Spring is here and delicious fruits and veggies are beginning to be in season. This usually motivates people to eat healthier. In addition to good nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management play a huge role in health. However, today I want to focus on five habits to improve your nutrition and your health. How many of these do you do on a regular basis?
- Make half your plate veggies (and I don’t mean fries). Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. They fill you up and give your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally. Be sure to include a variety of colors! Here are a few recipes to try Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots, Spinach Avocado Quinoa Power Salad, and Kale Chips.
- Have protein with every meal. Not only does protein help to keep you full, it is essential for immune and liver health, and it helps build/maintain muscle mass. Poultry, beef, pork, eggs, nuts, and nut butters are good sources of protein. Poultry, beef, and pork are the highest in protein per gram. Choosing the grass fed, pasture raised beef, chicken, pork, or eggs does make a difference. These items have more omega-3s than their counter part. I know from experience that breakfast is usually the hardest meal to get protein. Here are two recipes to help with the most important meal of the day Avocado Egg Bake and Muffin Tin Baked Eggs.
- Drink half your weight in ounces of water. This is a just a guideline. If you are more active you will need more water. Water helps to transport nutrients and oxygen that help grow and repair cells, messages from hormones, and cell waste. It helps to remove toxins from the body and plays a role in reactions in the body. In addition to lubricating the joints, digestive tract, and lungs, it helps pad your joints and spine. Adequate water also helps your skin to look good! If your body is dehydrated you automatically have a decrease in performance, you can confuse thirst or hunger, and you may experience “brain fog.” Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go to stay hydrated.
- Slow down when you eat. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your body to catch up to what you just put in it. If you shovel your food in, the chances of overeating are greater. Eating slower allows you to pay more attention to the way your food tastes creating greater satisfaction.
- Plan ahead. You have probably heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is especially true with food. If you do not know what you are going to eat how can you make sure it will be there for you? Know at least a day in advance what you will eat and prep accordingly. Making your protein (chicken, beef, pork…) ahead of time can make week night meals a lot more convenient.
If it seems overwhelming to do all five of these things at once, choose one to start with. Once you feel confident with that, add another habit. Which habit will you start with first?