CLEAN UP YOUR DIET WITH THESE EASY TIPS
Getting back on track with healthy eating can be a challenge – even for the nutrition aficionado. Once bad eating habits kick in, it’s tough to get out of that vicious cycle. It can be done though! This is one of the most talked about subjects with our clients. Most people who walk in the door either for a fitness retreat or for health coaching are interested in figuring out how to eat healthier and get out of their bad habits. Luckily, with some simple behavior changes and a few nutrition modifications, you can reverse any bad habits and get back on the course to healthy eating again.
9 SIMPLE TIPS TO CLEAN UP YOUR DIET
Ditch Processed Foods – Eliminate buying boxed foods, frozen meals, cookies, crackers and snack products to clean up your diet. Unfortunately, these items can contain a whole host of ingredients that aren’t beneficial for you. In fact, they can cause you to crave this junk food even more. Artificial sweeteners, unhealthy fats, refined sugars and refined flours are just a few of the ingredients that aren’t good for you. They’ll keep you wanting more which will only fuel that vicious fire.
Eat Fresh Whole Foods – As an alternative to ditching processed foods, stock up on fresh produce, healthy fats and good quality protein! Honestly, this is a pretty simple way of eating. It doesn’t require a ton of thought. There is no eliminating food groups. It’s just requires eating foods in their natural form. There a ton of options that you might not even be thinking of so I’ve listed some examples are below.
Get Colorful – Choose colorful fruits and vegetables to accompany your meals. Incorporating as many colors as possible will help you get a wide range of nutrients that you need. Think of it as a natural multi vitamin. Getting as many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients as possible can help improve your health and get you back on track.
Carbs – I know everyone is wondering about carbs and there are a number of good carbohydrate options out there. Potatoes (of any kind) are a wonderful natural carb source. Aside from potatoes, brown rice, wild rice, brown rice pasta, quinoa and farro are a few good carb sources with nutritional benefits. Yes, I know some of these come in a box or a bag but the point is to eat food in it’s most natural form. Rather than buying boxed mac and cheese, make your own with organic pasta, whole grain pasta or brown rice pasta with a real cheese sauce.
Healthy Fats – From saturated to unsaturated fats, you need them all. Adding in avocado, grass fed butter, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olives, olive oil and sesame oil will give you a wide range of flavors and benefits.
Organic, Grass-Fed, Free Range & Wild Caught Protein – There are a ton of good quality protein sources to choose from now and most grocery stores offer a section Free range poultry, grass fed beef, sustainably caught seafood and organic plant based protein sources like tofu and tempeh. Everyone has their likes and dislikes when it comes to protein so use what suits your preferences and nutritional needs the best.
Limit Sugar Intake & Type Of Sugar – Sugar is hiding everywhere! It’s hidden in foods that may not even taste sweet to you. Tomato sauce, soups and condiments like ketchup can have quite a bit of sugar in them. Then take into consideration the obvious foods with sugar like cookies, yogurt, sports drinks and coffee drinks. Sugar isn’t just about extra calories. It leads to excess weight, inflammation and can cause you to crave more sugar.
Tip: Stick to natural sources of sugar like fruit or snacks and desserts that have been sweetened with a natural source of sugar like honey or maple syrup.
Say Goodbye To Soda – Getting rid of soda is an easy way to clean up your diet if you’re consuming it regularly. There is nothing good for you in regular soda or diet soda! You’re either consuming a ton of sugar or a ton of artificial sweeteners combined with caffeine and a bunch of other ingredients that have zero nutritional benefit.
Tip: Go for sparkling water or water infused with fruit like citrus or berry.
Be Mindful Of Alcohol – I’ve discussed alcohol intake with a number of clients recently. People seem to think that one of the major negative aspects of alcohol is the calorie content. To be honest, the calories in alcohol isn’t the issue. Alcohol is a depressant and it directly interferes with your hormones. It slows down your metabolism and tells interferes with the way your hormones communicate in your body. This has the potential to cause a whole host of issues in your body. You know that weight gain around your mid section? Alcohol may be to blame. Limiting wine, liquor or beer intake to a few days a week is best for your health and your midsection. And by the way – that means all alcohol! One type isn’t better than the other to be clear.
Stay hydrated – Being fully hydrated has so many benefits. Here are just a few of the ways drinking enough water helps your body:
You won’t hang on to unnecessary water weight.
You won’t mistake thirst for hunger. Many times we think we’re hungry but we’re actually thirsty.
Drinking enough water helps your body flush toxins out.
You’ll be able to absorb the nutrients and supplements you take in much easier.
Watch Your Portions – We all know that eating too much will cause you to gain weight. So whether you’re eating super healthy or having a cheat meal, it’s still a good idea to keep your portions in check. This way no matter what you’re eating or where you are, you can eat the appropriate amount.
Be Careful With Snacks – I am asked all the time about snacks. Should you eat snacks, should you omit snacks, should you eat 5 – 6 times daily? What’s the best “way to eat”? The truth is that is an individual thing. Some people do much better eating smaller meals throughout the day. Others turn snacks into meals and end up eating 5 – 6 meals rather than three meals and a few snacks. There are some people who need some time in between eating to digest and let their bodies fast in a sense. So whether or not you have snacks is up to you, your activity level and what works best for your body.
Determine Your Vices – One of the biggest issues with eating and trying to “eat clean” is what lies in the way. For the most part, we all know how to eat healthy from a basic sense. What we rarely address are the roadblocks that stand in our way. I always ask my clients what their biggest vices are when it comes to eating a healthy diet. Is it sweets, salty food, alcohol or even boredom? Sometimes, we develop bad habits. For example, you might walk in from work and grab a snack before dinner. You may not even be hungry but it’s an action that’s become a habit. So what are your vices – whether they be the actual food or a habit that inhibit you from cleaning up your diet? Jot them down in a journal or your phone so you can clearly acknowledge them and begin to remove them from your daily routine.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Most of these tips probably aren’t anything new. I find that most people know what to eat and how to eat healthy but they need simple reminders from time to time. It’s not what you know but what you actually do that matters. Behavior trumps everything! Even the most advanced eaters need a refresher from time to time. It’s easy to get off of the beaten track no matter who you are. The most important piece of the puzzle is figuring out what works for you. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself when figuring out the steps you need to take to clean up your diet.
Are there foods that trigger non stop eating?
Are there foods that make you feel sluggish, low energy or even moody?
Are there foods that cause stomach upset or digestion issues?
Do any foods cause stuffiness or a skin rash?
Do any of my behaviors lead to overeating or eating foods that I’m not even hungry for?
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Feel free to leave any questions or comments in the comment section below! If you need personalized help with nutrition, weight loss or fitness, check out our Health & Wellness Coaching or join us for a fitness retreat to jumpstart your healthy habits.
Best In Healthy Living,
Margot + The Vita Vie Retreat Team