Happy New Year’s Eve!!! Do you have any big plans for tonight? Are you setting any new year resolutions?
Me? I’ve never been one for new year resolutions… when I see something I want to change I like to start right away rather than waiting for special day (like January 1 to get started). That said, after the holidays I am definitely ready to re-commit to regular, healthy eating. I was on cookie and treat overload for a few days there. I’ve also been reflecting on my goals for 2014 (in all areas of my life) and coming up with a few for 2015. Maybe it’s new year’s eve excitement or maybe it’s the fact that I’m turning 30 in a couple months, but I feel really pumped about 2015 and what’s to come.
Anyhow, if you happen to be looking to clean up your diet in 2015, I’ve put together a quick list of my top healthy eating tips. I’m sure many of you have seen some of these suggestions before, but I’ve found that having a little reminder is never a bad thing.
As most of you know, I’m all about small changes that can last a lifetime (rather than major diet overhauls or fad diets) so I recommend picking one or two of these tips to focus on this week, then picking a few more next week and a few more the next. Before you know it you’ll be well on your way to eating nutritiously and feeling amazing (even more amazing than you already do)!
Drink more water and skip the soda, sweetened tea and alcohol. We’ve all heard this tip over and over again, but that’s because it’s so important. If you don’t have a water bottle, get one and start keeping track of how much you’re drinking each day. I take my water bottle with me everywhere!
If you do drink alcohol, do so in moderation and stick with lighter options like red wine or vodka with soda water.
Avoid processed and packaged foods and increase your intake of fresh, whole foods. Adding in wholesome foods means you are crowding out unhealthy ones. Skip foods that come in a package, especially those with an incredibly long shelf life.
Shop the perimeter of your grocery store — that’s where the fresh food is! There are some hidden gems in the inner aisles, but be label savvy and don’t get tricked by health claims.
Even though packaged foods and fast food may seem to have a cheaper price tag, their consumption can lead to health issues that will cost you a lot more down the road.
At each meal think about having a serving of lean protein along with a wholesome carb (whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, beans, fruit or starchy veggies) and healthy fat option. Thinking about meals this way makes it so easy to come up with different combos.
Eat your greens! Green vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Eat them as often and as much as you’d like. This includes all leafy greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, etc.)
Cook at home more. You’ll likely make better food choices, eat less and save money. It’s a win-win.
Preparation is key! Plan your weekly meals and do your grocery shopping ahead of time so you always have wholesome foods at hand. Check out my recipe page if you need healthy recipe ideas.
Watch your portion sizes. This is especially important when eating healthy foods because we often like to think that if something is healthy we can eat as much as we want.
Beware of super-sized plates. Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. When you finish what’s on your plate, pause and sense your fullness before going for seconds.
Portions are huge at restaurants. When you are eating out order appetizers as main course, put half of your order in a to-go bag before you dig in or share an entrée with a friend.
Avoid the health food halo effect. Gluten-free crackers and chips are still processed carbs, vegan cookies are still cookies, and coconut sugar, raw cane sugar and other natural sweeteners are still sugar. These foods may sound “healthier” than their regular counterparts (and they may be) but they’re still treats.
Remember that you are unique. There’s no plan or way of eating that works for everyone. You have to find what foods work for you body by trial and error. As a health coach, I can teach you about healthy foods, provide recipes and give advice but only you actually feel what specific foods do to your body.
Be mindful. In today’s society we’re all about multi-tasking, so almost everyone eats while doing other things — driving, walking, talking, watching tv, looking at their phone, on the computer, etc. This is not a good thing!
Manage your time and plan ahead so you can sit down and eat your food without doing anything else. It’s amazing what being present can do — you’ll likely find that you’re more observant of how full you’re feeling, more satisfied after the meal and you’ll probably eat less than if you’d been mindless munching.
Treat yourself. As I always say, eating healthy has to be a lifestyle… one that involves moderation and balance. Healthy eating can (and should) include your favorite foods from time to time — wine, chocolate, cookies — whatever foods you absolutely love, you can’t simply stop eating them or you will feel deprived and deprivation is never a good thing.