It’s not unusual to let your attention to healthy eating lapse a bit in the winter. After all, who can see you in those cozy – and bulky – wool sweaters?
But spring is here, and all of this greenery may have you craving a little dietary refresh. Just making a few small changes in your everyday diet can add up to big changes in a healthier, fitter you. Here are easy tips to get you started.
Visuals: Food items, etc.
1. Spring Clean your fridge and pantry.
· It’s perfectly fine to indulge when an intense craving strikes, but if you’re really looking to tune up your eating habits, be mindful of the junk foods you keep stocked in the house.
· Get rid of any trigger foods (that is, foods that make you lose all control once you start eating them) and any junk you eat out of convenience.
· Give it away to unsuspecting friends, bring it into the office, anything.
· After you’ve gotten rid of any trigger foods, go to the grocery store and restock your shelves with fresh, less-processed choices.
· Examples: Low-sodium pretzels, hummus, light popcorn, baked chips, quinoa, nuts
2. Skip the juice cleanses, detoxes, and fad diets.
· These “quick fixes” won’t result in any lasting weight loss. Depriving yourself isn’t healthy or productive, and it usually backfires miserably.
· If you’re trying to lose weight, focus on a more moderate loss of around one pound a week, using a method that isn’t based on intense restriction, is the best approach. 1
· Remember that weight loss is about more than what you eat, it’s also how you exercise.
3. Start cooking, stop taking out.
· Eating healthier is work. But putting in the effort to cook for yourself is so worth it, especially in the long-term. Cooking for yourself means you’re taking control of what you put into your body, and that’s a good thing.
· Start by grocery shopping on a weekend and preparing one or two proteins (a tray of chicken breasts and some black beans, for example), a pot or pan of starch (think roasted potatoes or brown rice), and two to three vegetables (salad counts!) for the week ahead.
· This way, you’ll be ready for lunches and suppers, and not scrambling for the takeout menus at the end of the day or stopping for food on your way home from work in a hunger-induced haze.
4. Cut back on the soda.
· Cut calories by cutting out soda. For most of us, we have a coffee in the morning, a soda for lunch and dinner, and any other drinks between meals. With this lifestyle, the calories can add up quickly.
· Try alternatives: Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or watermelon to your water. Mix things up by trying sparkling water.
5. Make one meal of the day veggie-based.
· Recent data from the CDC says that 91 percent of Americans didn’t meet their vegetable intake recommendations. 2
· Adults eat at least 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables as part of a healthy eating pattern. 3
6. Slash the sugar.
· Added sugar has no nutritional value and in excess can mess with your blood sugar, make you feel fatigued, contribute to diabetes, and is even linked to cardiovascular problems.
As always, visit qualchoice.com for more information.