5 Tips to Healthier Eating
October 7, 2020
In my last post we talked about easy ways to increase your activity level, now let’s take a look at healthy eating habits. Developing healthier eating patterns that deliver lasting results, starts with baby steps and simple techniques. For most of us, nutrition is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few simple steps to get you going on the right track.
1. Mindful Eating and Appetite Awareness
Mindful eating and being aware of your appetite are powerful tools which help you know your body and listen to what it’s telling you. These techniques will help you to learn your body’s hunger cues as well as its fullness cues.
A simple way to start with mindfulness is to remove all distractions from your eating environment and create a relaxing space. Take the time to eat and listen to your body. Take longer to chew your food and take sips of water in between bites. This will allow your stomach the time it needs to tell you when it’s getting full, as well as help increase your water intake. When we eat in a hurry or when we’re distracted, we end up eating more than we should. Slowing down will allow you to learn to feel your body’s fullness cues. If this is done consistently, you will be more in tune with your body and what it’s telling you, whether you are hungry and need to eat, or whether you are getting full and need to stop.
2. Know How Much to Eat to Reach Your Goals
Once you learn your fullness cues, you can take on either eating until you are 60-80% full– if you have weight loss goals-or eating until you are 110% full–if you are trying to gain weight and muscle. For example, those trying to lose weight would eat until they are 60-80% full at each meal. This will allow them to take in less calories at each meal, helping them to lose weight without feeling like they’re starving.
Knowing your body and what it’s telling you will also enable you to differentiate between true hunger and hunger due to emotional reasons or boredom. Knowing your fullness cues and being aware of how your body feels, helps you to stop and ask yourself “am I truly hungry right now?” Taking that little extra step and asking yourself that question will often keep you from eating when you really don’t need to, which will result in your consuming less unnecessary calories throughout the day. Yay!
3. Add a Serving of Veggies (or an extra serving if you already do this) to Each Meal
Veggies, eating the rainbow that is, is one of the best things you can do to help your body get the vitamins and minerals it needs each day. Having a variety of colors in your vegetable selection ensures that your body has what it needs to stay strong and healthy.
Also, the more veggies you load on your plate, the less you will eat of whatever else is on your plate, so don’t be shy.
4. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Fruit
Fruits, like vegetables, have tons of vitamins and minerals that the body thrives on. Substituting a piece of fruit for a sugary treat will not only help lower your sugar intake, but if you are consistent, your sugar cravings will naturally decrease. Talk about a win-win!
5. Last, but certainly not least…. add more protein.
The name “protein” is derived from ancient Greek “protos,” meaning “first,” or “most important.” Protein is considered one of the body’s building blocks. It is an important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses it to build and repair tissues and to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals.
Protein, along with carbohydrates and fat, is a macronutrients meaning the body needs large quantities of it to thrive. It’s the only macronutrient that the body cannot store and therefore has no reserves to draw on when it needs a new supply. The only way to provide the body with the protein it needs is to consume it in sufficient quantities.
Having a protein-rich diet supports the development of lean muscle tissue and a healthy body composition. It helps you feel satisfied when you eat, and since it takes longer to digest, you will feel fuller longer, which will help you eat less. So, add some high-quality lean protein to your meals and snacks thought the day and you will be surprised at how much better you feel overall.
Kristin Mather CPT, CrossFit L2, PN L1, has been training and coaching since 2011. She works with men and women of all ages and abilities and helps them achieve a more active, healthier lifestyle.