New year, fresh start.
There’s something special about the first couple weeks of a new year when motivation for change is at an all time high! Majority of people make new years resolutions to lose weight or to eat better. The time for gorging on cookies, decadent desserts, candy and party appetizers has come to an end. No more using the holidays as an excuse…..sadly.
Most people think that to lose weight you have to sweat for hours at the gym and pay no attention to what you are eating. This scenario is completely false!! You are what you eat. It’s all about the food. Your abs are made in the kitchen. Sure, being active is still an important part of it, but thats just a piece of it.
I don’t believe in diets because they don’t work for most people. For the people they do work for, it is because they made it a lifestyle change, instead of a temporary fix. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you have to be willing to put in the work, and be committed to the long hall.
My eating habits have changed drastically over the past year.
Last winter some of my family went on the Atkins diet which is a diet where you extremely limit your carbs. Since I was around them so much, and I love to cook, my cooking and eating habits also changed. By limiting pastas and breads I had much more energy and felt healthier. It made me realize I was eating mostly carbs, and not getting nearly the amount of fruits and vegetables I should be eating.
Now its rare for a day to go by that I don’t meet the recommended servings of fresh fruit and vegetables…. and wish that upon everyone! Begin to pay attention to what you eat. Connect yourself with food. Why does eating healthy have a bad reputation?
Food is meant to be your FUEL. To NOURISH. To ENJOY.
Now doesn’t that food look good?!
Here are 14 things that I think are essential for eating well. I challenge you to try all of them for 2014!!! 🙂
14 TIPS FOR EATING WELL IN 2014
1. Drink more water.
There is no better choice when it comes to a beverage. Hydrate your body properly. Such an easy thing to do but so many people don’t drink enough!!! I drink a couple glasses of water right when I wake up and drink it with meals. I love to add lemons to my water too for added nutrients.
2. Watch your coffee.
Too much caffeine can dehydrate you. Plus fancy coffee drinks pack on the calories (http://leftsideofthetable.com/2013/11/21/drinking-your-calories/). A cup of coffee has around 100 mg caffeine (http://www.mayoclinic.org/caffeine/art-20049372) Tea has anything form 0-60 mg. I’m not saying eliminate coffee, just become aware of how much you consume. Consider replacing your afternoon coffee with tea.
3. Limit starchy foods.
Stay away from bread, potatoes, pasta and rice. Yes, I know it sounds painful and no don’t completely eliminate it. Measure out your portions. Have one serving of bread. Don’t have starch everyday. Try to only have starch a couple times a week.
4. Eat more vegetables.
How many vegetable servings are you actually having each day?? There was a time when I barely ate vegetables. It can be hard to mix them into your diet. Eat them fresh, not frozen or from a can.
5. Eat in colors.
When you make yourself a meal, make sure it is filled with bright and colorful fresh food! I love to make a spinach salad with all sorts of vegetables added to it. The brighter the color, the more nutrient packed it is.
6. Always eat breakfast.
I never have and will never understand people that don’t eat breakfast. Make time for it. Shouldn’t be a big breakfast. Something small is best. I like to have greek yogurt with blueberries and raw almonds or chia seeds. Just enough to tie you over until lunch.
7. Don’t be afraid of fat.
Fat doesn’t make you fat!! (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/fat-health_b_4343798.html) The right kind of fat that is healthy for you…like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, cheese…etc. Obviously don’t have too much, but don’t be afraid to eat them. When you buy fat free things or reduced fat, other things are added to compensate…usually sugar.
8. Stay away from processed foods.
Eat fresh, not frozen or canned. Keep processed foods to the absolute minimum. Read the boxes of food you buy and pay attention to the ingredient list. If you don’t know what the ingredients are, why would you eat it?
9. Eat Organic when you can.
Yes organic food is more expensive. However, you are generally paying for better quality food that has not been grown with pesticides and other chemicals. Try to buy organic in whatever you can afford. Items that I eat most, like spinach and apples I always buy organic.
10. Limit dining out.
Make time to eat at home. It is hard to eat well at most restaurants. Stop being lazy and find a good recipe to try. Make dining out an experience, not an everyday thing. Your wallet will benefit too.
11. Watch your sugar intake.
Sugar if not burned, stores as fat. Therefore sugar is making you fat. Sugar is hidden in everything. Try to use natural sweeteners like honey and agave. I’m all for eating sugar natural ways like from fruit, and what not. Be the most careful with processed sugars like in cookies and candy.
12. 80/20 Rule
I like the idea of 80/20. That means that 80% or so of what you eat is good, and only about 20% is bad. It is all about moderation. Eat mostly fresh and nutritious food but allow yourself to mix in indulgences.
13. Ask yourself WHY??
I heard this from someone once and it stuck with me. Whenever you are craving something to eat like ice cream, ask yourself why? Why do you want it? It is easy to be an emotional eater and not be aware of it.
14. Don’t beat yourself up.
Last but not least, if you are trying to eat better, if you have a slip up and eat bad DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. Tomorrow is a new day. Forgive yourself, and start again. Eating should be enjoyable and not stressful.