National Nutrition Month is finally here! While many of us may have adjusted our diets at the start of the New Year, after a few months the determination to stay on track with nutrition begins to fade. Rather than allowing for old habits to creep back in, try to focus your nutrition on the health benefits your will receive from eating well rather than placing all of the focus on aesthetic goals. By focusing on your long term health, you will be more likely to stick to your healthy habits. Below you will find simple nutrition tips that will help you get back on track and making nutritious healthy options.
1. Fill up on vegetables
Vegetables are a low calorie/high volume food. This means you can eat a lot of vegetables without consuming a lot of unwanted calories and you will feel full because they take up a lot of room in your stomach. When eating vegetables, avoid adding sauces and oil, which will add more total calories to your meal. Aim for fresh or steamed vegetables when possible.
2. Take it easy on the fruit
While fruit is a great source of fiber and natural sugar, some people tend to go overboard and eat too much. In turn, this keeps sugar and carbohydrate intake sky high. Rather than ditching fruit all together, try pairing one piece of fruit with almond butter, nuts or a source of lean protein.
3. Be wary of nutrition/protein bars
While the marketing on most of these products claim these bars are the healthy alternative, most of these bars are high in fat, carbohydrates and artificial preservatives. Some of these health bars also pack a similar nutritional punch as a traditional candy bar. Do not allow yourself to be fooled! Read the label and check out what is really going into these products before you snack on them daily.
4. Up the protein
If you feel like you are constantly hungry, try adding a bit more protein to your meals. When ordering a dinner salad, order a serving of lean protein to be placed on top to help you fill up and stay full. Also try eating the protein portion of your meals before having the side items which are usually higher in carbohydrates and fat.
5. Drink more water
Water aids your body in digestion and keeps your skin looking youthful and hydrated. On days where you are training or outdoors for a period of time, be sure to consume extra water. Drinking 12 ounces of water before your meal will also fill up your stomach and may prevent you from overeating.