With so much nutriton info out there, it can be a little daunting. Intermittent Fasting, tracking macros, eating “clean”, ditching dairy, following Paleo, Keto or plant-based…it’s a lot.
So instead of navigating all of that…let’s keep it simple and focus on 5 things you can do to improve how and what you eat. All without tracking, counting, or utilizing an app. Let’s go!
#1 – Fill Half Your Plate With Fruits and Veggies
When I was growing up vegetables came from a can and my fruit choices were Red Delicious or it’s bland cousin, Yellow Delicous Apples. Now that I’m a grown-ass woman I have learned one trick to make your meal nutricious as heck is to pile on the veggies. Besides being chock full of fiber vitamins, antioxidants, etc., they take up quite a bit of space in your belly so your stomach stretch receptors get the message that you are full.
Veggies can be eaten raw or you can steam, roast, boil, water sautee or toss them in your Air Fryer. Once you deep fry, cook in oil or douse in butter or cheese, you’re no longer eating a nutritious food. FYI.
#2 – Don’t Drink Your Calories
Yes, I’m talking to you my smoothie drinkers. There are a few problems with smoothies but before you click “unsubscribe” let me explain. Smoothies, because they are blended don’t need to be digested by the stomach so they are immediately dumped into your system. This creates two problems. The first being there’s minimal digestion that needs to be done, so while you may feel full after a smoothie because the contents fill your stomach, it will empty very quickly. Secondly, the sugar from the juices, frozen fruit, yogurt, etc. that you’ve added to your drink to make it tasty forces an insulin tactical team to be dispatched from the pancreas to bring your blood sugar down. You’ll get a burst of energy from the sugar but your high will come crashing down once insulin starts to do its job.
And yes, you can add things to make your smoothie more like a meal such as oats, peanut butter, protein powder, but in about the same time that you are done blending you could have slapped some peanut butter on a piece of whole grain bread and grabbed an apple. Pretty much the same calories plus you enjoy all of the fiber, the healthy fats and you can chew. #bonus
#3 – Whole Grain is Best, But Half is Better than None
Whole grains are superior, nutritionally to their highly-processed counterpart. They take longer to digest and have soluble and insoluble fiber.
I love brown rice, farro, barley, whole grain pasta, chickpea pasta, etc. But my family? Not so much. So I’ve come up with a good compromise – half and half. I’ll make white rice and brown rice them mix them together. It also works with whole grain pasta and regular pasta. This serves two purposes. 1. One bowl of food on the table. 2. Slowly bringing my family to the “brown” side of the carb aisle.
#4 – Add Water
Here’s a fun fact. The recommended water intake of 64 ounces was made up. I know, right?! But here’s another fun fact. We can surive without food for a long time but only 3 days without water. So drink up, I say.
Water helps our body process food, provides hydration for our cells, plumps our skin, helps us “eliminate” stuff and provides lubrication for our joints, just to name a few vital functions. Drink a glass when you wake up, a glass at lunch and dinner, fill up your bottle during the day, a cup of tea and maybe a sparkling water if you’re feeling sassy, eat some water-rich foods (aka fruits and veggies) and you should be set.
#5 – Slow Your Roll at Dinner
If we simply ate slower, a lot of our digestion and weight problems would be solved. And because dinner is the last meal before we wind down, I think that’s where you can have the most impact.
It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to register that it’s full. The stretch receptors need time to, well. stretch. And eating slower allows food to slowly be emptied into the stomach instead of it all making a mad dash. So when you take your time with dinner, your food processes better and you feel better because you recognized when you were no longer hungry and stopped eating.
Still feeling overwhelmed? That’s ok, try and tackle one a week or one every two weeks. Every little thing helps.
Now go run!