Get Happy With More Fruits And Veggies!
Emily Parent, RD, LD, Supermarket Registered Dietitian
Take those New Year’s health resolutions by the horns! Whether you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, improve your blood sugars, or just want to eat and live healthier and happier, I have 5 simple tips for you to help you meet your 2019 goals!
People often ask me what the best detox or diet is. If I am being honest, I’m not a fan of either. Usually I answer with something along the lines of eating more nutritious foods and listening to the body. My answer never seems to get the reaction I hope for; don’t people want to be told they can eat REAL food instead of endless rice cakes and shakes that never seem to satisfy hunger?
With everything at our fingertips these days, it seems like a quick-fix is always within arm’s reach. Sorry to break it to you, but quick fixes when it comes to nutrition, especially weight control, never end up the way we hope. My theory is that we need to make lifestyle changes for eating habits to be sustainable. Small, SIMPLE, changes can have a huge influence on your health and affect the way you feel! Let’s talk about 4 of my favorite simple fixes that will leave you feeling healthier and happier!
1. Forget calorie counting
Focusing on only calories can lead to unhealthy habits, such as taking attention away from overall nutrition. If you are watching your weight, look for other ways to make sure your body is getting the nourishment it needs. My favorite way two ways?
• Try adding a fruit and/or vegetable to every meal and snack! Not only does this help you meet your recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, it also is a fantastic way to nourish your body and increase satiety.
• Intuitive eating. Before, during, and after eating, check in with your body’s natural hunger signals.
• You can use a basic scale from 1 to 10, 1 being you haven’t eaten all day and 10 being you feel like you just ate a Thanksgiving dinner.
• The goal is to stay between 3 and a 6 at all times.
• Are you eating because you are truly hungry, or are you bored, stressed, sad, or happy? It does take practice, but the better you get at eating based on what your body is telling you, the less you will overeat.
2. Don’t skip meals
• Skipping meals can promote overeating later in the day, which can potentially result in weight gain.
• When you eat at least 3 meals per day, you are more likely to be able to focus on your hunger cues, keeping your blood sugar balanced.
• Try your best to eat breakfast or a small snack in the morning, including a fruit and/or vegetable. This will provide you with the energy you need to start your day off right!
3. Don’t eat boring food
• People often associate healthy with boring salads, dressing on the side. I am here to proudly say that’s not the case!
• Do eat your fruits and veggies, but prepare them in a way that you enjoy! Throw them in the oven or on the grill with a drizzle of olive oil. Now that’s a game changer!
• Find ways to make more nutritious choices that work for you. I promise that eating healthy can taste good!
4. Kick the added sugar
• Hands down, added sugar is one of the most problematic foods when it comes to weight gain, high blood sugar, and high triglyceride levels. Added sugars add calories to the diet without adding any substantial nutrition.
• The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 36 grams and women consume no more than 24 grams added sugar per day…about the amount in 1 can of soda.
• Let’s discuss the difference between natural and added sugar:
• Naturally occurring sugars like lactose (milk sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar) are completely natural and shouldn’t be a concern for most people.
• Sucrose (honey, cane sugar, etc.) is used to add sweetness (added sugar) to foods like cakes, cookies, salad dressings, pasta sauces, and many other commonly consumed products.
• Incorporate more foods in your diet that naturally contain sugar like dairy, fruits, and vegetables!
• Look for products with little or no added sugars.