Does thinking about eating healthier make you panic?
Is your first thought “I need to buy special food and completely change my lifestyle”?
If the idea of “eating better” makes you anxious even a smidge, here are seven tips you can incorporate today without ever setting foot in the grocery store or cracking open a cookbook.
Eating better is something EVERYONE can do to improve their health. And it doesn’t have to be time-consuming, difficult, or stressful.
7 Ways to Eat Better Today
1. Don’t skip meals!
I don’t care if you are in a hurry; eat breakfast.
Skipping meals is one of those dietary pitfalls most folks indulge in. We don’t have time. We’re hoarding calories for dinner, or we have a meeting.
Stop making excuses for not taking care of yourself. The diet culture has brainwashed you about calories. But you know you need those calories for energy. You don’t need the hijacked blood sugar and insulin that sabotages your energy, weight, and health.
Eating balanced meals and snacks with protein, healthy fat, and fiber will keep you properly fueled, prevent you from overindulging, and keep your metabolism working at peak form.
Don’t let your brain guess when it’s time to eat. Eating balanced will teach you to feel your hunger and fullness if you pay attention.
Skipping meals always leads to overactive hunger hormones and misreading these signals and overeating.
2. Eat your fruit; don’t drink it.
Healthy fruit juice is a myth.
Fruit is delicious, but it’s high in natural sugar fructose. Fructose is not burned for energy. It is stored in your liver as fat. But fruit is also high in vitamins and fiber, but only when you eat it and don’t drink it!
A serving of fruit can satiate your craving for sweets and fill you up, but a serving of juice will spike your glucose level and make you hungrier.
I give fruit the green light (particularly in-season fruit) but remember to pair it with protein or healthy fat.
3. Plan your meals and snacks
Grab-and-go eating is the norm for most of us. And unless you plan ahead, you’ll end up grabbing processed snacks and prepared foods that are filling your body with unwanted sodium, chemicals, and garbage.
So instead of reaching for what’s convenient, take ten minutes to scribble out a list of all the healthy snack foods you like, match them to a protein, healthy fat, or fiber and stick to your list.
A banana and a tablespoon of nut butter will fuel you so much better than a bag of chips or a candy bar.
And all you have to do is to create a matching list like you did in 3rd grade.
Imagine having a mental menu list of go-to foods ready for those snacking moments.
4. Eat dessert once
This healthy habit is my favorite as a no-diet coach. Although you may think it sounds ridiculous, but most of us have a sugar habit that makes dessert a day-long investment starting with breakfast.
We eat sugary cereal, fruity yogurt, pancakes, and pastries, technically dessert but call it breakfast. We sweeten our coffee with the flavors of ice cream.
This habit is a ticket for a free ride on the sugar rollercoaster, boosting blood sugar and insulin and crashing just in time to reach for candy at our desks. We have cookies after lunch and “treat ourselves” to ice cream after dinner.
All those highs and lows add up to more cravings, insulin resistance, weight gain, and disease.
Choose ONE meal to indulge in something sweet as dessert. The best time to eat a sweet is within 30 minutes after a meal.
This habit of timing your dessert works because, after a healthy meal, your stomach is full of protein, healthy fat, and fiber, thus slowing down the sugar absorption from the dessert.
You will be amazed at how much better you feel when you give yourself permission to enjoy dessert without denying yourself.
But remember, this does not mean eating the whole cake; just a slice will do!
5. Use your hands for portion sizes
I admit that I teach my clients not to measure or count calories or carbs.
That’s because once you learn habits of how to balance food combined with habits of how to eat, your hunger and fullness signals will be working again, stopping you from overeating.
But until your habits are tuned up, portion control is a great way to start.
But who has time to measure and weigh?
Let’s take life easy with the one thing that’s always handy, no pun intended.
The easiest way to mind your portions is to serve your portions based on the size of your hands:
protein = one palm
fat = one -three thumbs
veggies = two or more fists
carbs = one cupped hand
Honestly, don’t worry about hand size variations.
For now, this easy guesstimate method can save you from overeating and help you reign in your portion size without carrying any special tools or making a fuss.
Easy is good and retrains your brain for pleasure.
6. Swap water for high-calorie beverages
Walk straight past the soda machine, skip the double mocha latte frappuccino macchiato, and head right to the water fountain.
Water is your best friend. Drinking water is like showering your body from the inside out, rinsing away toxins, filling you up, hydrating your hair and skin, and, yes, decreasing your appetite.
DRINK UP. Think water is too bland, download my favorite spa water recipe.
7. Slow your eating down
Life is crazy. I get that. But eating is one of life’s essential pleasures.
Don’t squander it by rushing through meals and snacks so quickly that you can’t remember what you ate. Slow down. Savor every bite. Let your tastebuds celebrate what you are offering them.
When you take the time to enjoy your meals with healthy habits, you’ll make every mouthful count.
Adjusting your pace and making mealtimes a “time out” will help you focus on quality over quantity.
Try my # 1 healthy habit tip: put your fork down between bites; this slows even the fastest eater!
Now was that so hard?
Every one of these seven tips is something you can try today without any extra preparation.
Eating better doesn’t have to be painful.
My no-diet coaching is based on small steps to creating a happier, healthier you full of energy!
These small changes really do pay off big time.
Start with one habit and build on from there.