Many of us made New Year’s resolutions this year that include the goal of living a healthier lifestyle. However, it is at this point in the year when some of those resolutions begin to fizzle out, or when the dreary winter may cause us to lose sight of the smart eating habits we once followed.
So consider this my effort to try to assist you (and myself) in staying, or getting back, on track. Because there is already so much healthy eating information available, I thought it would be helpful to compile a few of the best tips I came across during my own search for helpful ideas:
- Eat breakfast: If you’re anything like me, mornings around the house are something resembling a tornado of activity with little time to think, let alone eat breakfast. Before you know it, it’s lunch time and breakfast is a distant memory. The overwhelming evidence is that you shouldn’t skip breakfast. It kick starts your metabolism, it fuels your body and studies show that it actually makes weight management easier. There’s a reason they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I used to skip breakfast all the time. But not anymore. For years now, I have made certain to have some yogurt and/or a piece of fruit the moment I arrive at my desk.
- Drink water: It seems like such simple advice, but this is also something we may frequently ignore. Drinking water is important to your overall health and it helps with every system in your body. Even better, if you drink enough water it can help curb some of those pesky food cravings. The Institute of Medicine has determined that the average need for men is around 13 cups of total beverages a day, and for women about 9 total beverages. Those beverages are judged to be 8-ounce glasses. While water is the best source, remember that food and other drinks can help you get to your daily goal. Be mindful that regular exercise may add to the amount of water you need each day.
- Put some color in your diet: Not only does it spice up your meal’s appearance, colorful fruits and vegetables are also incredibly healthy for your body. Greens like kale and broccoli provide vitamins A, C, E and K, zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron. Sweet veggies like corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams and squash can reduce cravings for other sweets, and fruits give you the added benefits of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Pay attention to your plate: As we’ve discussed here before, portion control can be essential to your diet and health. Take a look at what is on your plate. MyPlate suggests that fruits and vegetables make up half of your plate, with grains making up ¼ and protein making up another ¼. MyPlate also points out that dairy should be included in your meal choice, too. This may be a little difficult for some, but if you strive for something close to the guidelines, you’re bound to make healthier choices.
- Pay attention to how you eat: We’ve already talked about how busy we all are, and eating unhealthy food options may often times be easier or more convenient. But fighting that urge can really make a difference! Try eating with family or friends whenever possible. You’re more likely to make healthy choices and eat slower when you’re talking and laughing. Also, pay attention when you’re eating. When your body tells you to stop eating, actually stop. This is easier to do when you are eating at a slower pace and enjoying each bite.
While these are just a handful of suggestions, they should help most everyone, from children to grandparents and everybody in between. These are basics that can serve as the foundation of any healthy lifestyle. If you can master these, you may be well on your way to making smarter food choices (and healthier living habits) each day. Best of luck in meeting your healthy eating goals!