Thursday, January 8, 2015

10 Ways to Ease Into Healthy Eating in 2015

At the start of the new year, how many times do we hear people say that their resolution is to eat healthier? I'm the same way. I want to eat healthier, but I know the majority of those that resolve to eat healthier at the beginning of the year fail because it's hard to completely change a habit. Gradually making changes, though, are more realistic and can truly impact the way you eat and your health overall.

Today, I'm sharing ten of the ways that my husband and I have eased into healthy eating when it wasn't easy to. We're not perfect, and we definitely don't resist cheese fries or ice cream some days, but for the most part we eat a balanced diet. It's helped us tremendously from feeling more energetic to having less stomach issues to losing weight (even though I'm still working on that). Hoping it helps you, too!

1. In meals that require ground meat, use the leanest variety possible decreasing the amount of cholesterol and fat. You can also use lean ground turkey. We love it for meals, such as chili, casseroles, etc., where the taste difference is negligible and sometimes even tastes better with ground turkey! The amount of fat and cholesterol is actually very comparable between 80-20 ground beef and 80-20 ground turkey, so don't worry too much about choosing one or the other!

2. Baking a ton? All in moderation, but consider adding a healthy ingredient. Ground flaxseed is a great contributor of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber. You can also add it into smoothies, hot or cold cereal, yogurt, dressings, etc. You will barely notice it's there, but the added health benefit is a big win!

3. Substitute white rice or pasta for brown rice, quinoa, etc. Whole grains vs refined grains are so much better for your body and can eliminate abdominal fat. David Ludwig, MD, PhD, of Children's Hospital Boston stated that, "Now that trans fats are largely out of the food supply, refined carbohydrates, including refined grain products, are the single most harmful influence in the American diet today." But there are carbohydrates that are better for you. Whole grains are the way to go.

4. Don't worry about counting calories. I know, I know, it's against what most people say, but you know what? Many dietitians will tell you that counting calories just adds to the stress of eating and that making healthier individual choices overall will make the most significant difference in your diet and lifestyle. So take a break from writing it all down and just focus on reading the label and stick to the foods you know are good for you.

5. Speaking of that... read the labels, and if you don't understand what's in the product, don't buy/eat it. Most ingredients that are hard to pronounce or say (or you haven't heard of) are refined/overly-processed making them much less healthy.

6. Incorporate both vegetables and fruits in a more pleasing way, such as making them into a smoothie. Smoothies are delicious, and there are so many ways to have them. Check out this article for tons of smoothie recipes!

7. Instead of having steak or pork all the time, make sure to rotate with plenty of chicken and fish. Chicken (grilled, broiled) is lean and a great addition of protein to so many meals. Fish such as salmon has so many health benefits, such as high quality protein, essential amino acids, and contains Omega-3 fatty acids and required vitamins.

8. Love milk? Almond milk is a good alternative. It has fewer calories and contains many nutrients. It is also fortified with calcium and Vitamin D in most brands and so is still a proper source of calcium.  It is not a significant source of protein, however, and contains 7 less grams than dairy milk. It can be used in place of milk for almost everything, but be careful when deciding when to use almond vs dairy milk when it comes to making pudding or baking. There are some consistency differences. :) Soy, rice, and coconut milk are also good alternatives and offer lower-calorie options!

9. If you're drinking many sugary drinks a day (including sugary coffee, etc.), try to slowly cut down and replace with fruit-infused water. Fruit-infused water adds more taste to your water, and drinking more water per day helps your skin, metabolism, toxin release, and so much more. Basically, drink water as much as possible!

10. Pack snacks and lunches and take away the option of going out for these meals. Plus, thinking about what you should eat enables you to have the option of incorporating healthy items. Some options that work well for me are apples with just a little natural peanut butter; carrots with hummus; wraps with turkey, lettuce, and tomato; etc. I also pack a huge water bottle every day and try to incorporate fruit as much as possible. It's helped to not eat out so much and to have more healthy snacks that eliminate my hunger and keep me from craving sugary, fatty items!

Meal planning is another great way to plan healthy meals. It allows you to think out what you are going to have before shopping and cooking, and this way you can incorporate many more healthy items into your daily meals. If you haven't checked them out yet, read these posts (Parts 1, 2, 3, & 4) to get started with your meal planning (and couponing!). :)

What's worked best for you when incorporating healthier options into your daily meals?

 photo blog2_zpse65e9159.png

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments make my day! I look forward to hearing from you! -Gen

Much Love!

Much Love!