by Stephanie Lasek, AANC , I’On Club Personal Trainer
“Healthy” eating. It’s at the top of almost everyone’s list, but what constitutes healthy? A quick Google search will reveal thousands of diets and self-professed experts touting unfounded and downright unsafe eating plans. It’s enough to overwhelm the average person and make them throw up their hands in defeat. What most of us want is simple, straightforward and easy to implement advice. Nutrition is a vast topic, with lots of nuances based on an individual’s unique needs, BUT some things hold true for almost everyone. These are my top tips.
Eat More Good Fats
Fat is not the enemy, but it has to be the good kind. Add nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters, salmon, and coconut oil to your diet and not only will you be getting healthy fats, but you’ll stay satisfied longer. The body has to work harder to digest fat, which means a bump up in metabolism.
Ditch Simple Carbs
Just like fat, it’s the type of carbs you eat that are important. Carbs in the form of vegetables, steel cut oats and limited grains are good choices. Stay away from processed, refined carbs, especially the “whites” like white rice, white breads and white sugar.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber is filling and helps our digestive system to run more smoothly. Soluble fiber slows digestion and helps to lower blood glucose levels. Insoluble fiber makes waste heavier and softer, allowing it to pass through the intestines more efficiently. Neither form is absorbed by the body. Peas, lentils, beans, barley, oats, seeds and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts are good sources of fiber.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
This may be the biggest game changer for many people. If it has calories and you can drink it, cut it out of your diet. Soda, wine (I know, sorry!), beer, juice, milk and sports drinks are all culprits sabotaging your efforts to lose or maintain a healthy weight. They contain empty calories and extra sugar. Vegetable juices without any added sugar and protein meal replacement shakes are exceptions and may be consumed on occasion.
Know Your Portion Sizes
Healthy foods still have calories, so you CAN have too much of a good thing. Look at serving sizes on labels and measure/weigh your food. A food scale is a great tool. With something like almonds, for example, count them out and put the rest out of sight. 10 almonds are considered to be one serving and come in at approximately 100 calories. Tablespoons are level, so measure those nut butters!
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
The body responds differently for example, to 200 calories of sugar than it does to 200 calories of protein. The former spikes insulin levels and halts fat burning, while the latter helps build and repair muscles while stabilizing blood sugar. Consume your calories wisely and you’ll breeze through the day, free from cravings, crashes and hunger.
Introduce these tips, one at a time over the course of the next six weeks and you’ll be well on your way to changing your health, and life, for the better. Here is to your healthiest year yet!
Stephanie is certified in nutrition, personal training, multiple group fitness disciplines, as well as Pilates and works at the I’On Club.