How Do I Start Eating Better?
You see the latest diet crazes everywhere: on the TV, on the cover of a magazine or in an email. They promise to shed the pounds fast or enable us to fit into our favorite jeans. Most all of these “fad diets” have earned their names because they come in as the latest and greatest, and may provide short-term results, but leave most of us disappointed in the lack of long-term results. So, how do we really start eating better? For results that last, you have to look at changing habits and building them into your lifestyle, staying true to them and yourself. We like using an app to do this, like the STYR Labs App, where you can see the macro and micronutrient values of the foods you are eating (with the STYR Plus program).
Check out these 10 Golden rules to healthier eating and get started today!
1. Live by the 80/20 Rule
Reality check! Healthy eating has to fit into your life or you will never be able to maintain it. While veggies should fill up our plates, it is not realistic to say that you will never eat cake, ice cream or chips & queso again, so it is important to understand how to make all foods fit. Think of living by the 80/20 rule. This means that 80 percent of the time you focus on eating nutrient-rich foods, such as whole grains, lean protein, healthy fat, fruits and veggies, while exercising three or more times per week. Then 20 percent of the time you can include foods that are higher in calories and lower in nutrients. You know, the ones that taste so good, but that you shouldn’t consume every day for your waistline’s sake – or for your health!
2. Watch the Nutrient Timing Clock
Nutrient timing is key to healthy eating because if you skip meals, you set yourself up to feel “starving” and are more likely to make less-optimal food choices. The goal is to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods every few hours throughout the day. Eating regularly helps stabilize your blood sugar, and thus your energy levels, helping you feel hungry and satisfied versus starving and stuffed. So, watch the clock and set your alarm for nutrient timing!
3. Pay Attention to Portions
Plates and portion sizes are bigger these days! Your goal is to think of eating until you are not hungry, instead of until you are full. While this is easier said than done, pre-plating your food, portioning snacks into baggies and asking for a to-go container at a restaurant can help you have better portion control. A good rule of thumb is to take your plate and make half of it veggies, one-fourth lean protein and one-fourth whole grains. Then if you are hungry, go back for more veggies
4. Go Whole with Grains
Grains, or carbohydrates, are one of your body’s main sources of energy. Your goal is to choose more whole grains like whole wheat, oats, quinoa, farro, couscous, etc. Whole grains have more fiber, which helps with heart and gastrointestinal health, while also helping you stay full a little longer.
5. Power the Day with Protein
Protein plays a variety of roles in the body, including building lean muscle mass and slowing down digestion. High-quality protein sources are animal foods (including dairy and eggs) and you can also find protein in plant foods like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy. Pairing protein with a carbohydrate at each meal and snack will help stabilize your blood sugar and energy.
6. Garnish Your Meals with Healthy Fat
Unsaturated fats like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocado and unsaturated oils are essential for heart health. Because fat yields more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein do, think of garnishing meals and snacks with healthy fats, like nuts in your oatmeal or avocado on your wrap.
7. Fill Up on Veggies and Fruit
Full of fiber and nutrients, eat as many vegetables and fruit as you can! It is important to note however, that fruit is a sugar and technically falls in the carbohydrate category. So, work on eating more veggies!
8. Hydrate with the Right Fluids
Hydration is a key component to healthy eating. Ideally, your goal is to drink water, but other low-calorie beverages count as well. Be sure that you are not adding sugar-calories with your fluids from things like soda, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened beverages, as those can have a negative effect on health and on your waistline.
9. Read Food Labels over Marketing Ads
Examining the food label can help you make more educated decisions at the grocery store. Don’t be persuaded by the advertisement on the package because sometimes it does not tell the whole nutrient story. Take time to look at the ingredients, as well as the calories, carbohydrates, fiber, protein and fat grams to ensure you are making a nutrient-rich choice.
10. Have an Eating Game Plan
Just like in a sports game or preparing a business proposal, having a plan is essential to success. Thinking and planning in advance is key to healthy eating. If you are going out to eat, check out the nutrition facts before you go. Have a busy week at work? Then be sure to pack healthy snacks to fuel your day. Planning sets you up to make better decisions and makes healthy eating easier!
If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.