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10 Tips To Make Healthy Eating A Habit

10 Tips To Make Healthy Eating A Habit

The weight-loss landscape is changing. No longer are fad diets as attractive as a healthy lifestyle of balance through eating healthy, moderate exercise and mental wellbeing. Eating healthy contributes to weight loss, bolsters your body’s immunity against disease, and even enhances your mood and overall wellbeing.

While that sounds great, eating healthy works best if it can be worked into our busy schedules and habits. Here are 10 simple ways to weave healthy eating habits into your life.

1. Swap processed food for fresh food

When you’re tired, it’s easy to reach for that can of soup for a quick fix. However, processed foods include unnecessary ingredients like sugars, “unhealthy” fats , high sodium content and preservatives making them high energy, high calorie meals that pack on the pounds. Whole, fresh foods give your body nutrients without the high caloric baggage.

Start with 2-3 cooked meals a week to get in the groove and always keep a few veggies and fresh meats around for healthy alternatives to canned foods.

  • Grocery Tip: Replace processed foods with healthier substitutes when you’re grocery shopping. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store (where all the fresh foods are) and avoid the aisles (with processed foods) as much as possible.
  • Cooking Tip: Bookmark some quick-and-easy recipes for inspiration so you’re not struggling to figure it out when you’re famished after a long day.

“My two rules of cooking: keep it fresh and keep it simple” – chef Mike Isabella

2. Eat a high-protein breakfast

Starting the day with carbs (like bread, potatoes, pancakes) may give you an instant energy boost but beware of that inevitable sugar crash that makes you want to eat more as the day wears on. A breakfast that’s rich in proteins (like eggs) on the other hand maintains your insulin level so you burn sugar slowly for a stable energy output throughout your day. You’ll feel satiated and won’t be reaching for unhealthy snacks as much.

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eggs for breakfast

    Baked, scrambled, boiled, poached or so many other interesting ways, eggs are a great way to get your protein for the day. If you’re in a rush, you can always consider a quick Greek yogurt parfait or low fat cheeses.

    Quick Parfait Recipe

    • In a to-go container (or cup), mix 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with a couple of drops of vanilla essence
    • Layer with berries (strawberries, blueberries and any other you might have)
    • Add a layer of granola with a couple of nuts or raisins and you have a delicious parfait-to-go

    3. Eat smaller portions more often

    “I believe in eating smaller meals more often throughout the day to keep the metabolism going.”  – chef Todd English

    This one is all about energy management. When you eat a large meal, your digestive system is overburdened leading to bloating. Your body is further conditioned to store energy as fat. Plus you’ll be craving more sugar.

    So eat smaller portions more often.

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    Lunch tip: Break your lunch into two parts. Perhaps eat a piece of the sandwich and finish it 2 hours later.

    Dinner tip: Break it up. Eat a small dinner early and snack on yogurt or fruit with cereal a couple of hours later.

    4. Eat smart – Make healthy substitutions

    Heating healthy should never mean having to give up eating what you like. If that were the case, it would be a difficult habit to cultivate. Make healthy substitutions where you can instead.

    healthy-substitutions

      Healthy substitution tips

      • Swap mayo out for mustard
      • Swap a side of fries out for a side of veggies. Spice them up with a bit of lemon, salt and pepper.
      • Move from frying your food to broiling, grilling or baking
      • Swap white bread out for whole grain bread
      • Swap ground meats out for leaner options , better yet – fish or white meats

      5. Get your vitamin D

      Whether it’s our collective lifestyle or the choice of foods, the number of people with vitamin D deficiency has been growing. Vitamin D balances your hunger hormones (insulin and gherlin) and boosts your happy hormone (seratonin) with the combined effect of reducing those sugar cravings and keeping you from reaching out for unhealthy snacks. So get more vitamin D in your body.

