What you eat each day affects how you feel and your overall health and well-being. Proper nutrition plays a very important role in helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Creating healthy eating habits does not have to be difficult and I encourage clients to only make small changes at a time. Making small changes can truly impact your eating habits, providing lasting habits that become a part of your lifestyle. Here are three basic principles you can focus on, one step at a time, to create healthier eating habits for a healthier lifestyle.
1. Prepare Healthy Snacks
Preparing snacks ahead of time makes you more likely to eat them in the future. What is present is what you eat. Making sure these snacks are nutritious like cutting up fruits or vegetables will make them easier to grab on the go. Peppers, carrots, berries or orange slices are all simple foods that are nutritious and easy to prepare. Pairing these fruits and vegetables with a healthy dip such as honey or peanut butter can make them more enjoyable. Prepare your snacks and meals ahead of time on your day off or during the weekend to assure you have the nutritious foods you need for the week.
2. Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks
It can be difficult to get in your water, but staying hydrated is extremely vital to your health especially in the hot summer months. Soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks can contain unnecessary amounts of sugar and calories our bodies do not need. Steer away from these types of drinks and replace them with water is a huge principle of healthy eating. There are multiple ways you can add flavor to your water to make it more tasteful and easier to get in the hydration. I like to add fresh fruits such as; lemon, lime, strawberry, or mint to my water to make it more refreshing.
3. Eat Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential to getting an adequate intake of nutrients in a day. One of my favorite ways to incorporate fruit is to make smoothies. You can add a scoop of protein powder or peanut butter to add some protein to your smoothie. Smoothies are an easy and simple way to get in your fruits and vegetables that actually taste good. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your plate at meal times and trying to fill your plate with half fruits and vegetables is another suggested principle of healthy eating. The more colorful your plate is, the more likely you are getting the nutrients and vitamins you need.
Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce
All in all, making sudden and dramatic changes to your diet while restricting foods you do enjoy will lead to short-term weight loss without sustaining lasting results. This is why reflecting, replacing, and reinforcing is important when improving your eating habits. You want to REFLECT on your eating habits and consistent food triggers you may have that leads to unhealthy eating. Secondly, you want to REPLACE small changes to your current unhealthy eating habits and exchange them for healthier choices. Lastly, you want to REINFORCE healthier and new eating habits while making sure to keep yourself accountable for the small changes you make at a time.