Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to count carbs or drink meal replacement shakes—at all. A lot of people are intimidated by nutrition because they don’t know where to start. There is SO much information about there about healthy lifestyles and “dieting” but all you really need to know are the basics to get you started off on the right foot. Raise A Little Kale is all about nutrition education and motivation to take your health back. Here are 10 tips on how to make the right changes in your life – TODAY.
1. Meal planning
“I don’t know what we are going to eat tonight” Does that sound familiar? The best thing you can do for yourself is to make a plan. Knowing exactly when and where your next meal is coming from will help from making an impulse stop for burgers and fries. Map out what your week will look like. Plan out your weekly dinners on Sunday and then go grocery shopping for those items. If you already bought the chicken, you are most likely going to make it! Going out to eat with friends on Tuesday? Give yourself time to look over the menu ahead of time so you can decide what you will order.
2. Time your meals
Let's get back to the 3 meals a day (with a few snacks in between). Breakfast should be eaten within 45 minutes of your feet hitting the floor. Lunch should be no more than 4-5 hours after that and dinner follows the same rules. Skipping meals not only makes you more hungry so you tend to overeat at the next meal, but it also messes with your blood sugar regularity. Your body will love some regularity
Don’t skip it! Jump starting your metabolism first thing in the morning is a must. Skip the sugary pastries, cereals and juices that leave you hungry for more 30 minutes later. Opt for a filling breakfast full of complex carbs, lean proteins and fruit to stay full until lunch.
4. Complex Carbs
Do you know what they are? It’s ok if you don’t. Complex carbs get their name because they take a while to break down – thanks to fiber. That means they don’t spike your blood sugar like simple sugars do. Try making some small changes in your pantry today: whole grains - wheat bread, whole wheat pasta (have you tried it? It’s great – I prefer the texture of whole wheat!), oatmeal, etc. Also, green veggies, beans, lentils and sweet potatoes are some great examples
5. Healthy Fats
Did you know some fats are healthy?? Fats are essential in our day to day nutrition – the
unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil) are great for cooking and full of those healthy fats like Omega 3. Butter vs. Margarine? It depends on your situation. Choose butter if cholesterol is not an issue for you – but get the unsalted kind. Margarine is a great option for heart health but is manufactured from plants– just be sure to check the label for 0 gm of trans fat.
6. Lean Proteins
Protein is great – and a necessity. That breading and deep-frying, however, is not. Lean is where it’s at. Great animal options are skinless chicken or turkey, 90% lean ground beef, fish and shellfish, or eggs. Want to try some meatless protein? Beans and lentils, nonfat dairy, tofu, soyfoods, nuts and seeds are your go-to sources. Try to add lean protein to every meal.
7. Eat the Organic Rainbow
One of the best pieces of advice I can give my clients is to TRY new things. Have you been interested in trying a new vegetable but don’t know where to start? Did you know there are youtube videos on how to cut a mango? Don’t be afraid. Try it. The produce world is full of delicious varieties of all shapes and colors. Antioxidants are jam packed into produce and just waiting for you to eat them. Organic is best – your body doesn’t need the chemicals or GMOs that can be found in the other stuff.
8. Don’t Drink Your Calories!
No surprise here – water is your best bet. It keeps you hydrated and is ZERO calories. Sugary beverages have a LOT to do with being overweight in your midsection. Sodas, juices, teas, coffee and alcohol instantly add to your daily caloric load. Did you know dietitians do NOT recommend fruit juice? It’s better to eat the actual fruit so you can get those other health benefits that are lost in the juicing process, like fiber! Sodas and iced teas instantly add unneeded sugars and leave you craving for more. Coffee and hot teas are generally fine for a caffeinated boost, just be careful what you are adding to them.
9. Smart Snacking
3:30 pm hits and you need a pick me up to get through to lunch. No worries, it's normal! What you eat though, should be thought through. A whole bag of potato chips is not the way to go. Portion control is huge when snacking so read the label – what is the portion size? Make your snacks work for you, instead of against you. Try snacking on a banana or carrots. Other great examples are greek yogurt, whole wheat crackers, popcorn or salsa.
10. You Can Keep Your Sweet Tooth
Taking away desserts is dangerous, I know. Indulging in sweets after a dinner meal is completely fine – just make sure you watch the portion size. Eating a piece of dessert that is larger than the palm of your hand is definitely not ideal. All we really want out of it is the taste, right? Portion control those brownie serving to small 2” squares. You can still satisfy your sweet tooth without pressuring your belt buckle
I hope you find these tips helpful. Even making one of these small changes in your daily nutrition would be wonderful. Education is key and Raise A Little Kale is here to help :)
Hi I’m Lindsey. I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and I’m a cheerleader for health enrichment. My passion is education and that is the driving force behind the blog I created, Raise A Little Kale. Nutrition is a very broad topic and everyone seems to have something to say about it. I crave cited sources so you can rest assured that the information you are reading is factual and science-based. I want to empower people to take back their health and live the best life they can. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to health promotion so there is plenty of workout posts as well. Everyone needs to start somewhere, I hope you start at Raise A Little Kale!