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      Vitamin D sources

      • Even 30 minutes of time in the sun everyday can help boost vitamin D levels
      • Fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel) is high in vitamin D so include fish in your food weekly
      • Vegan? Then make mushrooms a staple at home especially Portobello, or try fortified juices or suppliments

      6. Snack healthy too

      It’s unreasonable to stop snacking entirely. So snack healthy. Instead of reaching out for fried or processed sugary snacks, make yourself a delicious snack treat with tasty fruit and nuts and maybe even a little granola. Make this the night before and pre-pack it so you don’t forget it in your morning rush.

      Healthy snack pack recipe

      • Nuts: 1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
      • Fruit: 1/4 cup dried raisins, 1/4 cup berries (cranberries, blue berries strawberries)
      • Toss mix and put away. Amp it up with 1/2 a fresh cut banana when you’re snacking

      7. Make healthy taste good!

      We often associate healthy with tasteless and boring. And we couldn’t be more wrong. There are so many ways to flavour healthy foods so they leave you wanting more. Think spices, peppers and garnishes. Keep a few spices around and you can make any healthy meal taste good.

      spice-up-your-food

        Flavor tips

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        • Toss in some cumin, paprika and turmeric when sautéing a couple of veggies to add flavour
        • Consider basting fish with garlic, lemon juice and hot pepper like Habanero
        • Garnish your stews with chopped cilantro
        • Amp up those vegetable soups with a touch of lemon or orange zest
        • Not adventurous enough? Try one of these yummy curries and you will be looking forward to eating healthy every day!

        8. Eat all the colours of the rainbow – Veggies

        Vegetables are good but getting a full palette of veggies of all colours is even better. Aside from vitamins, minerals and fiber veggies also give your body phytonutrients to naturally reduce those cravings for unhealthy foods. If veggies are not part of your regular diet, then make small changes slowly. Start be including a veggies in a side or salad. Or make one meal a veggie meal. Try a different veggie every day or even every other day.

        Cooking tip: Salads are the easiest way to get your veggies and cost very little prep time. Toss your veggies and try healthy salad dressing options to keep the taste without the calories. If salads are not for you, then try these delicious alternatives.

        9. Drink lots of water during your meal

        Drinking water with your meal will help with weight loss because it replaces sugary high-caloric drinks like soda or juice. Secondly, drinking a couple of glasses of water during your meals will help you from over eating. It’s an appetite suppressant. Water fills you up faster and keeps you from reaching for a second or third serving. So drink up and see the difference.

        10. Get some sleep

        Yes, you heard that right. How does sleep help you eat healthy? Actually, sleeping keeps you from eating unhealthy foods. Getting less that 7-8 hours of sleep a day can increase your sugar cravings. You’ll snack more and snack unhealthy. Sleep deprivation also slows down your body’s metabolism and causes you to burn less energy and store more fat. Sleeping is a healthy habit. Never feel guilty and get that much needed sleep for good health!

        sleep-is-good

          Conclusion

          The main takeaway here is that there are many ways in which you can tweak your habits to start eating healthy. Start slow and change one thing at a time. You won’t see changes overnight but keep it up and you will start to notice that these healthy habits lead to a healthier body and a happier you.

          Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

          The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

          1. Understand Yourself Better

          Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

          Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

          2. Keep Track of Small Changes

          I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

          Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

          3. Become Aware of What Matters

          As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

          You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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          4. Boost Creativity

          The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

          When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

          You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

          5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

          A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

          Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

          6. Process Life Experiences

          When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

          Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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          7. Stress Relief

          In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

          Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

          8. Provide Direction

          Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

          One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

          9. Solve Problems

          Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

          Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

          When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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          10. Find Relief From Fighting

          Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

          Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

          11. Find Meaning in Life

          Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

          12. Allow Yourself to Focus

          Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

          13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

          When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

          14. Let the Past Go

          I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

          15. Allow Freedom

          Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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          16. Enhance Your Career

          Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

          Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

          17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

          All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

          18. Catalog Your Life for Others

          No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

          We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

          Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

          Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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