January’s arrival means many people will put health and fitness on their resolution list. It’s an admirable goal but one that’s hard to attain especially when we set the goal so high. “No more fast food, no more sweets, and from now on salads only.” While we all would like to make the best choices all the time it’s very unrealistic. Inevitably we all regress back to our former unhealthy behavior by the time February comes along. With that in mind I wanted to provide some eating tips that are better although not the best. The goal here is to bring some healthier options and choices into your normal routine which will make it easier to stick with in the long run. This is not a diet, this is a change to your eating habits forever.
- Say yes to fast food but no to french fries: The drive thru isn’t inherently evil as long as you make informed decisions. Simply skip the fries. French fries have all the fat and calories without having any nutritional value. There are absolutely zero benefits to those perfect potatoes. Remember if you’re going to eat fried foods at least choose something with some protein or vitamins.
- Switch to diet soda: The amount of sugar in a standard bottle of soda is mind blowing. Switching to diet will make a big difference especially if you’re a big soda drinker. This also goes for energy drinks like Red Bull and sports drinks like Gatorade. You might be turned off by the taste but there are a lot of great new options like Coke’s Zero (Coke Zero, Sprite Zero etc) line of drinks.
- Replace lettuce with spinach: Lettuce doesn’t have a lot of nutritional value and varieties like Iceberg are really just crunch water. While lettuce isn’t bad for you in any way it’s an opportunity to substitute it out to get more bang for your buck. Spinach can perform the same duties as lettuce all the while being packed with a lot of vitamins and nutrients.
- Use delicious salad dressing regardless of calorie count: This might sound counter productive because tasty thick and creamy dressings are full of fat and calories. However your first goal is to start making salads a daily tradition. It’s true that a simple salad with oil and vinegar dressing is the best choice but it’s also one of the most disgusting one. Take it one step at a time. If you douse those greens in wonderful ranch they’ll be a lot easier to eat and you’ll be more likely to stick with the habit. Once salads have been fully integrated into your routine then you can try to switch over to a lighter dressing.
- Don’t get discouraged if you have a weak moment: Everyone who tries to eat healthy will have a weak moment. Whether it be a sleeve of Chips Ahoy or large pepperoni pizza, we’ve all given in to temptation. Just remember that it happens to everyone and the only thing that matters is that you get back on the horse the next day.
- Dark chocolate covered almonds are a great snack: Dark chocolate and almonds are both heart healthy so if you’re in need of a little treat this combo has some positive points. Like I said above if you’re going to be bad at least choose something with a few good benefits.
- Learn the difference between feeling full and feeling satisfied: I often finish a meal feeling satisfied that I am no longer hungry. That does not mean I feel full however. Feeling full is actually the feeling that you’ve eaten too much. Channel your inner Goldilocks and search for the amount of food that’s just right without going overboard.
- Eat at the same restaurants just order different things: Just because you start eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to become a completely different person. You also don’t need to force your friends to go to that new totally vegan macrobiotic place you heard about. Most chain restaurants have options that are on the healthier side as long as you look for them. For example the Cheesecake Factory’s Skinnylicious menu offers a large selection of lower calories items. If there isn’t a dedicated low calorie menu try to pick dishes that have more protein and nutrients and less carbs and sugar.
photo via nutritionstyle.net