Sunday, September 16, 2012

Back to Basics 1 - Getting Started

This is the first installment of the series "Back to Basics". The series is all about giving you recipes that everyone should know how to make. It's also here to help you with the basics of eating healthy.

I know how un-fun learning about eating healthy can be. It's all "drink water, exercise, eat your fruits and veggies, bla!" (which, by the way, you should do). Well, I'm here to cut out all the extra fluff and give you the basics.

  1. Plan ahead! Trust me, this will make your life a lot easier. Make a list of what you need, by aisle if you can, then do all your shopping on a free day. You can make one yourself or print out a little check-list online, like the one below. If you buy in bulk, like meats, make sure to cut them all up into portions and store in freezer. I like to do this as soon as I get home because I know I won't wanna do it later. Hungry Girl has great shopping lists.          
  2. Don't deprive yourself of things you want to eat. And I obviously don't mean "eat all the chocolate you want", but if you are REALLY craving some good ol' french fries, go ahead and have a few, just don't make it a habit. Everything in moderation is one of the most important rules to follow.
  3. Don't think of this as a diet, think of it as lifestyle change. Yes, I was on "a diet" for about 7-8 months, but after that, when I was just maintaining my weight, it became a lifestyle change. Nobody wants to be on a diet for their entire life, but you also can't live your life stuffing fried food in your mouth for every meal of the day. You're eating better and exercising so you can always feel good. Don't you want to live to see what else Apple will come up with?
  4. Learn portion sizes. You can start by measuring everything out at first and remembering what it looks like in your hand or on a plate. There are also visual charts online that help you, something like this:
  5. Eat slowly! I know a ton of people that have an issue with slowing down, including me sometimes. Make sure to really chew and enjoy your food. You can try doing this by trying to figure out all the different flavors, herbs and spices that are in that one bite, or sipping some water in between bites. If you eat too fast, not only can you have an upset stomach, but you also won't have time to listen to your body telling you that you are already full. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you've had enough. So carpe le food!
  6. EAT BREAKFAST!! Please don't skip breakfast, people! Not only does it kickstart your metabolism, but it also keeps you full and energized until lunchtime and it's a great chance to give your body tons of nutrition. If you don't have time to make breakfast in the morning, you can make an overnight breakfast the night before. There are cereal bars that you can take with you in the car, or microwavable breakfast sandwiches. There are tons of options and no excuses. So please, don't make me sad and eat breakfast!
  7. Colors!! If you're not sure how to get started on what's better, just keep this in mind, make your plate as colorful as possible. Brown rice, green leaves, red tomatoes, purple beets, orange carrots, yellow corn, etc. The more colorful your food, the more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber you are taking in.
      From the USDA Blog
  8. If you are eating carbs, skip the white. Brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole wheat breads, quinoa, farro, etc are all way better for you. They are filled with fiber, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Don't eat too many carbs, but if you want some, make them count.
  9. Healthy fats. You should not take fat completely out of your diet. Fat is there to nourish your brain, heart, and cells, as well as your hair, skin, and nails.  Foods rich in omega-3 are particularly important and can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and help prevent dementia. Vegetable oil (olive, canola), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios), seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower), and fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines) are all healthy fats. Basically, stick to monounsaturated and polyunsaturates fats.
  10. Limit sugar and salt. This one is a no-brainer, but they can be sneaky! They hide in foods you wouldn't think of. Sugar can be in bread, soups, frozen dinners, so make sure to read the label. Salt is a big problem in sodas, even diet, and canned veggies, especially beans. Beans are an amazing and yummy protein to add into your soups and salads, but make sure to drain them!
  11. Read the label! This is the best habit I've gotten into. You'd be shocked at the calorie or sodium counts. Also, it's a great way to make sure there are no saturated and trans fats, or high fructose corn syrup. Another thing to check is the ingredient list. The less ingredients listed, the better that food is. Look at this label! What the heck are all these things?!
These are just some basics. It's a lot to take in, so START SLOW! Otherwise you'll be overwhelmed and will just give up. If you guys have ANY questions for me, feel free to leave a comment. I am always here and I'll do my best to help you.

No comments:

Post a Comment