What is your favorite healthy meal? Take a moment to think about it. Is it a fresh green salad from your go-to lunch spot? A grain bowl with grilled veggies and protein? A turkey burger with a fried egg (personal favorite)? With so many healthy options out there, it’s pretty tough to get bored, or run out of ideas. But, after spending hours scrolling through #healthyeating Instagram shares, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone’s favorite dish is somewhat different.
I love variety (and color) in my diet, and now more than ever I’m finding tons of healthy and delicious inspiration for my next meal. With so many clean options available, eating mindfully is becoming more accessible and fun. And with me, I’m full of ideas and always a bit hungry.
Healthy eating often gets a bad rap. You often hear people associate “healthy” with strict meal plans, calorie counting, and fad diets–now, that doesn’t sound fun. But, nourishing your body with fresh veggies, healthy fats, carbs, and proteins does a body good, and it’s not all about restriction. When I eat clean I feel better, I sleep better, and I have more energy. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Developing healthy eating habits takes time, but it’s not as confusing or expensive as many people imagine. It’s all about incorporating good habits into your life, one step at a time.
Tip 1: Go For Variety
Eating a variety of food makes it easier for your body to get all of the nutrients it needs. Even some healthy foods may be missing a few nutrients, so eating “a little of this and a little of that” helps ensure you get all of the disease-fighting potential that foods offer. When in doubt, keep the five main food groups in mind when planning out your meals: Protein, Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, and Dairy.
This delicious feast from January Wellness looks mouth-watering.
Tip 2: Keep an Eye on Portion Size
Everything in moderation 🙂 Over the years, both plate and portion sizes have grown, along with our bellies. Even as you eat foods loaded with nutrients, pay attention to the overall amount on your plate. A great way to gauge your portions is to pick up a food scale. In our home, my husband and I like to weigh out some food items, like grains and protein. Not necessarily for “restricting,” but so we get a ballpark idea of what we are eating. At restaurants we opt for small plates and appetizers instead of a full entree. This is also a fun way to try more dishes, and save a few bucks while we’re at it.
Tip 3: Limit processed foods
Growing up you could easily find ten different cereals, cookies, and crackers in my house (who else liked to mix and match?!). But now, I do my best to avoid the treats often found in boxes or jars in the center aisles of the grocery store. High in added sugars, trans fat, and sodium these goodies are often low in fiber, whole grains, calcium, potassium, and more of the nutrients you need everyday. Watch out for packages with claims like “low-fat,” which can be a bit misleading. What makes low fat items taste better? Sugar.
A good rule of thumb is to stay on the outer perimeter at the grocery store. There you’ll find meats and seafood, produce, dairy, eggs, and grains.
Tip 4: Watch your Intake of Liquid Calories
Did you know beverages supply more than 20% of calories in the average American’s diet? That’s a lot of fruit juice, soft drinks, and added sugar. Fruit and veggie juices are a great thirst quencher, but take a look at the Nutrition Label before making your purchase. Juice includes a huge dose of sugar without the fiber and satiation that comes from eating a piece of fruit.
I stick to water as much as possible, and add lemon and cucumber for a bit of flavor. But, if you’re looking for something other than H20 to quench your thirst, opt for unsweetened tea and coffee.
Tip 5: Enjoy your Food!
My husband and I are guilty of eating too fast. And unless you’re a competitive eater, there’s no reason to scarf down your meal super quick. Take the time to sit down and enjoy your food. Socialize, chew more, and drink water. A meal should take about 20 minutes to finish, giving your brain enough time to recognize it’s time to put down the fork. Eating slowly also helps you feel more satisfied.
This also doesn’t mean a treat here and there is off limits. Enjoy your food and allow yourself to splurge once in awhile. It’s tough to resist a good donut or piece of dark chocolate 😉
What are your go-to tips for healthy eating?