*****This post is auto-published while I’m recovering from a tonsillectomy*****
Welcome to my 2nd post in honor of National Nutrition Month! Today I wanted to share some diet tips that I try to use in my daily life. These all come from a combination of my education, things I learned during dietetic internship and personal experiences
1. I don’t believe in dieting. I just feel like it is generally hard to stick with a plan that focuses on eliminating foods. I have found that focusing on healthy foods that I can increase leads to diet changes that are much more maintainable for me.
2. Understanding portion sizes is key. This one is so important! Here is an example… if you read my blog then you know that I love almonds. They are good for you in moderation but are higher in calories and fat. When I first started eating them regularly, I counted them out so I could tell what 1 portion size looked like in my palm. Now I can eyeball a portion so counting them out is not necessary. I would recommend doing this a few times so you can easily recognize what a portion size looks like.
3. Make fruits & vegetables the star of the show. It is very easy to focus on the protein and grain dishes when I make meals. However, I can decrease the amount of calories and fat in a dish by focusing on fruits and vegetables instead. When I was in college, my typical spaghetti dish included a pretty large portion of noodles, tomato sauce and ground beef. Now when I make spaghetti, I use 1 cup cooked of noodles, a bunch of vegetables, sauce, and about half of the ground beef that I used to use. Adding vegetables like onions, mushrooms, and peppers not only enhances the dish but also allows me to have a normal serving of noodles and still feel full afterwards.
4. Strive for diversity. This one can be tough for me, but I try really hard to have a diverse diet. I try to spread different types of proteins, fruits and vegetables out throughout the week. It is a lot harder to get bored of foods when I’m eating something different all the time.
5. Eat clean. This basically means to eat foods in their natural form rather than processed foods. It is hard to find “junk food” to eat if you’re eating clean. Trying to eat clean foods has really helped me with snacking, because I reach for fresh fruits, vegetables and homemade dips rather than pre-packaged items.
6. Stay hydrated. Sometimes when I think I feel hungry, I’m actually just thirsty. I keep a water bottle in my bag so I can have something to drink wherever I am.
7. Listen to your body. I used to eat at specific times, especially at work, but now I eat when I feel hungry. Sometimes I eat lunch at 11am and sometimes I eat at 1pm. Sometimes I have an afternoon snack but I will skip it if I still feel full from lunch. I also usually have some sort of snack with me (a piece of fruit, nuts, etc.) in case I am hungry while I’m out and about.
8. Read nutrition labels. I rarely try a new product without reading the nutrition label first. Check out this post about reading nutrition labels if you’re not sure where to start.
9. Use exercise to supplement weight loss, and use nutrition as your foundation. I believe that exercise is so important to overall wellness. It is important for heart health, increases self-confidence, helps to build your strength, etc. With that being said, I find that when I focus on exercise as a means of weight loss or weight maintenance that I’m not very successful. It is pretty easy to cancel out the calories burned from a workout with poor diet. It works better for me to focus on my diet and treat exercise like the cherry on top.
10. If you fall of the wagon, get back on. This is my motto when it comes to diet. It is normal to have a day when you feel like you didn’t eat as well as you could have. That’s okay… tomorrow is a new day