The start of any new year goes hand in hand with making new resolutions. If there is one resolution that you make this year, pledge to eat a healthier diet. Not for me, but for your own health. You will be able to better fight diseases, see your own energy rise, have fewer cravings, you will be in better mood, it will be easier to control your weight and you will even have less wrinkles. Making a switch to eating healthy does not have to be difficult, just pick one of my ideas and incorporate it into your everyday life. It is that simple.
Here are my healthy eating ideas for 2014:
1) Cook more meals at home – I am a big fan of cooking at home because you can better control what you eat. By eating at home you avoid the chemicals and synthetic food ingredients that are so harmful to our health and are present in so many restaurant meals. Yes, cooking at home requires time and effort but there are many meal planning websites like: emeals.com, plantoeat.com, foodonthetable.com, relishrelish.com and cooksmarts.com that you can take advantage of.
2) Drink more water, herbal teas and milk – Being well hydrated is good for your health and wellbeing. The right amount of water intake will maintain your body function, it will increase your energy level and lessen the urge to eat those empty calories. Herbal teas in addition to providing good hydration have other health benefits. For example green tea is full of antioxidants which help us to fight diseases like cancer. Milk, although higher in calories, is a great choice for children because it is full of calcium which their growing bones need.
3) Sleep more – Having a good night sleep has been proven to help to control weight. People who sleep more often weigh less. People who sleep very little have a lower leptin level which means that the hunger does not get satisfied even if they have eaten. They also have a higher ghrelin level which stimulates the appetite. So give yourself a break and enjoy the extra nap.
4) Keep a food diary – Keeping a diary is a great way to control what you eat. It only takes 10 – 15 minutes a day to write down all your meals and snacks and it really makes you think twice before reaching out for that extra cookie. In some studies people who kept a diary lost twice as much weight as those that did not.
5) Do more exercise – Exercising keeps you healthy and also burns calories that you have eaten throughout the day. This helps you to keep the desired body weight. If you are already doing lots of exercise think about exercising smartly by including strength and interval training.
6) Eat a good breakfast – There are so many benefits of eating a good breakfast. It stops your muscle mass from eating itself, it stops you from reaching out for the mid morning snacks and it lowers cravings later in the day. Make sure your breakfast consists of a carbohydrate like small piece of bread or oats as well as protein such as yogurt or eggs.
7) Eat more healthy fats – We have been brainwashed into being scared of fats but eating healthy fats from avocado, nuts, fish and olive oil are all extremely good for us. Our body needs the omega 3s, 6s and 9s every day. If we eat these fats on daily basis can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
8) Get your daily intake of omega 3s – Omega 3s are essential fatty acids which our body needs to function properly. Good sources of omega 3s are oily fish such as salmon or sardines, flax seeds, walnuts and soybeans. Omega 3s have been associated with a number of health benefits including: ability to lower triglycerides and blood pressure, reduce inflammation and can help with arthritis and depression.
9) Eat more meatless meals – A study by Harvard in 2012 has found that eating one serving of red meat per day (3oz) is associated with 13% higher mortality rate. Meatless meals are prepared from more vegetables which have higher nutritional content than meat. It does not mean that you can never eat the meat if you are a meat lover. Just switch one meal in a week for a meatless one.
10) Eat a rainbow of vegetables – It is really beneficial for us to eat a variety of colors of vegetables because each color has different disease fighting properties. For example eating red colored vegetables has been associated with lower breast cancer, purple and blue enhance brain health, green vegetables have cancer fighting properties, yellow and orange have been linked to lower cancers but also lower inflammation. To get more veggies into your diet maybe invest in a good juicer and add the veg that you don’t like to various juice mixes.
Here are the changes that I will be making this year: 1) sleep more, 2) drink green tea every morning, 3) do more strength training. I will keep you posted on how I am doing.
What changes will you be making in 2014?