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Monday, May 20, 2013

Five Little Ways to Improve your Life

MAY 15, 2013 BY JULIE

You don’t have to make sweeping changes to improve your health and well being. In fact, many of my clients don’t even try to eat better because they think it’s too overwhelming and they don’t know what’s healthy and what’s not.

But eating right doesn’t require having a masters degree in nutrition or a culinary background. These five diet tips are simple but can provide big health payoffs. If you want to feel better, reduce your risk for chronic diseases or lose weight, these little tweaks work.

1. Opt for Darker & Brightly Colored Produce Picks

The darker and more colorful the produce, the more nutrients and beneficial phytonutrients it contains. So, whenever possible, choose red grapes over green; pink grapefruit over white; red leaf lettuce instead of iceberg or sweet potatoes over white potatoes.  Try to eat a variety of brightly colored produce choices every day. And, whenever possible eat the skin of fruits and vegetables because the skin is often the most concentrated source of fiber and phytonutrients.

2. Choose Wholesome Whole Grains

Thousands of products claim to be “whole grain” or “made with whole grains,” but research suggests that many are more hype than help. Harvard researchers suggest when choosing a whole grain to look at the Nutrition Facts panel to make sure that for every 10 grams of carbohydrates in a serving there is at least 1 gram of fiber.  This 10:1 ratio will help ensure that the whole grain product isn’t loaded with added sugars and saturated fat.

3. Avoid Eating “Naked” Carbs

Eating carby foods like crackers, sweets, bread, low-fat dairy desserts and cereal bars on their own often causes increased hunger and cravings for more carbs shortly thereafter. Instead, enjoy carbs with some type of protein to slow the blood sugar response and keep you fuller longer.  Crackers with low-fat cheese, toast with nut butter, oatmeal with Greek yogurt are examples of great.

4. Drink Half Your Body Weight In Water

A great hydration goal is to try to drink half your body weight in water every day.  If you weigh 140 pounds, that means you should strive to drink 70 ounces of water a day. Water helps to keep your metabolism revving and is essential for the health of every cell.

5. Eat Real Food

The best ingredient for a longer, healthier life is to eat real food. By real food, I mean less processed packaged foods and beverages and more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds and vegetable oils. If you diet is comprised of 80% real foods, your diet will provide more satisfying nutrition with each bite.

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