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NUTRITION2019-08-17T02:40:00+00:00

Nutrition

Setting yourself up for success

Try to keep things simple. Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, for example, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients whenever possible.

Prepare more of your own meals. Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food. You’ll eat fewer calories and avoid the chemical additives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats of packaged and takeout foods that can leave you feeling tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.

*Do you need help preparing your meals? Ask about our PERSONAL NUTRITION COACHING!

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Q & A Corner

from the Desk of Mike & Crystal

When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing dangerous trans fats with healthy fats (such as switching fried chicken for grilled salmon) will make a positive difference to your health. Switching animal fats for refined carbohydrates, though (such as switching your breakfast bacon for a donut), won’t lower your risk for heart disease or improve your mood.

It’s important to be aware of what’s in your food as manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats in packaged food, even food claiming to be healthy.

Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many of us go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

It’s important to slow down and think about food as nourishment rather than just something to gulp down in between meetings or on the way to pick up the kids. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.

Be careful about the foods you keep at hand. It’s more challenging to eat in moderation if you have unhealthy snacks and treats at the ready. Instead, surround yourself with healthy choices and when you’re ready to reward yourself with a special treat, go out and get it then.

We don’t always eat just to satisfy hunger. Many of us also turn to food to relieve stress or cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom. But by learning healthier ways to manage stress and emotions, you can regain control over the food you eat and your feelings.

A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, while eating small, healthy meals keeps your energy up all day.

Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day may help to regulate weight.

Sugary drinks are among the most fattening items you can put into your body.

This is because your brain doesn’t measure calories from liquid sugar the same way it does for solid food. Therefore, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems.

Keep in mind that certain fruit juices may be almost as bad as soda in this regard, as they sometimes contain just as much sugar. The small amounts of antioxidants do not negate the sugar’s harmful effects.

Fish is a good source of high-quality protein and healthy fat.

This is particularly true of fish, such as salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients.

Studies show that people who eat the most fish have a lower risk of several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and depression.

The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated.

Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, disrupt your appetite hormones, and reduce your physical and mental performance. What’s more, poor sleep is one of the strongest individual risk factors for weight gain and obesity. One study linked insufficient sleep to an 89% and 55% increased risk of obesity in children and adults, respectively.

Vegetables and fruits are loaded with prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals, and many antioxidants, some of which have potent biological effects.

Studies show that people who eat the most vegetables and fruits live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses.

Eating enough protein is vital for optimal health.

What’s more, this nutrient is particularly important for weight loss.

High protein intake can boost metabolism significantly while making you feel full enough to automatically eat fewer calories. It can also reduce cravings and your desire to snack late at night.

Sufficient protein intake has also been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest vegetable oils.

It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that can fight inflammation.

Extra virgin olive oil benefits heart health, as people who consume it have a much lower risk of dying from heart attacks and strokes.

Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet, as large amounts can harm your metabolic health.

High sugar intake is linked to numerous ailments, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer.

The only way to know exactly how many calories you eat is to weigh your food and use a nutrition tracker.

It’s also essential to make sure that you’re getting enough protein, fiber, and micronutrients.

Studies reveal that people who track their food intake tend to be more successful at losing weight and sticking to a healthy diet.

Diets are notoriously ineffective and rarely work well in the long term.

In fact, dieting is one of the strongest predictors for future weight gain.

Instead of going on a diet, try adopting a healthier lifestyle. Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it.

Weight loss should follow as you transition to whole, nutritious foods.

If you smoke or abuse drugs, tackle those problems first. Diet and exercise can wait.

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and consider avoiding it completely if you tend to drink too much.

While some extreme diets may suggest otherwise, we all need a balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our diets to sustain a healthy body. You don’t need to eliminate certain categories of food from your diet, but rather select the healthiest options from each category.

Switching to a healthy diet doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy, and you don’t have to change everything all at once—that usually only leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan.