Eat This, Not That!

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach
As we head into Fall and the coming holiday season, many people want to focus on eating for optimal health. So, as this issue is dedicated to food, we thought we would share some ideas on how to eat a bit healthier over the next few months and beyond. We have taken some common types of food and eating behaviors and have given suggestions on what to replace those with for better health.. Enjoy!
  1. Eat more real, whole food and less processed foods – processed foods come in packages and contain all kinds of chemicals that you do not want in your body. A great rule of thumb: if your Grandma would not recognize an ingredient, try not to put it in your body. Real food is in the original form. This may actually require you to do some planning and cooking, but it is well worth the effort. If you focus on just this one behavior for a few weeks, you will be amazed at how much better you feel!
  2. Eat more lean protein, less higher fat protein – options like lean beef, chicken, fish, beans and nuts/seeds provide an optimal amount of clean protein with low amounts of saturated fat.
  3. Drink more water and less soda, fruit juice and/or alcohol – you will stay better hydrated and save yourself unwanted energy swings from the sugar.
  4. Eat more nuts and seeds, less chips and cookies – make your snacks more nutrient dense and limit amounts. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Plus they taste great and help to satiate you so you feel full after eating them. Limit to about an ounce per day. Good sources: walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Eat small amounts of whole wheat or other whole flours (i.e. oat, amaranth), less white flour and white sugar – more and more research is linking disease and sickness to wheat and sugar products so enjoy sparingly. Try to replace 1-2 servings per day with a serving or two of fruit/vegetables.
  6. Cook your own food more, eat out less. You will enjoy healthier fare, that typically has less calories, chemicals and preservatives, saturated fat and salt for a fraction of the price.
  7. Enjoy small amounts of favorite desserts, but focus on balanced eating through the day. Don’t “save” yourself for the big party/dinner/holiday event. Eat smartly throughout the day and have a small portion of the special food that you enjoy.
  8. When possible, purchase organic fruits and vegetables and try to limit genetically-modified (GMO) produce. Google the “Dirty Dozen” for more information on those fruits/vegetables that are better to ingest if they are organic.
  9. Lastly, enjoy your food and eat mindfully. Take time to savor your meals and the people you are eating with!

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