With all the books, online articles and TV interviews on nutrition, it is often confusing what good nutrition looks like. Good Nutrition doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Following 3 simple rules, we can improve anyone’s eating habits.
1. Add veggies to anything or everything even the unhealthy stuff. Let’s say its that time of day for dinner you’re stressed and craving mac-n-cheese. The best solution would be to make your own but let’s be honest few of us have the time or cooking skills for rue and cheese sauce. So we opt for the box, grab some bagged spinach, leftover butternut squash, cauliflower whatever you have. You can easily either chop or puree the veggies and toss it in the cheese sauce. For me, I usually finely chop up spinach from a fresh bag and toss it in when I’m adding the sauce to the hot noodles and tell my kids its parsley. If you have a pickier family, pureed cooked butternut and mix it in the cheese (same color, texture they will never know). You can hide veggies in anything; meatballs (shredded zucchini), meatloaf (chopped kale), pasta sauce (homemade veggie soup pureed). I have even added a handful of spinach if I was ordering a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich. Chicken tenders go great with baby carrots. Ideally, I like to see people eating about a pound of veggies a day.
I always have on hand: bagged spinach, chopped kale, onions, red potatoes, baby carrots, head of broccoli and leaf lettuce, zucchini and a frozen bag of riced cauliflower. Having these items available makes adding veggies in quick and simple.
If using grated zucchini, grate the zucchini then place in a towel to ring out water. This helps avoid added moisture in recipes.
2. Water, You can survive weeks without food but only days without water, yet so many of us are not properly hydrating our bodies. Many health issues could be reduced or potentially eliminated if we simply drank proper amounts of water. Imagine what would happen if you were trying to run your car on 1/2 the motor oil recommended the motor would seize, that’s what we are doing not hydrating ourselves. Optimal hydration is recommended to be 1/2 your body weight in oz (200 lb person needs 100oz of water). Bubbly water doesn’t count the carbonation actually causes digestive issues and bloating. Don’t like water? Blame mother nature, get over it you need it, try adding lemon or lime to your water but not anything with artificial sweeteners (yes that means those flavor drops). Start out slowly and work your way up. If you need some change a herbal tea can also count towards the water but I wouldn’t recommend more than 16oz per day.
Get your self a bottle and figure out how times you need to fill up that bottle and place that many rubber bands around it. Every time you fill the bottle up remove one of the rubber bands, its a simple way of brainlessly tracking your water.
3. De-Stress, Did you know stress affects every system in our body, our bodies shut down processes such as digestion and nutrient absorption so that we can preserve our energy for flight/fight. Stressed out from your new diet and hit a plateau, it’s might be your endocrine system not allowing you to burn fat…your body is saving that fat to use as energy. Stress can be the biggest factor in sidetracking any lifestyle change. You start off the day great black coffee and kale omelet then something happens and suddenly the stress hits. Your systems start the downward spiral until you find yourself at the bottom of a pint of ice-cream. One of the hardest parts is unless you are prepared and acknowledge what is happening you have never little control over the spiral. When you know stress hits its easiest if you acknowledge your stressed, take a moment to breathe and then put a plan of action in place. For example, when I get stressed I curse like a sailor (I just need to get it out) I then reach for a cup of tea (warm non-caffeinated liquids are soothing) and my Sam-e supplement (works wonders on my stress), later that evening I will do a 10 minute bed-time yoga and at night normally an oz or two of tequila or a glass of wine (too much cause more internal stress). There are lots of other stress relieving tools out there, visit my Pinterest page for some other ideas. Find what works for you and put a plan in place.
Good nutrition is cheap and simple but often over complicated. Adding these 3 simple tips can drastically improve our overall nutrition.