Eating well is all about moderation. Of course, it’s important to eat nutritious foods but sometimes it’s okay to indulge as well. Constantly missing out on delicious family recipes or never having a piece of dessert, just to be healthier, is no fun and not manageable in the long run. Instead, focus on the big picture.
When you feel like munching but are not actually hungry, have a cup of tea – it just might satisfy your cravings. Sometimes dehydration can be mistaken for hunger.
Have that piece of pie, but the next day eat extra fruits and veggies. A little smart variation your diet will allow you to still enjoy your favorite dishes but ensure you’re getting enough of the wholesome foods and nutrients your body needs. This will also help you to feel your best!
Here are some tips to maintain a smart, balanced diet:
1. MEAL PREP
Cook some of your food on Saturday or Sunday to make sure you always have some deliciously nutritious foods on hand for the whole week. Healthy choices include are roasted squash, steamed greens and sliced vegetables. It is also a good idea to cook up some kind of protein such as pulled pork tenderloin or chicken, lean meatballs, dried beans, etc. After a busy day at work, you will have have a wholesome, homemade dinner ready to go.
2. EAT TONS OF PRODUCE
All produce has some nutritional benefits so stocking up on fruits and veggies is a great idea to help you stay balanced. Incorporate veggies into your morning eggs or have some cherries for a snack. If your kitchen is stocked with delicious fruits and vegetables, you’re more likely to include them in a meal.
3. PACK YOUR BREAKFAST WITH PROTEIN
Greek yogurt is full of protein and a great breakfast or snack choice. Have a variety of healthy breakfast options on hand for a quick breakfast whenever you’re in a rush. Having enough protein in your breakfast will help to keep you full for longer and prevent unhealthy cravings later. Other good protein sources are eggs, beans and nuts, which can be served with toast or a smoothie.
4. STOCK UP ON LOW CALORIES BEVERAGES
Of course water is the best choice for you but drinks such as tea and coffee are also great choices. When you feel like munching but are not actually hungry, have a cup of tea – it just might satisfy your cravings. Sometimes dehydration can be mistaken for hunger.
5. KEEP THE PANTRY WELL STOCKED
Having nutritious foods on hand and ready to go makes smart eating a lot easier. Healthy options include no-salt-added diced tomatoes, beans, tuna, salsa, pasta sauce, whole-grain pasta and more. If you stock your pantry full of cookies and chips, that’s what you’re going to find yourself snacking on more often than you might like!
6. FIT IN EXERCISE WHEN YOU CAN
You will feel your best when you get some exercise in. Even if you only have 10 minutes, go on a walk or lift some hand weights. Every little bit counts. Exercising first thing in the morning can help to ensure that you have time to get your exercise in before your day gets too busy.
7. MIX UP YOUR SNACKS
Having a piece of fruit for your snack everyday would be a healthy option, but it might not leave you completely satisfied. Feel free to mix up your snack options. Great snacks include an apple with nut butter, cottage cheese with almonds and whole-grain crackers with hummus. Try roasted crunchy chickpeas, homemade energy balls or fruit and yogurt parfaits if you have a little extra time on your hands.