Healthy eating shouldn’t be complicated nor tasteless (which to me, equals boring). However; plenty of fitness forums tell us differently. You read somewhere or perhaps; your coworker says that to be healthy, you must follow “X” diet which most of the time includes foods, you either can’t eat or don’t like.
What if I told you that eating healthy can be done with foods you enjoy eating? What if I told you that you don’t need to follow any specific diet for that matter.
Those 10 simple steps can and will improve your nutrition tenfolds when done consistently.
1. MAKE PROTEIN YOUR BFF: important building block of bones, muscles, skin, and more. Protein provides satiation like no other food. Your goal should be to eat 25-30 grams of protein with every meal.
1 gram of protein (P) = 4 calories (kcal) / 1 serving: size of your palm
Protein sources (examples): lean meat cuts like chicken breast, bison, turkey, white fish, scallops, shrimp, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder.
2. DON’T FEAR CARBS: short for carbohydrates. They are a vital source of the body’s energy. Aim for the majority of carbs coming from wholesome sources over processed food.
Carbs sources (examples): (serving size – cupped hand)
Squash (pumpkin family), potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, fruit, cereal, oatmeal, bulgur, plantains, sugar.
VEGETABLE (carbs that you eat without limit. Preferred serving size – double of your other carbs). Examples include:
Broccoli, cabbage, green beans, bok choy, spinach, kale, eggplant, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash.
1 gram of carbs (C) = 4 calories
3. INCLUDE HEALTHY/DIETARY FATS: Like carbs, those fats provide energy to our body. Healthy fats help us lower bad cholesterol and increase good one.
1 gram of dietary fat (F) = 9 calories/size of your thumb
Dietary fats sources (example): avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee, coconut milk, flaxseed.
P+C food sources: quinoa, beans, legumes, tofu, skim milk.
P+F food sources: steak, lamb, whole milk, salmon, cheese, bacon, sausage.
4. BUILD YOUR PLATE LIKE A PRO: start with serving of protein (it is ok to have more than less), add some starchy carbs (1/2 of your regular intake), add fibrous veggies (at least twice amount of your starches), wrinkle with some fats, ENJOY!!!
5. FOCUS ON EATING NUTRITIOUS FOOD 80% of the time. Remaining 20% is reserved for your favorite treats.*
*Sprinkle your treats here and there thru the week. Don’t wait to indulge in all of them during the weekend (easiest way to binge).
6. PROCESSED FOOD – keep it to the minimum. Aim for majority food coming from whole foods instead.
7. HYDRATE BUT KEEP YOUR LIQUID CALORIES TO MINIMUM: focus on drinking water (feel free to flavor with fruit or herbs), tea, coffee. If you drink sugary drinks and alcohol, aim to lower this amount in half at least.
8. EAT SEASONAL FOOD: focusing on what’s in the season gives you less headache when choosing food for your meals. It also saves you some money (seasonal food is cheaper than out of season).
9. INCORPORATE MINDFUL EATING: try to chew your food slowly and stop eating when feeling about 80% full (if you feel like “stuffed turkey,” you overate. If you are hungry soon after you finish your meal, you didn’t eat enough).
10. START SLOWLY: focus on taking small steps instead of jumps.
Most importantly, it is crucial that you build meals around food, you enjoy (if the cold chicken isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to use different meat or fish) as that will help your adherence. Your goal should be to improve your eating habits one bite at a time so that you can be more consistent with your food choices.