Start with the Most Important Meal of the Day: Breakfast
Whatever goals you have; weight loss, fat loss, or lean mass gains, breakfast sets the metabolic rate for the day and fuels the body for whatever is to come. It should be balanced and nutrient-dense.
As part of a healthy diet, breakfast should include a lean protein, a whole fruit or whole grain carbohydrate option, and very little sugar.
Bagels are a quick, carb-heavy pick, but can be made into a balanced meal:
Smoothies are an easy first step when creating healthy eating habits. They are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and are low-calorie. Here are some healthy options for your breakfast smoothie:
When hitting the drive-thru is the only option, there are always healthier options:
When travel is in the plans, the best option to support healthy eating habits is always to pack a cooler or travel bag with healthy snacks, lean proteins, homemade trail mix, almonds or walnuts, or whole fruits and vegetables. But if that doesn’t happen, don’t despair. There are decent food choices available while traveling.
Road trips often include quick stops at gas stations to refuel—the car and the people traveling. There are some things to watch for while strolling the aisles for healthy snacks.
First, look for the whole foods—fruits and vegetables in the deli section of some stores. If whole foods aren’t available, be sure to look at the nutrition label of packaged food and check the serving size. Many packages include more than one serving size so check the number of calories per serving.
Finally, avoid anything that has added sugar, including store-bought trail mix.
Restaurants have plenty of healthy meals to choose from. Always look at the calories per serving and stick to meals that support goals—low-calorie meals for weight loss and high-calorie meals for gains. Here are some other suggestions:
It happens to the best of us…when life happens, sometimes the drive-thru is the only option. Though it may be tempting to say, “this only happens once in a while, I’ll just get whatever I want”, remember those goals and make better choices.
A healthy diet becomes second nature when it is supported by healthy habits. Food choices become easier when they contribute to well-being, energy, recovery, and better health.
As previously mentioned, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To break the night-long fast, choose healthy foods. The psychology of eating says that starting with a healthy meal inspires healthy eating throughout the day. Who wants to start off with a win then sabotage that success later? Very few people will make that choice.
Sit, don’t stand for meals, chew food slowly, focus on the colors, textures, smells, and flavors of the food. Too often, we inhale meals and feel bloated afterwards.
A regular feeding schedule provides multiple opportunities to eat balanced, nutritious meals with fewer calories. This means that more nutrition is added to the diet, the body is properly fueled and energized, and cravings go away. Keep added sugar low by choosing whole grains, fresh fruits, almonds. Avoid deli meats.
“Eat a rainbow.” Different colored foods have different vitamin and mineral profiles, so have fun and make half the plate as colorful as possible. Keep nutrients intact by eating raw or very lightly cooked fruits and vegetables.
What do the colors mean?
It’s a simple rule, don’t stock unhealthy food in the house. Avoid temptation, emotional eating, and over-indulging by avoiding junk food altogether. This habit also helps avoid trans fats which are found in most processed foods.
Sticking to your healthy eating goals can take a bit more planning and careful consideration, but it is worth the extra effort for your long-term health.