Today we continue (finally) on my multi-series post and talk about nutrition. While exercise is a huge component of living a healthy lifestyle, I firmly believe that nutrition is the foundation. What you put into your body impacts what you are able to get out of your body (and your mind). The topic of nutrition and diet can be overwhelming and sometimes downright confusing. The important thing is to find a nutrition plan that works for you, your lifestyle and your family. Below I provide some tips to improve on what you are currently doing or help you to start improving your nutrition based on strategies I have used for myself.
Let’s start by all agreeing that there is no one diet that works for every person. There are so many options promoted that it’s hard to really understand what works and doesn’t work. In one diet you can eat fruit. In others, fruit is the enemy. In another plan you can eat carbs, but only an hour after exercising and if it happens to be on a Tuesday. In other diets fats are good and protein is bad. It. Is. Just. Too. Much. Because of this, I am not going to recommend any one named diet plan. What I will recommend is getting back to basics.
- Eat more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and lean proteins.
- Do try to limit the number of processed foods you consume each day. I like to measure this by the number of food packages I open in a day.
- Try to minimize sugary drinks. If this seems too difficult try phasing them out. Move from soda to tea to flavored water them finally to water with lemon.
- This next one seems like common sense, but only eat when you are hungry. Just because it happens to be noon doesn’t mean you have to eat lunch if you aren’t hungry.
- Portion control can be made easier by using smaller plates and bowls. You can also portion out snacks in advance to help minimize binge eating.
- Meal prep is also a great way to keep yourself on track. Set a weekly meal plan and get your family involved with what you will be eating. For lunches, you can prepare these over the prior weekend. Not only will you have better control over your weekday lunches, but you will save time during the week when you don’t have to pull something together each day.
- Along these lines, get your family on board. It is really difficult to make changes if those who live with you aren’t willing to do the same. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to any changes and get everyone involved.
- Finally, if you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it! Monitor the snacks you purchase and don’t buy them if you don’t think you can resist them.
When it comes to changes, make them small to get big results. You may decide to eliminate cereal from your household or limit going out to eat once per week. Whatever small changes you decide to make, they will be easier to stick with if they feel reasonable and then you can continue to layer on additional changes over time. Nothing works for every single person, but by trying to make a few changes, it will feel more manageable.