With delicious, tempting foods everywhere you turn, it often seems easier to load up on junk. This goes double for busy ladies who would rather starve than have to cook a meal at the end of a long day. But if you want to feel and look your best, it's time to boost your nutrition!
Learning how to eat right can feel like a daunting task, especially when you're used to grabbing the fastest, most convenient thing. That's why I've narrowed it down to just 6 easy habits! Follow my healthy eating tips to get on the road to your healthiest you!
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1. Learn To Cook
Nothing can boost your nutrition faster than changing your diet. Simply swapping out healthier foods for processed or otherwise unhealthy ones will make you feel better instantly. But all that is for naught if you don't know what to do with these foods once you get to the kitchen!
Learning to cook a few healthy meals puts you in control of what you eat. While many of us turn to fast food or microwavable dinners when we're exhausted, we all know that they are full of bad-for-you stuff. From crazy high sodium and fat contents to weird chemical additives, it's hard to tell just what you are putting in your body!
When you cook your own meals at home, though, you know exactly what you're eating. You're in control of every ingredient! And don't think you have to make gourmet meals to eat healthily. . . knowing simple cooking techniques opens up a world of yummy possibilities for you.
If you're too embarrassed to try cooking classes (or just want to learn at home in your underwear), check out Udemy. They offer an amazing selection of online courses where you can learn about cooking, nutrition, and more anywhere you have an internet connection. A great class to start with is Kitchen Basics, which teaches you the bare necessities of cooking: knowing your equipment and learning different prep and cooking methods.
Once you've got that covered, move on to Fresh & Simple Cooking with Yuppiechef. Here you'll learn how to make healthy and tasty entrees, desserts, and condiments at home. If you really don't have the time to make a meal from scratch, try Easy, Healthy, Crockpot Cooking. This course shows you how to utilize this miracle device so you can come home to a delicious and nutritious dinner after work!
If you want to delve deeper into learning about nutrition, Udemy has courses for that, too. Nutrition Masterclass goes over how to eat to meet your health and fitness goals. It teaches you about different types of nutrients and diets and how to use them to get healthy! To learn how to tell the good foods from the bad ones in the supermarket, check out Get to Know Your Food. This class debunks food label myths and helps you select better-for-you processed items.
2. Load Up On Fruits and Veggies
We all know that we should eat our fruits and vegetables. It's pretty much been driven into our brains since birth. Produce is not only delicious, but it also contains most of the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to run smoothly.
Everything from calcium and protein to vitamin C and potassium can be found in fruits and veggies. One of the most important nutrients found in produce is fiber. Fiber keeps your digestive system in working order.
But why does this matter?
According to the Mayo Clinic, fiber makes you feel full and regulates your digestive system, which can help you lose weight if that's what you are looking for. A high-fiber diet has also been shown to lower your cholesterol. It can even help you regulate your blood sugar levels. That's why fruits and veggies are perfect for when you're feeling hangry
So if you want to boost your nutrition and overall health, hit the farmer's market! Strolling through the booths can be a fun date or outing with friends, too. You get some fresh air, support local businesses, and get some yummy, fresh food, too.
Lots of people avoid fresh fruits and vegetables because of their short shelf life. No one wants to shell out their hard-earned money for food that will just go bad in a few days! But here's a tip: don't be afraid of frozen!
Though frozen food often gets a bad rap, it can be even better for you than fresh produce. It is picked and frozen at the peak of its ripeness, which is when nutrient levels are highest. And if the convenience of frozen gets you to eat more veggies rather than turning to takeout, that's a win! (ABC News)
3. Avoid Mindless Eating
If you really want to boost your nutrition, you have to stop one bad habit for good: mindless eating. This includes any time you are not really paying attention to how much food you're putting in your mouth. One example of this that millennials are terrible for is eating while doing something else.
Watching TV, reading, driving, and working can distract you from your food. As a result, you may end up eating more than you had intended. Whether it's potato chips or carrot sticks, those are extra calories your body just doesn't need! And let's be real: most of us are chowing down on sugary or salty junk foods while we binge watch our favorite shows, so not eating while you do other activities can also help you cut down on unhealthy snacking in general.
To cut down on mindless eating, try to eat slowly. Taking breaks often also gives your body time to realize when it's full before it's too late. Nobody likes feeling overstuffed! Did you know it actually takes around 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? If you power through your meal, you will likely end up feeling bloated and probably gaining weight.
