5 Simple Ways to Eat Healthier Today
Friday, March 17, 2017
LifeTime WeightLoss in Anika Christ, eat healthy

Spring is one of the best times of the year to start eating healthier. There’s that certain feeling in the air that makes us crave change and new beginnings. The first quarter of the year (and New Year’s resolution energy) is behind us, coupled with the realization that swimsuit season is coming, making it a great time of year to revisit your health and nutrition goals.

But when it comes to eating healthier, it doesn’t always mean that you have to completely overhaul your diet. In fact, when working with clients, I find most often, they just need new ideas. They want an action plan that gets them out of a rut and focused on eating clean.

Below I’ve listed five strategies that can help you eat healthier today (like now). As always, long term nutrition can take time and effort. Yet, it helps having the guidance of a coach to give you personalized recommendations. But if you are feeling a little extra spring motivation when it comes to making some changes, let these tips be your guide to get your eating moving in the right direction.

1. Double your protein serving. 

Seriously. Most people don’t get enough protein. And although many of my clients regularly eat a good amount of protein at dinner time, they fall short at every meal prior to that.

Getting ample protein not only helps support a lean body, but it also works great at suppressing appetite, supporting energy and fueling your body. For many of my clients, one of the easiest tactics we start with (prior to taking away any food), is simply focusing on getting ample protein at each and every meal.

The goal for most people, numerically speaking, is about 1 gram of protein for every pound of weight they carry. For men, a healthy portion at meal time should be about two palms’ worth in size while females can get away with one palm size. Think about that amount and if you are really getting that at each meal throughout the day. Also know that restaurant portions typically under-serve on the protein front. So for most, it’s advised to order “double-protein” when eating out. 

If you need more guidance on what foods are high in protein or other ways of getting more in, check out this article.  As you are reading this post, think about your remaining meals of the day and where you can increase your portion.

2. Eat slower than ever.

Although eating slower has proven to provide a ton of health benefits (including your digestive health and immune system), the best part about eating slowly is that it really helps you determine how full you feel. And it’s something you can focus on immediately without changing anything about what you are eating.

Although it takes almost thirty minutes for your stomach to catch up to your brain to signal that it’s full, most of us chow down every meal far before that timeframe and tend to overeat.

I like the goal of eating until you are about 80% full. And focus on eating healthy protein and fiber rich foods first. You can’t really gauge that fullness factor if you are eating too fast.  Practice putting your fork or spoon down in between bites, having conversation at mealtime and actually eating at a table.

3. Add some greens to your protein shake.

If you’re an avid reader of the blog, you know we have a love affair with protein shakes. Making your own at home is a super convenient way to pack a ton of nutrition into something that is easy to make and easy to take on-the-go.

The base of every great shake usually starts with optimal macronutrients – quality protein, a little healthy fat and a little carbohydrate. If you are like most people, your ingredient list for a shake might include protein powder, a little almond or natural nut butter and some frozen fruit.  But why not add in some non-starchy greens like spinach or kale to amp up the vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants found in this food group. They not only add in nutrition, but don’t change the taste of the shake at all.

Another great add to a shake, nutritionally speaking, that also provides a little more flavor would be using a greens product such as the Life Greens.  My favorite has been the double chocolate that I add to my chocolate protein shake (water, 1 Tbsp of almond butter, 1/3 of a fronzen banana) but you could also use the Life Greens as a way to increase your water intake as well throughout the day. Just add a scoop to every 8-10 ounces of water.

4. Eat a salad for at least one of your meals each day.

Here’s my take on salads. If they have the right fundamentals, they are a great way to get a good balance of nutrients. They should have a foundation of vegetables (think spinach, kale, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc), have ample protein (see protein serving sizes above) and an appropriate serving of healthy fats. 

Now, although salads are super convenient and accessible when dining out, most restaurant or fast casual dining salads tend to lack enough protein (order double) and usually have added sugar-filled ingredients, including dressings and other fixings like dried fruit. Don’t be afraid to modify or ask for all the extras on the side (or go without) so you can control all the additions. 

Consider packing a salad each day for your lunch or consider it as an option for breakfast. When I do a morning workout at the club, I’m known for grabbing a salad from the LifeCafe as my post-workout breakfast.

5. Track your food

Everyone has a little resistance around tracking their food. For most of my clients, they’ve at some point in their life learned to hate it. Whether it be they spent too much time focusing on the numerical value of food (grams and calories) or it took too much effort out of their day.

What I’ve always loved the most about food tracking or journaling is that it amps up your accountability. There’s something about writing down what you ate or drank that helps direct your choices throughout the remainder of the day and week. And it doesn’t have to be meticulous logging through an application or online database (although that is extremely helpful and detailed). Start by recording in a notebook or logging photos with your phone throughout the day. 

Tracking energy, mood, water intake and sleep can also help show if there are certain environmental factors that shift the way you eat. I can’t tell you how many of my clients simply eat better solely because of the accountability food journaling provides to them along with to their coach.

 

Hope you enjoyed reading!  If you like above and want to take it further with a personal plan with one of our Nutrition Coaches email weightloss@lifetimefitness.com to get connected.

 

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager – Life Time Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader

Article originally appeared on LifeTime WeightLoss (http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.