10 Effortless Ways to Eat Better Everyday
I spend a lot of time around food - thinking, eating, writing, cooking, and everything else in between. Since food is essential part of everyone's life, it's easy to strike a conversation with people around me and I love it (for the most part). A lot of people assume that being a dietitian and a food blogger, I eat healthy 100% of time but we all know that's not how real life works. Please, please please remember that healthy eating is a work in progress and not perfection. No matter where you are in your health & wellness journey, please don't be obsessed with eating perfectly, instead focus on making smaller changes to eat better everyday & celebrate food. I find that people try to make too many changes at once which is overwhelming and counter intuitive to eating better. I have gathered 10 Effortless Ways to Eat Better Everyday including few tips & recommendations that I have been practicing in my every day life to make eating better almost effortless.
- Swap white with whole grain products: By simply making a swap with 100% whole wheat bread, wraps, and pasta, you get more fiber and other essential nutrients like iron & B-vitamins. You can also try other alternatives (lentil & bean-based) that are rather high in protein and fiber. For baked good, you can substitute or do whole wheat flour when possible.
- Add greens to soups/smoothies : You can easily get 1-2 servings of greens by adding them in your soups and stews. One Pot Chicken Noodle Soup is very forgiving so I add greens like spinach, chard, or kale right before serving. I do the same thing with daal & instant noodle when I need an extra boost of nutrition. Smoothies are another way to get in your greens; here is a great resource to make that perfect green smoothie.
- Choose low-sodium, no added salt canned products : Canned beans are super convenient, nutritious, and versatile so make them part of your pantry. Purchasing low sodium products means you are already getting 30% less sodium than the regular kind and rinsing them will remove additional sodium. I cook with low sodium/no salt added broths and canned tomato products & adjust my own salt & seasonings, which works great.
- Upgrade your salad with dark greens : When fixing a salad, go for dark leafy greens instead of lettuce because you get more vitamins A, C and K and other disease-fighting phytonutrients.
- Add omega-3 to your morning routine : Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids meaning our body doesn’t make it and we need to get them through food. Good sources of omega-3 includes fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, nuts, and seeds. They help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis but omega-3 is a nutrient many of us do not get regularly. Start your morning by sprinkling flax seeds and handful of walnuts with oats, chia pudding, cereal to help get your omega-3.
- Use lean ground meat for chili : You can significantly cut down saturated fats intake by using lean ground meat when making chili, soups, stews. Lean beef has about 5% of the weight of from pure fat and the remaining 95% of weight is lean beef vs. in regular ground beef, it has 20% fat by weight. I make Chipotle Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili using lean ground turkey at least 2-3 times a month and it's a staple in our house.
- Replace soda, sweetened beverages with sparkling or flavored water : If you drink soda& sweetened beverages regularly or have them at your house all the time, try replacing them with flavored or sparkling water. I tell my clients to not keep soda or other sweetened beverages at home and drink them on special occasion only.
- Go with plain yogurt instead of flavored kind : Yogurt is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, and probiotics but the problem is flavored yogurt that has a lot of added sugar. You can cut down on added sugar by buying the plain kind and sweetened it yourself with little honey, maple syrup or some fresh fruits. Yogurt are great with parfait, both sweet & savor kind.
- Try different cooking methods : I am not here to convince you that regular fries will taste exactly like baked ones because it just doesn't. I have been pretty pleased so many recipes that are simply baked such as : Eggplant Parmesan Stacks // Baked Chicken Nuggets // Easy Sesame Chicken. When it comes to baking, experiment with different replacements such as yogurt, avocado, beans instead of oil/butter.
- Mindful Snacking: Snacks are tasty, nourishing, and often quick but a lot of snack because we are simply bored, stressed, or need something to munch on just because...if that sounds like something you do, practice mindful SNACK method..You basically stop what you are doing, notice what is happening around you, accept whatever is happening without any judgement, be curious as to why you are feeling the way you are feeling, and practice kindness to help things get back on track. Also, surround yourself with nutritious snacks such as DIY trail mix, nut butter with whole grain crackers or fruits, cucumber slices + cheese wedge, energy balls/bites, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt + nuts and berries.
What are some things you currently practice to eat better effortlessly?