Not only will eating mindfully help you feel and look better, but you'll gain a new appreciation for just how tasty your food is. Really savor each bite. You'll be surprised how much more enjoyable your meals can be when you take the time to appreciate them!
4. Eat Smaller Portions
Wanna know a secret?
While it's obviously important to eat wayyyyy more nutritious foods then you do junk foods, you can pretty much incorporate anything you love into a healthy diet. How? Portion control.
You can have a diet of strictly unseasoned chicken breast and salads, but if you eat too much, you will still be overweight and unhealthy. Your body only needs a certain number of calories to function each day and if your calories in exceed your calories out, you'll gain weight. It's that simple!
In order to boost your nutrition, try dividing your plate into four sections. Fill one with meat or protein, one with a starch like bread or rice, and two with non-starchy veggies. This gives you the right amounts of each type of nutrient without thinking about it! (Be Your Healthiest Best)
You can also control your portion sizes by eating off smaller plates. Doing so tricks your brain into thinking you're eating more! Also, avoid putting serving dishes on the table. You will be less likely to grab a second helping that you don't actually need.
Everyone needs a different amount of food, so it's important to figure out your ideal caloric intake. Smaller people need less food in general and those who are active require more food since they are burning more calories off. Women's Health suggests using these simple equations to figure out your ideal caloric intake:
- Inactive: Your weight in pounds x 15= Y, Y-500= Daily Calorie Goal
- Active: Your weight in pounds x 18= Y, Y-500= Daily Calorie Goal
Want to learn even more about portion control? Check out the helpful video from LivestrongWoman below.
5. Stay Hydrated
I really can't stress this one enough. Drink plenty of water! It sounds so easy but many people do not stay properly hydrated. If you don't drink enough water, you can take other steps to boost your nutrition until you are blue in the face but it won't do much good.
Did you know that drinking water before and during meals can actually help you eat less? Sometimes our brains get confused and tell us we're hungry when we are actually thirsty. Filling your belly with water not only ensures you're well hydrated, it also makes you feel fuller so you don't overeat.
The best part?
Staying hydrated not only makes you feel great on the inside, but it improves your looks on the outside, too. Proper hydration is key to having supple, glowing skin.
Water also keeps you regular, boosts your immune system, and helps keep muscles and joints lubricated so you don't get cramps. Plus it gives you tons of energy! You can only benefit from drinking plenty of water, so grab a cute bottle and start sipping! (MindBodyGreen)
6. Supplement With Vitamins
Let's be honest:
I could probably eat fresh produce until the cows come home and still not get my recommended daily values of most nutrients. I just don't have enough time in the day or room in my stomach! While it is important to try to get your nutrition from food where you can, vitamin supplements are a great way to pick up the slack.
Many nutritionists say that you should try to get as many nutrients out of your diet as you can first. Once you know you are eating a balanced, healthy diet, you can supplement with vitamins. Supplements are also great for when you haven't been eating right (like on vacation) or are starting to feel sick.
Each person has different deficiencies, so in order to best boost your nutrition, find out what yours are. For instance, I am lactose sensitive and eat very little dairy, plus I am a tiny white woman. This means I need to supplement my calcium so I can lower my chances for osteoporosis in the future.
Not sure where to begin? Try multi-vitamins. These will help get you to your RDV of pretty much every nutrient in one pill. Vitamin D is pretty much a universal deficiency, at least for anyone who doesn't work outdoors, so a supplement of this nutrient is a must for most people. Finally, get your digestive health in check with probiotics. These pills help you absorb other nutrients that you eat, too, so they're the perfect way to boost your nutrition easily! (The/Thirty)
At this point in our lives, getting healthy is so important. As young adults, we need to learn how to take care of ourselves so we can live a long, happy life. In addition to getting adequate exercise, starting to boost your nutrition is essential to looking and feeling your best.
And guess what? Getting healthy isn't really that hard! In fact, you can make most of these changes right now. Just add these healthy habits to your daily routine and soon you won't even remember how you lived without them.
If you're really nervous about making big changes to your lifestyle, start with the easy ones first. Replace some of your sugary drinks with water and add more fresh produce to your diet. Then you can move on to learning to cook delicious meals and not eating them in front of the TV.
What are your tips on how to boost your nutrition? Which of my ideas was your favorite? Are you going to try any of these lifestyle changes? Let us know in the comments below!