The journey to finding a healthy eating routine is similar to the journey of life. It can be filled with peaks and valleys to discovering what approach compliments your life. Throughout the process, you have to be your own guru because what works for me, might not work for someone else. Approach this area of your life with flexibility and consistent reflections so you can practice what works and let go of what does not work for you.
When I was 18, I decided it was a great time in my life to begin educating myself on this specific area. It is not uncommon to have a minimal awareness of nutrition because it is not a standard or core course in school. By the age of 18, many individuals have absolutely no idea where to begin, and that’s okay. You have to be your own guru and understand that it’s an area of your life that is so important and complements your everyday actions.
At first, when I began educating myself and discovering different approaches to nourishing my body I was very restrictive. Restricting is definitely no way to effectively nourish your body and build a sustainable nutritious lifestyle. I usually would restrict my day to no snack or dessert because I thought it would help me to reach my goals. As I continued to read and educate myself, I realized the true value of having snacks and how snacking creates a nourishing routine. So, I made a few adjustments and here I am today, spreading my knowledge and providing the foundations.
When it comes to finding a routine that works for you, there are a few key habits I would highly recommend incorporating.
Make 1/2 your plate vegetables, 1/4 Protein, 1/4 carbohydrate. Ginger salmon recipe here
Drink A LOT of Water
Hydrating throughout the course of the day is very important. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water. Sometimes, when our body feels hungry, it is really due to dehydration. Drink water before, during and after every meal.
Discover the 80/20
Living life in moderation and consuming certain foods in moderation is the art of keeping this lifestyle sustainable for years to come. Striving to eat well 80% of the time, and the other 20% of the time allow yourself your favorite treats. If we consume around 21 meals each week, 4 of them can be more fun. Maybe that is enjoying your favorite pizza one night for dinner. Or having pancakes at your favorite brunch spot in town. Whatever it is for you, you can still incorporate these, just make these moments more special rather than every day. The 80/20 can also be approached when eating, practice mindfulness and stop eating when you are 80% full.
There is a large miss conception when it comes to enjoying snacks during the day. The answer is always incorporate snacks because it will keep your energy sustained for the entire day and you will be engaged in every moment. I recommend incorporating a mid more and late afternoon snack. Rather than reaching for your 3:00 p.m. coffee, nourish your body with vegetables and hummus or an apple and almond butter. Plan your snacks ahead of time and carry them with you in your bag, that way you aren’t running to the vending machine and settling on a bag of chips. Have snacks on hand, here are a few ideas: greek yogurt + granola, smoothie, KIND bar.
Count Colors, Not Calories
Approaching food by counting colors, not calories is a great way to nourish your body effectively. Focus on providing your body with a variety of fruits and vegetables. All of the fruits and vegetables you nourish with offer different nutrients. Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake will help you make healthier choices throughout the day. Recent studies show that most 58-88% of adults do not consume the recommended daily serving (5) of vegetables. Nourishing your body with vegetables will help you live a healthier life.
Eat A Variety
Variety is most definitely the spice of life. When it comes to choosing which foods to eat, really focus on variety. Switch up your meals so that you can sustain this lifestyle. Jazz up your vegetable cooking style and rice flavorings. Incorporate fresh herbs, minced garlic and enjoy. Another way to increase variety is switching up cooking styles, try baking, grilling, steaming, etc. Also, incorporate different cultures, have fun with spiced Mexican style food, Chinese flavors and French flavors, it makes it fun.
Have A Plan
Having a plan is key to success. Think ahead of time about your day, have snacks on hand, bring your own lunch or dinner when on-the-go because you will stay on track with your goals and save money. Before going out to restaurants, review the menu and choose options with protein, vegetables and a whole grain. Or if the occasion is special and you plan to enjoy your favorite steak and potatoes, then balance out the meal by having less meat or starch earlier in the day. This will keep you on track.
Listen To Your Body
Throughout this process, listen to your body. After you consume your meals, take note of how you feel. Do you feel energized, sick, lethargic, healthy? Keep practicing what works and let go of what does not work. Throughout the process stay mindful, and focus on your goals.
Tomorrow Is A New Day
Always remember that tomorrow is a brand new opportunity to stay consistent with your goals. If you over indulged one day, do not be hard on yourself. Experiencing guilt will get in the way of this positive lifestyle routine. There is just no need for any guilt, new day tomorrow. Stay positive in your approach and have fun!
These 8 tips are the foundation of beginning a sustainable approach to nutrition. At the end of the day you are your own guru, you know yourself best. Find what works for you, have fun and achieve your goals!
I hope that reading this article inspires you to live life passionately.
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