watch your portions. By clearly understanding how much of something you should eat, you can monitor how much you are eating. Invest in a food scale and start monitoring your portions. You might be surprised how much of a difference this will make in your overall food intake every day.
You might be thinking, well all of that seems simple, but I thought I was going to learn about what to eat to be healthy. Keep calm and read on!
When it comes to eating healthy there are a number of guidelines that anyone can follow that will make your overall health improve:
- Eat every couple of hours. By fueling your body regularly, you can avoid dips in your blood sugar that make you tired. And when we are tired and sluggish, it is easier to throw caution to the wind and eat an entire “super” meal rather than stick to the plan.
- Try to incorporate protein, whole-grain and healthy fats into your meals. Remember how you are now watching your portions? Well, a serving of protein, whole-grain and healthy fat will keep your head clear and your blood sugar stable so you feel full and energized throughout the day.
- Stock your fridge with lean meats like chicken, turkey, eggs, lean ground beef, fish, low-fat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. These foods are good sources of protein and taste great.
- Stock your cupboards with oatmeal, whole-grain bread (make sure to read the ingredients on the nutrition label), whole-wheat crackers, and low sugar cereals. Complex carbohydrates burn off slower in the body and will keep you full and energized.
- Stock up on almonds, all natural peanut butter or almond butter and avocados. Healthy fats are essential to the body and will actually help you burn off more fat if consumed as part of a healthy diet.
- If it’s green, eat up. Spinach, broccoli, celery, lettuce, green beans and cauliflower (even though it is white) are full of fiber and will keep the digestive system moving and they fill you up.
There you go. The secret to eating healthy is not much of a secret; it is more about taking control of your nutrition and giving your body the things it needs to run at its best.