Now…what do I do? I’m not a big fan of multivitamins so I try to eat no processed foods and try to sneak up as much nutrients (minerals, vitamins, amino acids and so on..) into my everyday meals. I eat 3 meals a day and usually have 2-3 snacks per day. Studies have shown that in order to keep your metabolism active and avoid letting your hunger get the best of you, you should do this. If you start skipping meals (especially breakfast), by the time you get to lunch you’ll be hungrier and try to compensate by eating MORE. Try to avoid this. I know there are lots of people who aren’t big fans of breakfast but you don’t have to eat oatmeal or make an omelette everyday…If your excuse is that it is too time consuming buy a breakfast bar (there are plenty nutritious ones out there) or cereal you can take on the go or just a fruit! The point is – don’t skip it! SNACKs – personally I believe this should be fruits or veggies – are the perfect chance to get your daily servings. I portion control almost everything and anything. With time you won’t even need measuring cups, you’ll know just by looking at things what is best for you. Anyways, I pack grapes, carrots, apples, etc… I also love to make hummus or yogurt dips and have them in my fridge. I know what some of you must be thinking..with what time?! Well, there are good store bought alternatives, but I like to make my own and it usually takes around 15 min. It takes less time if you have sous-chefs or assistants. This is were my husband comes in. If you have kids, this is a great activity you can do as a family. Kids will learn from you, interact, ask questions and it will be fun to give them little tasks…it will make them feel important and teach them how to help out. LUNCH/DINNER – I eat whole grains about 98% of the time, as I said before the 2% exclusion includes going out, or when I entertain since most guests don’t have my eating philosophy..nevertheless when I host a party I always include healthy options; including whole grain foods and/or fresh fruits or veggies. Whole grains are digested more slowly so it will keep you feeling fuller longer. Iit also helps maintain your glycemic index in balance – in other words your sugar levels won’t get out of control. Plus, it helps “clean” your digestive tract..so you can expect more regular bathroom visits. Eventually your body will get used to this new way of eating and it will regulate itself.
My advice on eating fresh and incorporating fruits and veggies into your diet: plan your meals. I know this is sometimes hard, but when visiting the grocery store think about what types of meals you’ll create in the week so you’ll know what to buy. Since I am mostly vegetarian I have “idea lists”- this helps a lot because usually I have to pack my own lunch and snacks. Make one for “healthy breakfasts/snacks options on the go”, “light lunches” & “dinner ideas”. Also, be conscious about what types of foods perish easily and those that have a longer shelf life. I ALWAYS KEEP FROZEN FRUITS (that have no preservatives, the only ingredient is fruit) IN MY FREEZER. This way – I don’t have an excuse! I keep strawberries, blueberries, papaya and/or mango. I usually buy fresh banana, apples, pears, kiwis, and melon (but not all at the same time!) I also try to rotate my fruits and veggies. If I bought fresh melon this week, I’ll buy kiwis the next. This keeps things interesting. Also try to buy fresh what’s seasonally available. This usually implies that you are buying minimally genetically altered or processed food. About veggies: personally I don’t like frozen veggies, they taste different to me, but if you like them and they have no preservatives, go ahead and simplify your shopping experience. I always have SPINACH on my fridge it’s a SUPER FOOD. Try to replace iceberg lettuce with spinach…another post on this later on, but I’ll tell you this iceberg lettuce has “empty calories” which means it has no nutritional value at all. Spinach on the other hand is one of the major sources of CALCIUM (even more than milk which most people think is where you should be getting it – this is wrong!!).
So those are some of my “go to” healthy living tips. I hope that some of them help you reach your health goal. Another tip – I read once in Women’s Health you should think about where you serve your food – by this I mean the plate size. If you serve your meal on a big plate, you’ll tend to overeat so the plate looks more full. So I use a salad plate as my meal plate…This way my plate is always FULL, but with the right portions. Also, when I am eating something you serve on a bowl like my “black bean mock risotto”, I’ll use a small spoon to eat it. It will take you more time to eat your meal, you’ll enjoy it longer and give your body more time to feel full. Don’t use a big soup spoon because you will finish sooner, feel hungry, and will want another serving! Stay motivated, stay informed, stay inspired!