Happy Friday friends! I’m a few days behind on posting this week, things got busy at work but I’m excited to share with you this week’s topic…..Healthy Eating Habits. In full disclosure I’m not a nutritionist nor am I a fitness guru. My not so secret strategies have to do with healthy eating habits and adjusting them to fit my lifestyle. What I have learned about myself is that by eating healthy and mixing certain physical activity is the perfect balance to staying healthy and maintaining my weight. My healthy weight is not defined by a certain number but rather by how I feel. I’ve learned to listen to my body and adjust when necessary.
On a very simple level, our weight depends on the number of calories we consume, how we store and how we burn them. Each of these factors is influenced by a combination of genetics and eating habits. Creating healthy habits, instead of jumping from one diet to another is a better way to shed the pounds and to keep them away. Focusing on lifestyle changes versus quick fixes is key, here’s an example of a short term goal compared to a lifestyle change, losing 20 pounds versus learning to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Changes to eating habits require some time and patience, but they work and allow for the long term change to remain. Keep the changes practical and sustainable so that you can permanently adopt them into your everyday life.
I try to eat a balanced diet that contains vitamins and minerals my body needs. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein. I love a salad that has spring mix, veggies, fruit and grilled chicken topped with vinaigrette dressing. Not only is it a balanced, it’s also delicious. I learned to drink more water throughout the day, we tend to forget that we need to stay hydrated at all times. If you’re like me and need a reminder, get a water bottle that you can refill throughout the day. Even as you try to eat foods that are loaded with nutrients, pay attention to the overall amount you consume. Often the serving size is way too big and needs to be cut in half, especially when dining out. Pay attention to how you eat, being more present at meal times leads to better food choices. If you’re not distracted by your phone, computer or TV you’ll stop eating when you’re full and not keep going because you didn’t notice. Cut down on processed and packaged foods, they have a lot of unnecessary ingredients and lack the necessary nutrients and fiber. I get most of my sugar intake from natural sources like fruits. In my house we go through 15 to 20 pounds of fruit per week, we stock up on variety of fruits and berries. My children eat more fruit than any other snack we may have in the pantry, healthy eating habits start at a young age. Incorporate unsaturated fats into your diet such as avocados, nuts and fish which have the good fats our bodies need. The right fat provides energy, helps our organs and allows the body to absorb essential nutrients like vitamins. If you like Avocado then you’re in good shape, avocado is over 70% fat and an excellent source of potassium and fiber. I call that a super food! Another one of my favorite super foods is Quinoa.
Plan out your meals ahead of time, cook on the weekend and divide it up into portions for the week. If you drink alcohol, then do so in moderation. I personally can go months without having a drink, it’s not part of my daily consumption. Don’t let yourself starve, when we’re hungry we can give into not so healthy cravings or eat more than we need because our brains are telling us to eat. By having meals and snacks throughout the day you can prevent this from happening. Did you know it takes about 20 minutes after we start eating for our brain to register that our stomach is full? So the concept of eating at a slower pace and savoring the taste of food comes in really handy here. I will say something for those of us who are parents, we learned how to eat quicker because we don’t have the luxury of savoring our food when the baby is screaming or when a toddler with a short attention span decides they need you in the middle of dinner. Also, be mindful of the timing of meal consumption, eating late at night will make your body store those calories as fat rather than burn them. If you do feel hungry and eat late at night, have an apple or a banana, or couple of crackers with a teaspoon of hummus or peanut butter.
The key here is balance, some days will be better than others. You don’t need to make drastic changes and you don’t have to change your habits all at the same time. It’s best to set small goals and change your eating habits a little at a time. Over time, small changes can make a big difference in your habits.