Smart Eating Strategies

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Wellness Coach

Along with a sound fitness program, we educate our clients on the vital role nutrition plays in living a healthy life. This article will educate the reader on nutrition basics and will address some common challenges that we all face in eating healthily.

Our nutrition guidelines come from an excellent book written by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD entitled, Eating on the Run. This book is for those of us who want to eat healthy but have little time and energy to dedicate toward that effort. She puts forth the idea of the “Nutrition 6-5-4-3-2 Countdown”. Her daily recommendations are as follows: “6 servings of whole grains, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, combined (more is better); 4-9 ounces of lean protein, 3 servings of calcium rich foods and 2 servings of fish each week”.

Although those guidelines are straightforward, healthy eating is anything but. With the fast pace of life today, we often perceive that we are too busy/tired/stressed to eat well.

The following are some ideas to help you on the path to healthy eating:

  1. Identify emotional eating: When we get bored, stressed, angry, or frustrated, we often turn to food to fill the void. Work to identify how you feel when you are eating. Figure out triggers and try to avoid them. You may also want to think about substituting other healthier behaviors when the situation arises: deep breathing, a quick walk, or a warm cup of tea.
  2. Identify unhealthy patterns: do you spend a lot of time in the car commuting and end up eating fast food too often? Is there a particular time of day when you find yourself craving sweets or salty foods? Seek to identify your own unhealthy habits and work on prevention.
  3. Plan your nutrition: Most of us plan our days and weeks; why not plan our nutrition? Plan your meals and shop once a week. Pack your lunch for work and bring along healthy snacks wherever you go. If you will be on the road all day, buy a small cooler and keep it stocked with healthy treats. Try to eat every 3-4 hours; this way you will not get overly hungry.
  4. For parents: PLEASE pack your kids a healthy lunch for school. Be a role model for your kids when it comes to healthy eating. Childhood obesity is growing at alarming levels due to the junk they are consuming and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Parents, your kids are watching and learning from you…what are you teaching them?

Healthy eating truly does not take a ton of energy – it just takes positive attitude and a willingness to try new healthier behaviors. Try some of these strategies and you will reap the benefits of more energy, less stress and a healthier you!

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