I think we can be a bit too stringent in our approach to healthy living. We often go into it with an all or nothing attitude, and can be a bit too demanding on ourselves. It's a recipe for failure in my opinion, especially if we're looking to make changes that we hope to sustain for a lifetime. Below are a few simple, but effective, nutrition conscious choices that should be kept at the forefront of our minds as we strive for good health.
Good nutrition – an adequate, well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity – is a cornerstone of good health. -source
Choose Less Meat and More Vegetables
Obviously, protein is an important part of a healthy diet. But, that doesn't mean you’re required to let it dominate your plate. Think of the vegetables that you pair with your meal as the main dish and treat everything else, including the meat, as the sides.
Choose Fruit Over Sweets
Sugar does our metabolism no favors, sets us up for weight gain, and is an underlying culprit to many diseases. Choose natural sugars instead, in the form of fruit. The fiber included in fresh fruit counterbalances the sugar, makes you regular, reduces bloating and aids in helping you feel full longer.
Choose Smaller Portion Sizes
Portion sizes have increased drastically in this country and is a contributing factor to the rise in the obesity rate. Restaurants these days serve meals that are enough to feed two. Packaged food and bottled drinks usually contain more than one serving, which is often overlooked. Being able to recognize when we're satiated (i.e. satisfied) versus full is the best way to ensure that we're not overeating. Choosing smaller portion sizes helps support this process. Using smaller plates isn't a bad idea either!
Choose Water Over All Other Beverages
It's no question that water is essential to good health It makes up a huge percentage of our body so it's imperative that we replenish with water versus any other beverage as much as possible. Soda, coffee, and even juice, are full of empty calories that add up fast! Make water your first choice as much as possible. And add a little lemon juice to it while you're at it for a bit of flavor and additional health benefits.
As National Nutrition Month comes to an end. Let's all make an effort to make better food choices. The concepts above are simple and perhaps even intuitive, but I recognize that they can be hard choices to make regularly. Take it one meal at a time; committing to mastering one better choice at a time.