15 Easy Tips for Better Nutrition

Here at the Club, we hear a lot of talk about diets, eating plans, eating apps (the gadget kind), meal planning, and all the other ways we humans have come up with to try to take control over our weight, or just our health. A lot of them are actually healthy and effective. The problem is that  when they are over (either the length of the diet or your interest in sticking with the plan), so are the benefits. So, for the rest of the time, consider these 15 quick and easy habits that can help you to eat smarter all the time!

  1. Drink plenty of Water: Not only does water help your body perform many functions, it also makes you feel fuller and less likely to overeat. Not sure you’re getting enough water? Check your urine: clear = over hydrated, lemonade color = hydrated, dark yellow = dehydrated.
  1. Catch your Zzz’s: Research shows that those who do not sleep 7-8 hours at night are more likely to be overweight. Why? Sleep deprivation puts your body under physical stress. As a result, a stress hormone called cortisol is released in your bloodstream. It encourages your body to store more body fat and increases your appetite.
  1. Be more aware: Focus on how you feel after eating a meal. If you’re consistently feeling stuffed, try to prevent this at your next meal with healthier choices or smaller portions.
  1. Visualize the outcome you want: Many athletes improve their performance when they use mental imagery. If you’re having trouble making changes, imagine how you want to live a healthier lifestyle. Think about how to make extra time for a yoga class or plan what you want to eat for lunch the next day. You’re much more likely to do it if you think about it.
  1. Don’t think of certain foods as off-limits: If you restrict your favorite foods, you’ll only want them more. Try reducing the portion size by putting more vegetables on your plate and make them an occasional indulgence!
  1. Eat more … (often): Think of your body like a car. It needs gas when the tank hits E. Likewise, your body needs food throughout the day to keep you from running on fumes. Avoid feeling sluggish and hungry by eating every 3-4 hours.
  1. Make your grains whole: Food companies can be deceiving. Look for whole wheat on the package and make sure it is the first ingredient on the label.
  1. Don’t fear fruit: Although fruit is high in sugar, it provides energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It can be a great snack between meals to curb your appetite. Shoot for 1-2 servings per day.
  1. Choose lean meat: Look for key words such as: loin, tenderloin, top round, chuck or extra lean. Choose white meat from poultry without the skin.
  1. Strengthen your bones: Make sure your bones are strong by eating 1000-1200mg calcium per day. You can do so through low-fat dairy (300mg per cup milk), enriched milk alternatives and calcium fortified products, like cereals and OJ. You can also supplement with bok choy, kale, almonds or white beans.
  1. Limit alcohol to weekends: An easy way to improve your diet is to limit liquid calories. My rule of thumb, save alcohol for when you’re with friends on the weekend versus by yourself after a long day of work.
  1. Put the salt shaker down: Instead, pick up spices like garlic, curry powder, cayenne, rosemary, thyme or pepper to add flavor your meals and reduce sodium in your diet.
  1. Emergency snacks: Leave healthy snack packs in your car for busy days. Having a snack available will prevent you from stopping at a gas station for unhealthy options. My favorites are single serve popcorn or nuts and apples.
  1. Think Small: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by media advice that suggests lifestyle overhauls. A better solution is to start with small changes. For example, if you are trying to kick your soda cravings at lunch, replace the fizzy drink with a glass of water 2 days a week and slowly switch to more water over time.
  1. Stop looking for the “magic bullet: There is no miracle pill or food that will make you healthy. (If there was, it would be all over the news.) Eating all foods in moderation and exercising daily is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Be good to your body and it will return the favor.