Maintaining a healthy diet consistently can be a challenge for many. Dietitian, Mia Syn, MS, RD shares her tangible tips that anyone can follow.
Today I am answering a reader question as a part of the “Ask Mia” series:
Question: How do I eat healthy consistently?
This can be a challenge for most of us! However, I have some tips and tricks that have worked for myself, my clients and have been backed by research. Here are some tangible tips you can implement today.
1. Always be prepared.
What this means is to never be empty handed! Avoid finding yourself in a situation where you don’t have a readily available healthy option. We all know that feeling of being “hungry” – when we would do just about anything for food and often prompts us to make less healthy choices. When we find ourselves ravenous, we are more likely to grab the high-sugar or high-fat items for quick energy. It’s our survival instincts!
Instead, always be sure to have healthy options available in your bag and in your fridge. This could be sliced veggies and hummus ready to eat, a piece of fruit with nuts, hardboiled eggs and even bars with good ingredients.
2. Think protein and fiber.
Protein, fiber (and healthy fat) are the ingredients for feeling satiated. I always recommend aiming for these ingredients at each of your meals and snacks. Fiber can come from fruit, veggies, nuts and whole grains while protein comes from meat, fish, eggs. Nuts and seeds are another source of protein and healthy fat. If you think in terms of these nutrients, you will find yourself satisfied and less likely to grab the nearest convenient option (healthy or not).
3. Ditch the sugar-sweetened bevs
While scientists may argue both ways, I believe that sugar-sweetened beverages can exacerbate unhealthy cravings. The sweet stuff has been shown to be addictive and prompt us to crave more sweets. Stick to water (so underrated!) and tea. Water helps us tune in better with our true hunger/fullness so that we can make the best choices for our body throughout the day.
4. Healthy eating is not black and white
As a dietitian, I do not believe in labelings foods good and bad. All foods can be enjoyed in moderation. There should not be guilt associated with eating this or that. A healthy diet is characterized by mostly healthy choices that support your body. This characterizes having a positive relationship with food.
5. Find healthier ways to satisfy unhealthy cravings
This is my favorite tip of all! A healthy diet is about finding foods that satisfy you, that you enjoy and that never make you feel deprived. This is key to eating healthy consistently. For example, if you are a soda lover I love transitioning clients to no-added sugar, flavored sparkling beverages or even Kombucha – you get that carbonation plus those beneficial probiotics. If you have a sweet tooth, try baking with more nutritious sweeteners like banana and dates (my fav) as opposed to refined sugar which lacks micronutrients.
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