Maybe you’ve recently started a new workout routine and you’re feeling super confident with your progress and how consistent you’ve been. This may be a good time to start adding in some small changes to your eating habits. Anytime you supplement an exercise program with changes in your eating habits then you are bound to see an increase in results. If you’re looking to start supplementing your workouts with a healthy eating plan then try adding one or two of the strategies below. The best way to implement these new habits is to choose one or two at a time and when you are comfortable with these changes, and they have become routine, add a few more. Look no further for some great ideas that will help you ease into some healthy new changes!
1.CHOOSE WHOLE FOODS INSTEAD OF PROCESSED.
Swap out any frozen dinners, fast food, and instant meals with choices like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. They are packed with nutrients your body needs and will fuel you more efficiently. Many processed foods contain empty calories that provide your body with very little nutritional value.
2. SAY NO TO SUGARY DRINKS.
Sugary drinks such as sodas or packaged juices have been known to cause liver damage, premature aging and anxiety. Yikes! Try switching to infused water (add fruit and herbs!) or unsweetened beverages (try home brewed tea). If this seems like a big change then take it slowly and swap out one drink a day for something healthier.
3. KEEP HEALTHY FOOD READILY AVAILABLE.
This is one of the best strategies to help change your eating habits. If you plan ahead and have healthy snacks precut, or easily accessible then you are more likely to grab those items. This may mean that you prepare your snacks ahead of time for the week and take them with you on your work day. Having healthier snacks on hand and readily available is sure to help you see a positive change in your eating habits. (Try things such as your favorite fruit, nuts, seeds, prepared yogurt etc..)
4. TRY THE “OUTER RING” TECHNIQUE WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING.
This smart shopping strategy was developed with the idea that the healthiest foods in the grocery store are usually kept on the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find your fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, and nuts. If you only shop the outer ring then you’re more likely to buy healthy foods!
5. GO NUTS FOR NUTS (AND SEEDS)
These little gems pack a serious nutritional punch. Nuts contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Similarly, seeds like chia, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses. They are a great source of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Nuts and seeds are also super versatile and can be added to anything from oatmeal to smoothies! (Tip: always choose your FAVORITE fruits and nuts, you will be far more likely to actually eat them!)
6. EAT MORE FISH.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week due to the fact that it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which improve brain and heart health and may even reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimers, dementia, and diabetes! Aside from these benefits, fish is a great low calorie source of protein.
7. EAT ON SMALLER PLATES.
This might sound silly but you really can’t fit large portions on smaller plates so tuck away the bigger dishes and start making use of the smaller plates in your cabinet! They will automatically help you choose smaller portion sizes!
8. COUNT NUTRIENTS, NOT CALORIES.
If you find that counting calories is successful for you then by no means should you stop but if that strategy doesn’t work for you try giving nutrient tracking a try. This will improve the quality of your diet. “Our energy intake can only depend on our ability to extract that energy from food. The quality of the calorie has the most impact on health, not necessarily the quantity” writes nutritionist and blogger Rhiannon Mack.
9. ADD MORE PROBIOTIC FOODS TO YOUR DIET.
Consuming a larger quantity of probiotic foods will help to improve the health of your gut and your digestive system which will benefit you overall. This will help your body to become more efficient at extracting nutrients from food and building the immune system. (Some ideas: kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sourdough bread, tempeh, kimchi, and sauerkraut)
10. INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE.
There are many benefits to drinking more water, such as simply feeling fuller, and helping your body to perform more efficiently! You should always try to drink more water on a daily basis and especially if you are performing intense workouts that make you sweat!
*BIG* Bonus tip:
Try eating the healthy foods that you actually enjoy and more of them. If you’re trying to force yourself to eat something simply because you know you should but you don’t like it then you are far less likely to have success. Eat whatever fruit is your favorite. Don’t force fish if you don’t like it. If you prefer turkey over chicken then choose that! Stick with things you actually enjoy.