The new year is here. Maybe a new you? As is often the case with every new year, there’s a “to do list” which may include getting rid of your paunch and boosting your energy level with a healthy eating plan. So, you start thinking about healthy eating, and as usual, it’s very confusing. If only you could come up with some easy steps for healthier eating in 2020 that might even help you lose weight!
And, if you come up with a plan, will your best intentions actually last long enough to get your goals and weight loss accomplished? If your efforts were like most Americans last year, your good intentions may fizzle out around February. Sometimes it’s just too hard to sustain those steps you came up with. They are not realistic for your busy life!
Initial realistic healthy eating steps
For 2020, consider beginning with small painless changes. These tiny changes can make a monumental dent in your bad health, waistline, and poor energy levels. The first suggestions revolve around how you plate your food of all things! How you portion your food and the color of your plates and tablecloths can all make a difference!
Portions and plate size. Focus on smaller portions of all foods placed on smaller plates. It may sound ridiculous, but smaller portions always yield less of all nutrients. That includes both fat and calories, both of which are important in achieving weight loss.
Contrast your plate and food color. Research has suggested that contrasting plate color and food color may aid in prompting smaller food portion sizes. For instance, pasta covered with red sauce served on a white plate would tend to cause less to be eaten. A serving of pasta covered in red sauce served on a red/orange plate would potentially trigger the consumption of a heftier portion! I think because we should be eating a rainbow of colored foods, white plates are often the best color for plates.
But don’t contrast your your plate and tablecloth color! The same researchers also found that food portion sizes could be reduced by limiting contrast between the dinner plate and the tablecloth. So a white plate on a cream tablecloth would be more effective in cutting food portions than a white plate placed on a black tablecloth.
More steps to accomplish healthy eating
Eat more plant based foods every day. Plant based foods yield fiber which fills you up and offers endless health benefits. These plant based foods are rich sources of phytochemicals which help ward off disease. These disease fighting compounds are not found in vitamin pills. They are, however, readily available in whole grains as well as fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables!
Eat less animal protein. You will help your waistline and the planet at the same time. Each 1-oz. serving of animal protein may actually hide as much as a pat of butter in the muscle. By slashing your intake of animal protein, you are also cutting down on saturated fat. Saturated fat is considered to be the type of fat with the least benefit to overall health. For the planet, cutting down on animal protein consumption cuts down on energy usage and pollution.
Drink more water. Sometimes you think you’re hungry, but you are really thirsty! Drink a glass of water automatically before each meal. Include more lighter soups in your diet. The fluid will also fill you up as well as alleviate your thirst. If you don’t like plain water, add more calorie free teas like green tea to your diet. Wondering if you drink enough fluid? Check your urine. If it’s clear to pale yellow then you are hydrating enough.
Get into the habit of planning your eating
Planning does take some practice. It doesn’t matter what is being planned. With that stated, I think it is easier to plan something like a vacation than eating. Because eating happens every day, it is often unplanned. Unfortunately, that lack of planning can often lead to poor choices in food. Starting this food planning process does not need to be difficult.
Start with cleaning out and organizing your food storage areas. You need “tools” to pull off healthy eating. Your tools are healthy foods and ingredients you have on hand to make sure you eat at home more than you eat out!
Make a menu. This doesn’t need to be elaborate. It can be as simple as a sheet of paper posted to your refrigerator. Most people have the toughest time at dinner. Start with planning out a business week of dinner meals and post it where you can easily see it. This will allow you to pull foods from the freezer, use up leftovers, and gather what you need to make your dinners. Once those dinners are planned, you can embrace the process and move on to lunch and breakfast! For fast and nutritious breakfasts, here are some options.
Start out easy by paying attention to how you present food to yourself. Portions of food always matter, so use smaller plates so your portions seem larger than they are. Consider using light colored plates to contrast with colored food in order to eat smaller food portions. Go a step further by making your plate and tablecloth colors similar to aid in smaller food portions.
Moving on to actual eating, choose more plant based foods. By increasing plant based foods and decreasing meat, you are easily improving the quality of your diet. Drink plenty of calorie free liquids to fill you up. Consider planning out your most difficult meals, such as dinner. Get your kitchen organized and make a menu to begin improving your diet each and every day. A little thought and organization is monumental in straightening out a poor quality diet quickly. Remember, small but consistent changes in eating behavior can affect your health for the rest of your life!
Cheers to a better diet for you in 2020.