Between “Dr. Google” and all the nutrition books available, it’s no wonder people are confused on how to get on track with healthier eating. Many clients tell me it seems the recommendations are always changing, and it makes for a lot of confusion on how to actually eat well. In reality, eating well is not difficult if you can remember some simple steps and strategies to get started. By following these eating strategies, it’s almost a guarantee that your diet will improve.
- Add plenty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables to your diet all day and each day. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds that can lessen your risk for diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The more colorful your diet, the richer your diet is in anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Decrease your animal protein intake. Most people eat way too much animal protein. By decreasing your animal protein, you are decreasing your fat consumption which can be a good thing if you are trying to manage your weight. Even if you are not trying to manage your weight, cutting down on animal protein will decrease saturated fat which can lessen inflammation. And your kidneys, they can benefit from a lower protein intake as well because they do not need to work so hard!
- Limit your restaurant and carry out food. I have never met a client that was able to lose weight and eat restaurant/carry out food on a daily basis. Consumer beware: most restaurant/carryout food is higher in sodium, calories, and fat than the counterpart item prepared at home. Check menus and nutrition information in advance of dining out. I had a client recently that ordered a so-called healthy salad at a chain restaurant thinking it was a good choice; unfortunately, the calories clocked in at 1400. It’s a good thing she expended a lot of calories that day!
- Take advantage of convenience foods at the grocery store. I guarantee a Healthy Choice, Kashi, or even Lean Cuisine frozen dinner is going to stack up with less calories, sodium, and fat that your average carry out meal. Plus, it’s all portion controlled so if you are tired, you don’t need to think too much. Add a healthy beverage and a fruit/vegetable and your meal will be pretty nutritionally rounded.
- Meals can be large snacks and you don’t NEED to cook. Is it a problem to eat cereal for dinner? I don’t think so! Have that cereal with milk or a milk alternative, some fresh fruit, an it’s a rather nutritionally adequate and satisfying easy meal. By choosing a higher fiber unsweetened cereal you have improved the quality of your meal dramatically. Not into cereal for dinner, then try a simple fruit smoothie made with some milk for another nutrient dense snack. Ever think of adding cottage cheese to the smoothie? It makes the smoothie taste like cheesecake!
Once you get used to these simple strategies, you will see how easy healthy eating can be!
What are your healthy eating strategies?