There are a zillion nutrition tips floating around out there. Here are a few simple ones that have worked well for me over the years.
- Limit junk food or don’t eat it at all. Whatever junk food you have in your kitchen, throw it out and replace it with healthy foods and snacks. Look into other ways to comfort yourself and think of food as nutrition, not entertainment or emotional fodder.
- Go on a healthy food shopping spree. Don’t look at prices. Buy items that are healthy and appealing. Fill your cupboards, pantry and fridge with healthy foods so you will not feel like your kitchen is empty.
- Limit eating out. Most restaurant food has high amounts of sodium, sugar and fat. There are few exceptions. Spend more time with family or friends cooking together, or enjoy cooking for yourself.
- Visit a farmer’s market. Because farmers markets make buying healthy food fun and interesting. Most of the produce will be freshly picked, and taste heavenly compared to the refrigerated and thawed produce we get at grocery stores. Many farmer’s markets have healthy homemade jams, local honey, hot sauce, or pickled this and that.
- Cut out the white stuff. Sugar has zero nutrition. Cut out high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, too. Sugar is linked to the growing obesity epidemic in the US and the rising rates of diabetes. It is also linked to heart disease, which remains the number one killer of people in the US. Use natural sweeteners in baking like raw honey, date sugar or molasses, which retains high amounts of nutrients.
- Exercise. No level of nutrition can make up the difference for lack of exercise. Walking counts, as does taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard’s School of Public Health places exercise at the foundational base of his food pyramid.
- Eat at a table. According to Michael Pollan’s latest book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, “No, a desk is not a table. If we eat while we’re working, or while watching TV or driving, we eat mindlessly, and as a result eat a lot more than we would if we were eating at a table, paying attention to what we’re doing. When eating somewhere other than a table, stick to fruits and vegetables.”
- Eat smaller portions by buying smaller plates. I gave my giant-sized dinner plates to the Salvation Army and bought smaller square plates. And I eat less because of it. According to Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, in a study focused on size illusions, “People with a large bowl and a three-ounce scoop dished out 57 percent more ice cream than those given a smaller bowl and smaller scoop.”
- Cut out ‘beverages’ and drink water. Water is free, whereas most beverages come with a price – a health price and a financial price. One popular 12-ounce soda boasts a whopping 150 calories, and it offers no nutrition. As a treat, drink tea instead of soda.