“I really want to eat healthy this year!”
Most of us have made this proclamation. But, eating healthy, as most of have experienced, can be a considerable challenge. Fret not, however, because we have assembled the most user-friendly, effective, and successful healthy eating tactics for 2018.
The Three W’s of Healthy Eating
The concept of healthy eating is not necessarily about dieting. Dieting connotes a goal of weight loss. Eating healthily entails a commitment to your overall fitness, which also includes a series of behaviors along with certain types of foods. They are:
- When to eat
- What to eat
- Where you eat
These are the three W’s. Each of these “W” categories incorporates tactics that will make your healthy-living mission most effective.
“When” Tactics for Your Eating Plan
The word breakfast literally means to “break” the “fast” that you’ve endured while you were sleeping. Eating within your first waking hour is important because you need to stabilize your blood sugar. Additionally, you are essentially refueling to start your new day. Would you begin a road trip with an empty tank of gas?
Many nutritionists suggest eating every three to fours hours to keep blood sugar levels from dropping too low; no one wants to get “hangry.” One suggestion is to apply a 1-to-10 scale to your level of hunger. A grumbling tummy with a lack of mental focus and low energy would be a 1, 2, or 3. That would mean it’s time to eat.
Feeling bloated or like you have to take a nap right after eating might count as an 8, 9, or 10—meaning you ate too soon after your last meal or too much food. The goal would be to maintain a feeling somewhere between a 4 and a 7. Try not to wait too long between meals or snacks so that you don’t risk over-eating or eating “junk” once you get a hold of some food.
If you want to have a good night’s sleep, you probably shouldn’t go to bed on a full stomach. Have your last meal or snack at least three hours before turning in. If you feel peckish and it’s late, have a full glass of water with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange or an herbal or flavored decaf tea. That’s a far better tactic for healthy eating than sneaking a midnight snack.
“What” is Included in My Plan?
The most effective habit you can incorporate into any health plan is to educate and surround yourself with nutritious foods. Knowing the difference between the truth about certain foods versus marketing will help you make better decisions about what you store in your home and what you ingest.
Here are some prevalent truths:
- We need fat in our diet (as long as it’s monounsaturated or polyunsaturated). This would include olive, coconut, and avocado oil, salmon, some nuts, and seeds, etc. Trans fats and saturated fats are unhealthy (beef, margarine, corn oil, palm oil, vegetable oil, cake mixes, non-dairy creamers, microwave popcorn, some frozen dinners, etc.)
- “Eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day could significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, and early death” (Imperial College London Study, published February 2017.) If you can shop organic, it’s preferred, as you will be subjecting yourself to less toxins in your produce such as pesticides and fertilizers.
- Sugar intake significantly increases health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancers. Sugar in your pre-packaged foods can be listed as: fructose, corn syrup, and cane sugar. None of them will benefit your health or waistline.
- White potatoes, bread, and rice will not help you if you’re on a healthy eating course. Instead, choose whole grains, sweet potatoes, and wild or brown rice.
What you stock up on at home is what you will eat.
Effective tactic: Shop wisely and avoid purchasing or bringing home foods that are unhealthy. It’s that simple.
Portion control is a huge (but, keep-it-small) element in healthy eating. Snacks are tiny meals aimed to tide us over until we have our next meal. A meal should be proportioned, balanced, and focused on nutrition and providing energy. Just because you’re eating healthy foods doesn’t mean you should eat a ton.
Best “Where” Tactics
Healthy eating can absolutely be successful while dining out. You just need to keep a few things in mind beforehand. Where you go, and how you act when you get there, is all up to you. But you’ve got this!
Most effective tactics for healthy eating away from home (aka as in a restaurant):
- Peruse the menu before you get there. See what you should/can or should not/cannot eat in advance.
- When the server asks if you want bread or chips, say, “NO. Thank you. J)
- Beware of yummy sauces and dressings. They are most likely filled with bad fats and sugar.
- Keep it simple and delicious. Grilled is a great option, as long as it’s with olive oil, not butter or vegetable oil. Salt, pepper, and garlic in moderation is awesome for flavoring and your health.
- Side dishes: order the veggies (as long as they’re not drowned in butter), or the fruit. French or home fries, mashed potatoes, salad with a ton of dressing, or slaw with mayonnaise are not productive choices.
- Order an appetizer instead of a meal. Often, that portion is enough.
- Order water instead of a sugary or alcoholic beverage.
- If they serve you too much food, get a to-go box. Don’t force yourself; leftovers are awesome.
2018 needs to be a year of success for you and your family. Healthy eating practices are not difficult once you understand which foods will benefit you most and how you can include them into your diet habitually. Hopefully, with our guided tactics, your quest will be simply attained and managed.