If good nutrition wasn’t at the top of your priority list in 2020, nobody could blame you. We’ve had a few other things on our minds. But it’s never too late to start incorporating better eating habits into your lifestyle, and they don’t have to be drastic or difficult for you to benefit. Here are a few suggestions for easy ways to sneak Healthier Eating Habits and better nutrition onto your plate:
Ditch the “all or nothing” mindset. Your health is a series of decisions over time. It’s not ruined forever by your food choices you’ve made during the pandemic; nor is it dashed by the ice cream you ate for dinner last night. Each day is an opportunity to start fresh with small steps.
Portion it out. Instead of banishing all sweets from your kitchen, consider portioning them into individual servings and consuming just one. Serving size is what trips a lot of us up, and that’s understandable. It’s easy to misgauge how much ice cream you’re scooping from a half-gallon or how many chips you’re consuming straight from the bag. Individually portioned snack bags are more expensive, but often worth it if you struggle with portion size and your budget allows. Otherwise, you can a portion them out yourself in individually sized snack bags or containers. Pay attention to the serving size recommended on the back of the bag or box. Those serving sizes admittedly seem ludicrously small, but you can round them out with a healthier side – a piece of fruit, string cheese, baby carrots and hummus, Greek yogurt, or a serving of almonds, to name just a few examples.
Pay attention. How many of us watch TV or scroll our laptops, tablets or phones while eating? In no time, you may have not only lost track of what you’ve consumed, you probably didn’t notice how good it tasted, either. Turn on some music instead. Strive to be more mindful, and you’re likely to notice faster how much you’re consuming and when your stomach is telling you that you’re done.
Be flexible. If it’s noon, it’s lunchtime, right? A lot of us are working from home right now, but those in-office habits may be hard to break. If you’re not hungry, you’re not hungry. There’s no rule that says you have to eat. Aim to stay hydrated throughout your day (keeping a full water bottle within arm’s reach is the most effective way to do that), and you may find that you’re becoming less of a clock-watcher and more of an intuitive eater.
Get more bang for your buck. Fiber, fats and protein and are among the choices that are likely to keep you full for a stretch. Lean meats, eggs, nuts, beans, veggies and skin-on fruits, hummus, tofu, and whole grains are all smart choices.
Strive for whole over processed. Nothing radical here – just aim for foods that are as close to the real thing as possible. For example, a skin-on apple versus apple juice, a baked sweet potato instead of sweet potato fries, natural peanut butter versus a product with added sugars and oils.
Trick your eyes. It can be difficult and not terribly satisfying to sit down to a small portion of your favorite foods. Here’s the thing, though – you don’t necessarily have to skimp on serving size if you make a partial substitution on your plate. For example, if you’re accustomed to enjoying a bowl full of pasta, cut your pasta down by half and load up the rest of the bowl with your favorite roasted vegetables. You’ll still enjoy a big, satisfying portion that sticks to your ribs – and your stomach won’t be any wiser.
Regular exercise honors the little changes you’re making on your plate. The New Year is the perfect time to experiment with something new in your routine. Tiger-Rock Martial Arts of Hutto can help you get started. You’ll enjoy the camaraderie that comes from working out alongside teammates who encourage you to be your best. To learn more or to get started, contact us today.