So, you’re following MyPlate and ready to eat healthy. You’re eating your five fruits and vegetables a day. You’re eating your grains and dairy and protein. Great! You’re busy, I know. So, here are some tips to help you make eating healthy easier.
Tip #1 – Bring some food with you on a daily basis. I used to bring a soft-sided cooler with me to work every day. I brought every single meal that I was going to eat that day in that cooler. Now, I know that may be a little extreme, but I never wanted to be without healthy food. As I mentioned the other day, restaurants like to add sugar, salt and fat to foods. I know that whatever I bring with me is good for me. If you get hungry in the middle of the day, do you really want to rely on whatever is in the vending machine to satisfy your hunger? Or do you want to reach into your cooler and grab an apple or veggies?
Tip #2 – I don’t know who came up with the idea of eating three meals a day, but that’s not really how people eat. You may eat three main meals a day, but let’s face it, you do snack during the day. I used to eat lunch at 11:30 am, so by 3 pm, I was hungry again. So, I had a snack. Following Tip #1, I had a piece of fruit or some veggies to snack on at 3 pm.
Tip #3 – Which leads me to the fact that it’s better to eat five or six smaller meals a day than it is three. The reason is two-fold. 1) If you eat a huge meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, your body can’t utilize that much food at once. It will take what it needs for the next few hours, and store the rest. That’s how you accumulate fat. However, if you eat smaller meals (around 400 calories), then your body doesn’t have a reason to store anything. It will use everything that you eat. 2) Your body burns calories when it digests food. It takes energy (i.e., calories) to break down food into the nutrients that the body can use. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food. Also, humans cannot digest fiber. Your body will try and try and fail, burning calories along the way. Celery is considered a negative calorie food because your body will burn more calories trying to digest it than the celery inherently has.
Tip #4 – Prepare foods in advance. You can either do this at night, after work, or on a day off before your work week starts. I was so busy during the work week that I really didn’t have much time to cook for the next day. So, every Sunday afternoon, I’d fix all my food for the work week. I’d wash and peel and cut up food and put them in individual-sized containers. I’d bake an entire package of chicken so I had it for lunch or dinner for the next few days. Then, before I went to sleep at night, I’d pack my cooler, stick it in the refrigerator and just pull it out before I went to work in the morning.
Tip #5 – If you have unhealthy food in your house, get rid of it! Start opening up your kitchen cabinets and throw the bad foods out. Donate the foods to a shelter. Give the foods to a neighbor. Just get rid of it! If I have chocolate in my house, I’ll eat it. So, I don’t buy it, plain and simple. If you’ve decided to get healthy, but your significant other does not and refuses to change his or her diet, hide the bad foods. I worked with someone once who had powdered donuts and crappy food sitting out in a bowl on top of the kitchen counter for her kids. Her husband absolutely refused to change his eating habits. So, I told her this trick. She took the junk food out of the bowl, put it in a drawer, and filled that bowl up with fruits. Guess what happened? Not only did that reduce her temptation to eat unhealthy foods, but her children started eating the fruits, too. Win-win, don’t you think?
So, that’s it for this week. Keep moving and following MyPlate. Don’t get frustrated if the pounds haven’t been falling off your frame. Losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint. So, don’t stop now.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday. And remember… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!