This guest post was written by Nicole, author of My Years Without Sugar.
Your health is your life. Make it a priority.
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.
Remember, it only takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit. So pick one of the tips above and start making it a healthy habit today.
Follow Nicole on her blog, My Years Without Sugar, where she shares tips on escaping the sugar addiction.
Photo by: Craig
Thank you Nicole for a reminder of these basic tips and tricks to healthy eating.
We understand it all, but definitely need constant reminders to follow them regularly 🙂
The biggest change I’ve made recently is trying to shift from “white” to “brown” (sugar,rice,bread)
It has definitely helped a lot.
Armen Shirvanian says
This is good stuff. I follow most of these. One thing I had in mind to start doing at times was buying certain items in bulk. I got a huge package of spinach, so that was a good start, because I usually get small sets of spinach each time.
Interesting idea there about eating at a table instead of a desk. I had not really thought about that.
And I will add- don’t try to do everything at once, take step by step, changing lifestyle is a process. 🙂
For me, your best suggestion is to get rid of all junk food in your home. For some reason I seem to have more willpower at the store than I do at home – it’s easy for me to not buy something, but if it’s at my house I will eat it!
Marco Ayuso says
Hi Nicole! These are all great tips!
I became a vegetarian a little more than a year ago, and I’ve been paying attention to pretty much every thing you write here for about the same time. I’ve always been thin, but still I managed to lose about 3 lbs and I’ve had the same weight since then.
And surprisingly, the phrase that I’ve been told the most this past year is: “How thin are you! Are you ok?” Somehow, we’ve managed to link weight with health.
Thanks again for the great tips!
Greetings from Mexico…
It’s always good to be reminded that we need to actively look after our nutrition. I love how you recommend that we limit our intake of certain foods and not seek to eliminate it althogether. Food is food, and should be enjoyed in moderation. I love eating and I exercise a lot so I am able to enjoy many of the good foods that exist.
People are always surprised at the amount of food that I eat for someone of my size, I just tell them that as long as you exercise then you can get away with almost anything 🙂
Craig Thomas says
Nice tips, they definitely work. Cutting out the white stuff was my hardest challenge but others, such as smaller plates, I actually preferred. 🙂
I’m right on track and this post confirms it! Thanks for the tips! =p
Zengirl @ happy heart and mind says
Good suggestions. In past I have gone sugarless for 2 years, it was hard in the beginning but I stopped craving sugar as time went on. Now, I have started eating sugar on limited quantity again but it is low key. Eating healthy and being healthy is important!
Betsy Talbot says
I mentally agree with all your tips (I think most people would), but the motivation/willpower for change is the hardest part, at least for me.
I’ve been reading Chip and Dan Heath’s new book Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard. It has really helped me see motivation in a totally different light (emotional and logical aspects), and I’m taking a step-wise approach to adding healthy habits into my life.
If you need help with making change in your life I highly recommend the book.
Danie Jazz says
Hi Nicole! Thanks for your very useful tips, recently i have started doing exercise, compared to the past, I really feel better in my activities.
Health benefits are of course most important when it comes to eating well. That said, I really think that health, wealth, and relationships are all symbiotically linked. To that extent, particularly with wealth, it will be enhanced if you maintain excellent habits with nutrition. Spend more for fresh, quality produce – organic where necessary – and follow guidelines as noted above. Over the long run, you will save on healthcare expenses and live a richer life in many ways. Nutritious food is an investment in your health.
Damien Thomas says
Now this is what I would call a perfect health reform plan.
An old favorite of mine is Have breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.
Looking forward to your next article.
my year without says
Thanks, everybody, for the feedback! It’s amazing how much I continue to be inspired by others, so thanks for the comments. It’s great to hear your thoughts!
Greg Blencoe says
Thanks for the tips.
I started almost exclusively drinking water a few years ago. And I have been extremely happy with the results.
Although I was at the time (and still am) quite fit, I lost about 5-10 pounds the first month I started mostly drinking water. I became even more toned. And I just feel so much more healthy.
Therefore, I’m glad this made your list!
Tabitha Blue says
This was great, very simple and practical, and yet, just what we need! I definitely needed to be reminded of the little steps I need to be taking daily toward better health. I also linked this post in my blog post today!
Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com says
visiting a farmers market is a great idea for fresh food that is produced locally. I’d also say try a raw diet, its natural and makes you feeling amazing and light all day.
One more tip: If you DO have to eat in front of the TV or computer, put out “finger food” such as carrot sticks, apple slices, etc… . My aunt does that with her kids and it works great! You don’t even notice that you’re eating healthier.
Your sweetener choices like honey, molasses, and date sugar are still all sugars!!!!
My wife and I just tried a “cleanse” and it was 21 days long. As you state, just long enough to create new healthy habits. Now I’m actually craving lentil salad for lunch and fruit smoothies for dinner!
You are absolutely right when we take our food in smaller plates we eat less and feel full, then why stuff ourselves with unnecessary food and gain weight.
Dan Kedem says
Thanks for posting. I like to hand out articles like yours to my clients. We promote both healthy eating and fitness.