Fit Latina Tips for the Week:
For many, the start of summer also brings the desire to get healthier. Nothing is more important to your health than what you are putting into your body to fuel it.
Finding a nutrition plan that sticks can be a challenge – especially since there is no cookie-cutter method that works for everyone. Keep in mind that living a healthier food lifestyle doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy the foods you love the most, or that you have to become a calorie-counting psycho.
Instead, keep food a pleasure by thinking of your diet as a means of feeling (and in turn, looking) your best, getting more energy and finding optimum health.
Here are some tips to help you find a nutrition plan that works:
Don’t ban yourself from your favorites or try to go cold turkey. Remember when your parents made something off-limits and it always made you want to do that activity more? The same goes for trying to ban yourself from food you really enjoy right away. Start slowly. For example, try making your portion sizes smaller or replace unhealthy items with healthier items over time. Don’t beat yourself up for treating yourself to an indulgence every once in a while. Taking small steps in the right direction as opposed to giant, drastic changes make it much more likely that new habits will stick for the long haul.
Get serious about hydration. Getting enough water into your body is absolutely critical – and most people don’t get enough each day. Water helps flush your entire system of any toxins and keeps every system in your body functioning properly. It is also really difficult to tell if that feeling in your stomach is hunger or thirst. When you feel those pangs, get used to grabbing your water bottle first. You may find yourself surprised that you no longer feel the urge for anything else. If you still need more after that, then you can be assured that what you are feeling is hunger.
Think about what healthy foods you already enjoy… but don’t be afraid to experiment. Think you are going wrong by eating a similar menu each day? Not if the menu you are eating is chocked full of healthy food. Don’t be afraid to try something new or add new ingredients to recipes you already love. Really start to focus on the foods you eat. How do they make you feel? What tastes are you drawn to? Does your body feel particularly good when you eat one food over another? When you use these questions as a guide, your choices will become much clearer and more natural.
Put the focus on breakfast. Not to sound like a broken record (it seems like the importance of breakfast is everywhere you turn), but you are truly doing yourself a disservice if you don’t start the day with a solid breakfast. Not only does your body need the fuel – it has been hours since your last meal and your nutrients tank needs refilling – it also jump-starts your metabolism after a night of rest. Try to get a nice balance of whole grain and protein – peanut butter on toast, granola in Greek yogurt, eggs on a whole wheat English muffin, etc.
Make a menu in advance. Life gets really busy. If you aren’t pre-planning, you’re setting yourself up for failure. At the beginning of each week, decide what you are going to eat for the next several days so you can be assured that you have planned ahead for healthy choices. Go shopping with a list and stick to the perimeters of the grocery store (this is where you will find all the “real,” non-processed foods like meats and produce). When you cook, make enough so that there are leftovers that will last a few days. The easier you make healthy noshing for yourself, the easier success will become.