Easy Ways to Eat Healthier in 2017
January 6, 2017
Believe it or not, being healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive. It’s the little things we do every day that make a big difference for our health (choosing the stairs, choosing yogurt for a snack over a doughnut…). Here are my top 5 easy ways to be a little healthier this year:
Eat fruits and vegetables. One of the easiest things you can do to be a bit healthier is eat more fruits and veggies. Most of us aren’t eating the recommended amounts (5-9 servings per day) in the first place, even though most of us know the incredible health benefits that go along with regular consumption (decreased risk of certain diseases and cancers, heart disease, stroke, overweight/obesity, etc…). Fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, pears, clementines, kiwi, nectarines, peaches and veggies such as carrots, sugar snap peas, mini sweet peppers and grape tomatoes are the original grab-‘n-go foods. Use snacking as a way to get in your fruit and veggie fix for the day by pairing any of the above examples with some heart-healthy walnuts, string cheese or greek yogurt! *While we’re on the subject- all fruits and veggies are healthful- including bananas, potatoes and corn. It’s all about variety and balance!
Ditch dieting and detoxing. These are the opposite of healthy practices, in my book. Healthful eating is about variety, balance, choosing nutrient-dense foods and actually enjoying the foods we eat- not eliminating, restricting or starving ourselves. Make list of all the foods you want to try or recipes you’d like to make (quinoa, avocado, butternut squash, etc.) rather than making a list of all the foods you can’t have. This not only sheds a positive light on foods but if you’re so busy incorporating healthful delicious foods, you won’t have any room for the not so good for you foods.
And on detoxing- I get that sometimes we need a refresher, especially after the holidays where it seems we have one heavy meal after the next. Instead of drinking broth or tea for 3 meals and depriving your body of vital nutrients, load up on veggies, fruits, plant proteins and healthy fats.
Eat more fiber. Protein has been the nutrient in the spotlight lately, but fiber has reason to gloat, too. Current literature suggests that fiber helps to lower risk of certain cancers, stroke, heart disease, aids in lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation and may help with weight management. Not to mention, fiber keeps our digestive tract running smoothly and enhances beneficial bacteria in the gut. Natural fiber sources are also typically packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Good fiber sources include beans, artichokes, avocados, almonds, collard greens, dates, lentils, raspberries, potatoes (eat the skin!), quinoa, apples, oranges (25g per day for women, 38g per day for men).
Practice mindful eating. Eating mindfully is all about being in the present, enjoying the tastes, smells and textures of our foods. It’s also about recognizing when we’re hungry and when we’re full and honoring those hunger and satiety cues. Mindful eating creates a healthy relationship with food and keeps us in tune to our body’s needs, which may help with overeating (you can click here to learn a bit more about the principles of mindful eating).
Jump on the “veggie” bandwagon! If there’s one “food trend” I can get behind, it’s transforming delicious veggies into things people will actually eat! For example, zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, parsnip or rutabaga fries- this is awesome. Why? Not because pasta or rice is bad for you, but because most people aren’t eating enough vegetables and these are fun ways to experiment and incorporate veggies back into our meals (and perhaps entice picky eaters). Try mixing zucchini noodles with whole wheat pasta, or cauliflower rice with brown rice or quinoa as wholesome, veggie-filled , whole grain base for chicken, fish or beans!