Want to improve your health and nutrition but don’t really know where to begin? Are you exercising, but didn’t realize proper nutrition is also vital to a healthy body? Here are 10 suggestions that you can use to start eating and feeling better!
10 smart nutrition habits
1. Eat within an hour of waking to stimulate your metabolism. Having something quick and ready to go is helpful. Whey protein shakes; boiled eggs, or pre-made oatmeal bars are great. (Bars that you cook for yourself; future recipe to be posted!) Even a piece of toast with peanut butter and a banana is quick to make. Green juices or smoothies can even be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days for convenience! (Read our upcoming blog re: Why juicing is so good for you!)
2. Pre-cut your vegetables and pre-cook snacks (which you can do the night before or a few days before). Personally I like to boil the whole carton of eggs, grill up several chicken breasts, and precook my oatmeal bars all at once on Sundays, and have them ready for the week. I chop up red peppers, celery, cucumbers and carrots and store them in snack bags for a quick grab. It’s also helpful to make extra when you cook meals during the week, so you always have leftovers in the fridge for a quick snack or lunchtime meal.
3. Cut back on sugar, real and fake!
Major food culprits include:
Fast and processed food: Fast and processed food manufacturers add sugar to encourage your body to want more.
Cereals: If sugar is listed within the first 3 ingredients, don’t buy it!
Bread and baked products
Juice and canned fruits
Flavored dairy products, such as yogurts
Ready meals and convenience foods
Sodas and other manufactured beverages
Recognize that sugar has many names:
Fructose and crystalline fructose; high-fructose corn syrup. Avoid HFCS at all costs!
Although honey is great is small doses such as in tea and oatmeal, stevia is an extremely sweet non-caloric herb that is also a good substitute for sugar.
4. Keep these basic foods in the house at all times.
Coconut oil: Despite the bad rep it’s gotten in the past, a small amount each day is great for energy as well as fat loss. Having a teaspoon by itself will quell sugar cravings right away and it’s also great for cooking! I personally use a tablespoon to cook Tofu in, and also use it for oil pulling
Organic protein powder: A great back up for a meal if need be, and also excellent post Pilates or any exercise regime. See below for my favorite brand!
A great nut and seed mix: Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats that help keep us heart healthy and disease free. They are also a great source of protein, minerals, and other life-enhancing nutrients. Just be careful not to overdo it; they are high in calories, so a handful is plenty
Frozen organic vegetables
Greek organic yogurt: I think all dairy eaten should be organic. Greek yogurt is great as it is high in probiotics, the good bacteria, and a good source of protein. Stick with plain and add berries, versus buying the flavored kinds loaded with sugar!
Dark chocolate: at least 85% as it’s higher in antioxidants and lower in sugar. Keep serving size small!
Flax oil or ground flax seeds; use as a salad dressing or the ground flax seeds in yogurt
Avocado: a great fat that can be used as a snack on its own or sliced into meals
Frozen berries: add them to yogurt or your protein shake, or enjoy with some chocolate and red wine
5. Write out a weekly meal plan, or at least a quick 2-3 day meal plan.
Jot down or at least mentally note what you plan to eat over the next few days. Make a note of the food that needs to be cooked, and make a shopping list accordingly before you head to the store. Being prepared ahead of time will increase your chances of buying healthy.
6. Keep back up protein options in the freezer at all times. Always keep at least a few sources of protein in the freezer for those times when you don’t get around to shopping; Organic Chicken, fish, and lean beef are great options
7. Find fun and tasty ways to eat foods that can be rather bland.
Some of the healthiest foods occasionally need a bit of spicing up to enjoy
Kale: Bake them with a bit of olive oil in the oven, and eat them like chips!
Tofu cooked in coconut oil; sprinkle a bit of salt and cayenne pepper on it and it tastes like popcorn!
Another great snack is baked crispy chickpeas in the oven. With just a bit of olive oil and salt, they are great to snack on during the week and taste amazing!
8. Be smart about snacking
It’s common that when we get busy we either forget to snack or we find something quick and junky. Instead of going for sugary foods, keep a trail mix at the office/in the car/ and at home, and not the kind that includes M&Ms 🙂 Other healthy options: Organic string cheese, plain yogurt or cottage cheese, apples, a bag of pre-chopped veggies (carrots, cucumber, celery, peppers), a boiled egg, Kale chips, or pre-made Tofu squares.
9. Have a post workout snack always ready to go
Any of the above would be fine actually, but a protein shake is the easiest and smartest option, especially straight after toning your muscles. Personally I love BioTrust; in my opinion it is the best tasting and healthiest chocolate protein out there, but it is sold online only! Just remember you’ll still need to eat some solid food 30-60 minutes after that.
10. Allow yourself one cheat day where you treat yourself to an indulgence
If you’ve been eating healthy all week and have cut out sugars, your body (and brain) does benefit from a cheat day. Choose which meal you are going to splurge on, and decide in advance what your treat will be one day a week as to avoid eating junk all day.
Hope a few of these tips will help you become a bit healthier and happier!! Happy eating;)