Okay, Easter is over. How many Peeps, chocolate foil wrapped eggs, jelly beans, chocolate covered marshmallows and who knows what else have we mindlessly consumed over the last few weeks? What is it about all the holidays that make us lose control and eat stuff we know is not good for us? Think about it. It’s the same candy, only wrapped and shaped different to fit the holiday. And yet, we all fall for it like that pink wrapped chocolate egg is going to taste any different than the red and green wrapped chocolate kiss at Christmas. Our year is paced with holidays and the powers that be know how to market their products to make the consumer think they just have to have them even though we just bought the same thing only packaged different a month or so ago. And, combine that with all the traditional foods that we usually consume with each holiday and it’s not looking real pretty.
So when do we jump off the crazy merry go round that keeps going round and round year after year making us repeat unhealthy habits that are so bad for us. Unless we make a conscious decision to not fall prey to the marketing of these products and choose healthier more nutritious foods we are going to keep spinning around and around on that thing.
So now that we have a break in the deluge of holiday oriented goodies confronting us every time we go to the store I believe it is the perfect time to take control and seriously make a conscious effort to eat and live more healthy.
You might be wondering how and where do I start? One thing to keep in mind is that healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of the foods you love. You really need to realize it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook and stabilizing your mood.
We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but did you know your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing?
Studies have linked eating a typical western diet which is filled with red and processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food and sugary snacks with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. All the more reason to eat more fruits and veggies, cook more meals at home and reduce your fat and sugar intake.
While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. Switching to a healthy diet does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to make a difference in the way you think and feel.
One thing I would like to mention here is that if you do any research on nutrition, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there. It seems that for every expert who tells you a certain food is good for you, you’ll find another saying exactly the opposite. But by using a couple simple tips you can cut through the confusion and learn how to create a tasty and healthy diet that is as good for your mind as it is for your body.
TIP 1 - SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Take a number of small, manageable steps like adding a salad to your diet once a day rather than trying to make one big drastic change in your diet. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.
*Prepare more meals at home allowing you to take charge of what you are eating.
*Make the right changes. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives.
*Simplify. Eat more fresh ingredients.
*Read the labels. Be aware of hidden sugar and salt even in packaged ‘healthy’ foods.
*Focus on how better you feel eating healthier foods.
*Drink plenty of water helping to flush your system of waste products and toxins.
TIP 2 - EATING IN MODERATION
Eat only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied but not stuffed at the end of a meal. Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Also, for most of us, moderation means eating less than we do now.
*Reduce portion size of unhealthy food and don’t eat them as often.
*Think smaller portions. Learn what a healthy portion is.
*Take your time. Give your brain enough time to tell your body when you have had enough.
*Eat with others when possible. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer to limit mindless eating.
*Eat breakfast and then smaller meals throughout the day.
*Avoid eating at night.
TIP 3 - FILL UP ON COLORFUL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Try to eat the recommended daily minimum of five servings of both and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or vegetable or a small apple or banana for example. Remember the more colorful the food is the higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it contains.
TIP 4 - EAT MORE HEALTHY CARBS AND WHOLE GRAINS
Healthy carbs include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. They digest slowly and help you feel full longer along with keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Unhealthy carbs are foods such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that has been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Whole grains are rich in phytochemical and antioxidants which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
TIP 5 - REDUCE SUGAR AND SALT
I think it’s safe to say that we Americans eat way too much sugar and salt contributing to so many health and weight problems. Do some detective work and look for hidden sugar and salt in most packaged food at the grocery store. Remember that sugar can have many different names such as honey, molasses, fructose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, malt syrup to name a few.
These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you along the way of a more healthy lifestyle and I do mean lifestyle because that is what it is all about, your LIFE and the STYLE in which you choose to live it.
If you are ready to make a life change and would like some support along the way I would love to assist you and share with you some strategies to achieve your goal of a more healthy you. Please call me at (516) 517-1560 or contact me through the website.