Did you make a promise to eat better this year? I know it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the latest healthy eating trend, or the top “superfood” ingredient. However, good nutrition is really about consistently choosing healthier foods and beverages most of the time. I remind my clients and patients that consistency is the key to improving their health. Staying consistent with your healthy eating patterns will lead to life-long changes.
I want to share a few simple strategies that you can incorporate into your busy lifestyle right now.
Strategies for Eating Better
- Slow down. Do you finish your meal in 5 minutes or less? Taking a moment to chew your food thoroughly before you swallow helps with digestion. Put your eating utensil down when you start chewing and don’t pick it back up until you have swallowed all your food.
- Make half your grains whole. Whole grains include grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye, and popcorn. Whole grains have valuable nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and ﬁber. Start your day with a whole grain like amaranth or food made with bulgur or millet.
- Increase calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D work together to promote optimal bone health. Drink a fortified dairy or non-dairy beverage with your meals. Include spinach, collard greens, bok choy, and mushrooms, in your vegetable dishes. Pack your lunch with a packet of tuna or a can of sardines once a week. Sardines with bones have more calcium than sardines without bones.
- Cook at home. Cooking at home means you eat fewer calories without even realizing it. Restaurant meals are often loaded with butter, salt, and sugar. That’s why eating out tastes so darn good. When you cook at home you control which ingredients you use and their quantities.
- Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals causes the body to lower its metabolism, can lead to weight gain, makes you feel tired and weak, and causes headaches. Eat regularly during the day–every 3-4 hours work for most people. Always carry a snack with you such as fruit, unsalted nuts, fruit and nut bars, whole grain crackers, and nut butter.