- Cook in Bulk: Prepare extra food ahead of time. On Sundays I cook a large baking dish full of chicken (sometimes fish), and a dish full of vegetables. I can use these in my lunch, on a salad, in pasta, or as an easy addition to any dinners I might cook during the week.
- Plan for Healthy Snacking: If you are a snacker keep food items on hand that you enjoy and can eat in appropriate portion sizes. Raw Almonds or other nuts, Fruit, Greek Yogurt, etc. You can pre-portion out ingredients for your favorite smoothie.
- Choose Foods that you Enjoy: You are not going to stick to a meal plan if you don't like what you are eating. Don't be afraid to experiment with healthy variations of your favorite recipes. Pinterest can be a gold mine of fun and healthy recipe ideas. You can check out my "Healthy Delicious" Pinterest Board here for some fun ideas.
- Check Portion Sizes: When you are first getting used to portion sizes don't be afraid to measure. Keep in mind that measuring is a tool. If measuring food is a trigger to compulsive eating behaviors for you, please skip this one. Having a healthy relationship with food is more important than having an exact portion size.
- Approximate Portion Sizes: Meat/Protein should be around the size of your palm, or the size of a deck of cards. One serving of cheese is about the size of your thumb. Vegetables should fill about half of your plate or two cupped hands.
- Look for ingredients you recognize. For example, I prefer Peanut Butter where the only ingredient is Peanuts.
- Ingredients are listed in order of quantity. Whichever ingredient is listed first is present in the largest quantities. If sugar is the first or second ingredient it's a red flag to me that the food item is not as healthy as it may seem.
- Try to include a vegetable at every meal. For me, the easiest and fastest option is fresh spinach. I put spinach in salads, smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, pastas, spaghetti sauce, or as a side dish.
- Eat Carbohydrates: They are necessary for your body and brain to function correctly. You can get your carbs from fruits and vegetables, from grains or from a combination of both. Food=Fuel.
- Eat Lean Protein: Protein helps keep you full throughout the day and helps your body build muscles.
- Eat Healthy Fats: Healthy fats have been scientifically proven to improve endurance during workouts. They also help your hair and nails look their best. Healthy fats decrease your risk for a plethora of diseases (heart disease, stroke, and hypertension just to name a few!) Olive oil, avocado, coconut, nut butters, and nuts are great sources of healthy fats.
|Spaghetti Squash over Fresh Spinach with Tomato & Spinach Marinara Sauce and Chicken.|
There is no secret to healthy eating. The trick to it is finding a healthy approach that works for you. I don't eat whole foods all the time, but I make sure they are the foundation of my diet. Today I ate a donut (gasp!) and I don't feel guilty, or that I had to "earn it" or "work it off." I don't eat donuts every day. I do eat vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean meats every day. I exercise and try to make healthy choices.