A Perfect Start To Healthy Eating
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
If you’re struggling with cleaning up your eating habits, then look into these 5 helpful tips!
Long-lasting dietary changes require a solid foundation to begin with. Jumping onto quick fixes or restrictive diets can eventually leave your body feeling stressed, undernourished, and exhausted. If you start your journey with the right tools and habits there’s no doubt that you will follow through with your goals this time around. Why only wait for New Years to begin your journey? Everyday is a wonderful opportunity to start and continue your optimal health journey. Check out these tips you help you get on the right track towards accomplishing and maintaining healthy eating habits!
Track Your Intake
If you aren't sure where to begin with your dietary improvements, then food journaling is the way-to-go. Recording and reflecting upon your daily food intake is key to gaining a deeper insight of your eating style and nutrition education needs. You are able to determine if you lack certain food groups, if you understand portion control, or even if you’re primarily a night-eater. I recommend jotting down every food/drink you consume along with the portion size, timing of intake, and if you feel any uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating or stomach aches. A plus would be to include your emotions and eating environment per mealtime since certain feelings or surroundings can effect our food intake. This method can also help you discover a food choices that may correlate with possible gastrointestinal concerns like food allergies or intolerances. Many online calculators or smartphone apps can estimate your calorie and macronutrient intake based on the food items you input into their program. Food journals are also a great resource to take with you to a nutritional counseling session with your personal Dietitian. Use food journaling to discover nutrition and wellness goals to work on!
Food Tracking Resources:
Other: Download my FREE Mindful Food Tracker
Side Note: There are alternative methods of food tracking if you want to simply make healthier choices without looking at food numbers. If you feel overwhelmed when looking at calories and macros or have a history of an eating disorder, this may be a better method for you. You can use my Mindful Food Tracker to only take note of your food choices for the day to simply assess your habits, progress, and improvement needs. You can also download apps such as Foodility, See How You Eat, or Ate On these apps, you can snap a picture of your meals or add additional side notes for basic food tracking.
Become A Planner
Have you ever experienced those days where you don’t know what to eat so you reach for random snacks in your pantry or just order take-out?
Meal planning is key to avoiding unnecessary fast food trips, snackathons, and even skipping meals. Busy lifestyles can make daily cooking and several trips to the grocery store a major hassle. Planning your meals allows you to have healthy food on hand throughout the week, stick to a food budget, and even helps reduce food waste. To begin, it’s important to envision the upcoming week. Ask yourself which days you will need ready-to-go meals and what days you’ll have time to cook. You can then plan out meals and snacks along with a grocery list. For many, weekends are a preferred time to meal plan, grocery shop, and even prep meals and snacks in advance for the busy days in the upcoming week. This is also a great activity to get your family involved in.
Meal Planning Resources:
Build Balanced Meals
Balanced eating focuses on incorporating portions of different food groups into your meals to provide you with sustained energy and to help you meet your daily nutrient needs. The different food groups include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein, and healthy fats. The food sources you can choose from those food groups to build your meals can depend on your specific health/ dietary needs, religious or cultural considerations, and your personal preferences so you get to enjoy what you eat. It can be helpful to speak with a Dietitian to discuss your needs and preferences to create personalized balanced meals. A simple way to begin is to use the plate method for your 3 main meals which involves diving your plate into 3-4 sections and to fill those sections with different food groups like 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate whole grains, 1/2 plate of veggies. For example, a balanced meal could include grilled chicken breast with cilantro brown rice and a side salad.
Healthy and Balanced Meal Resources:
Include Mindful Mealtime Habits
We live in a fast-paced world that can lead many of us to eat quick, on-the-go, and mindlessly. Imagine how often you pay attention to the qualities of the food you eat, how you chew, if you’re eating for emotional reasons, or how many times you go for seconds that turn into third or fourth servings. Eating mindfully allows you be aware of how, why, and what you eat. You gain a deeper understanding of how food makes you feel. You no longer devour a whole meal in 5 minutes and feel uncomfortably full or eat in response to stress or sadness. Instead, you learn to eat in response to your hunger needs and use all your senses to enjoy your food which increases meal satisfaction. Communicating and connecting with your body is key to lifelong healthy eating habits.
Simple ways to begin include eating without multitasking, chewing food slowly, enjoying food with all senses, and expressing gratitude. This healthy habit will become a part of you after repeated practice!
App(Google Play & App Store): Am I Hungry?
Other: Download my FREE Mindful Checklist! (Highly Recommended!)
Explore Your Palate
If your grocery list sounds exactly the same every week, it’s probably time for you to try some new ingredients. Using the same recipes and ingredients for healthy meals can eventually become tedious and dissatisfying making it even more tempting to swerve off your healthy eating journey. The key to enjoying and maintaining healthy eating is to explore the diversity of food. Try a produce you haven’t before, explore new cultural foods per week, or flavor your usual meals with new spices and herbs. By adding variety to your diet, you also get exposed to a diverse set of nutrients from different food sources.
A great way to begin is to visit an ethnic grocery store in your community or try a new produce you came across at the grocery store. Also, you can support your local farmer’s market and explore new seasonal products. You'll be surprised to find out how diverse your palate can be through trying new foods!
Hungry for more information ? Check out my previous posts below!