Perhaps it was your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but life got in the way or your cravings for salted, fatty foods are getting the best of you.
Sticking to a nutritious diet can be hard! Many people have trouble eating healthy throughout the week because of their busy schedules, cravings, or because it’s simply convenient to eat unhealthy foods.
To celebrate National Nutrition Month in March, we offer six ways you can focus on a nutritious diet. These tips will help you save money by pacing your intake, avoiding the convenience stores, and scheduling food preparation.
If you stick to these tips you could see an improvement in your health, weight, and energy!
Tip 1: Buy leafy greens
Eating leafy greens like spinach and kale helps boost your immune system. They are “super foods” because they are strong sources of vitamins and antioxidants. They also fit well into many meals.
If possible, buy your greens—and other foods--in bulk to save money and time. You can divide the ingredients into portions and prepare your meals for the rest of the week ahead of schedule.
Tip 2: Drink water
Say no to sweetened drinks and yes to water. Drinking 64 ounces of water—an equivalent of 8 glasses-- throughout the day helps cleanse your body, and avoids those added sugars that aren’t healthy. Filling up on water also helps you balance food intake throughout the day. If you feel full, you’ll eat less. Plus, refilling a reusable canister with tap water is free and better for the environment!
Tip 3: Eat a healthy breakfast
It’s important not to skip meals, and breakfast is the most important one! Start your day off by eating a large, healthy breakfast with multi-grains, fruits, or lean proteins. Protein is thought to help prevent overeating later in the day. Eating a big breakfast can to help satisfy hunger cravings and, possibly, keep off excess weight.
Some nutritious breakfast foods include:
- Whole grain cereals
- Peanut butter
- Natural ham (not processed)
- Turkey (grilled or baked)
The American Dietetic Association suggests wrapping two slices of turkey with low-fat cheese in a tortilla or whole grain English muffin. It’s also a nutritious sandwich to grab-on-the-go!
These tips will help you avoid picking up extra snacks or unhealthy foods — like that bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich – during the day or on the way to work.
Tip 4: Avoid processed foods
Processed meals are foods that have been altered from their natural state. Whenever you go shopping, ask yourself if you can grow or raise the product you’re buying. If not, don’t eat it. Too many processed foods include harmful chemicals that add color or modify foods. Genetically modified foods have been linked to diabetes and brain or liver damage. It’s best to stick to natural ingredients in your meals.
Tip 5: Eat smaller portions
Eating smaller portions helps control your hunger. Estimate serving sizes for certain foods. You can estimate by using measuring cups or looking at the serving size on the back of the container. As a general rule, most food measurements should be about the size of your palm.
If you want to have a few healthy sweets—like pretzels or dark chocolate—only eat small handful at a time. An easy way to watch your portions is by measuring it out first or putting it in small containers.
Tip 6: Eat slowly
Remember, if you eat slowly, you’ll eat less. Normally, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to process that your stomach is full, so you can avoid extra calories. You might even enjoy your meal more if you savor it with each bite.
If you start your week by following these tips, then the rest will fall into place. Although, sticking to routines and resolutions are hard, be mindful of your health. Your body—and wallet—will thank you in the long run!
The Salter School is a private career school with four locations in Massachusetts. Our career training is focused on healthcare, with options to become a Professional Medical Assistant, Massage Therapist, or Health Claims Specialist. Contact us today to learn more about our training programs or schedule a tour!