16 Ways to Eat Healthfully, and Why You Should
Many of you used the new year to spur you toward change in some area of health. You wrote to me about your goals and sent pictures of your progress. Hundreds of VHC clients have successfully used my wellness planning materials to create better habits. You can find those free self-help materials here:
In this article, I am going to give you 16 tips you can use to get your nutrition on track. These are tips I use to regulate my own diet. The article is about health and wellness, not about being thin. I recommend you form a small group of like-minded friends. Help keep each other on track and share progress as well as your challenges. This is an effective method to make headway. This year my own group is called Vibe Force. Sticking to your commitments is always easier when you have a group to cheer you on and you are cheerleading others.
- Regulate your sleep. Sleep deprivation causes cravings and low metabolism. This will not help you in your goal to eat well. Regulate your sleep by having a set bedtime as well as a set wake-up time. It will take your body a few weeks to get in the swing of it. Be patient. (If you have problems sleeping, read my Sleep Sound article).
- Regulate your appetite. Get your body used to three meals per day.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Morning is where you put in the fuel your body needs for output. Breakfast helps your brain focus and wakes your engines. This is when to take supplements, fiber, and juices. If you are confused about what to include in your regimen, my articles dedicated to that are here: https://vibranthealthcompany.com/featured-articles/
- Increase the amount of water you drink. Stay well hydrated.
- Don’t make specific food off limits. Some exceptions to this would be if you have weight concerns, fitness goals, allergies, or compulsions. (Compulsions are sometimes called trigger foods, with sugar being an example.) Focus on portion size, enjoyment, sustenance, and moderation. Have exactly what you want to eat sometimes. Splurge. But eat good stuff with it. Example: if you want a burger and fries, eat a salad with it. Don’t skip the salad because you had an ‘unhealthy’ burger.
- Have a salad, cold or hot vegetable, and a piece of fruit with at least two out of your three meals per day. This is important for gut fermentation. You will read why this is important soon.
- Eat fruit for dessert if you have grown accustomed to something sweet at the end of your meal. Freeze good quality yogurt. If you are not doing a clean eating plan, try jello or low-fat popsicles.
- Make a weekly meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make a corresponding grocery list when your plan is complete. Choose a day to do these tasks and be consistent. It will take about an hour. Try to not buy processed foods. If this is too difficult, cut back by taking a few things out of your cart. Work in healthy snacks just in case. Keep it simple. There are lots of examples of meal plans and grocery list templates on Pinterest, Google, and Bing Images. As you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll find it saves you money, stress, and time. If you’re stuck, email me. I have a simple meal plan I follow each week. It’s worked for me for years and stood the test of time with our four children who now make their own meal plans.
- Limit eating out. You will have more control over what you eat. You will save money to buy better quality food to make at home.
- Stay out of the middle of the grocery store as much as possible. This is where all the processed food is. Shop the perimeter where the produce, meat, and dairy are located.
- Eat your meal on a small plate. You can find lovely little china plates at thrift stores. Remember that the more sensory pleasure you get from the experience of eating, the more in love you will be with seemingly mundane stuff like meal planning and shopping.
- Eat meals at a table with silverware, not at your desk or watching TV. Though I just mentioned eating with your senses (conscious eating), this tip is not just about that. When your mind is tuned out during mealtime, the digestive process may be 30% to 40% less effective. This can contribute to digestive distress, such as gas, bloating, and bowel irregularities.
- If you enjoy cooking, try allocating one night per week to cook and put up food for a few days. Use your freezer. Also, it’s amazing how long food stays fresh in sealed Ball jars.
- Skip lunch with your colleagues if they are eating out. Make your lunch the night before. Go for a walk. Tell your colleagues about your efforts to be healthy.
- Recognize that so much of wellness relies on the ability to plan ahead. You need time to do this. Make the time. You’re worth it.
- Take some simple first steps toward introducing mindfulness while eating:
- Eat with chopsticks.
- Eat with your non-dominant hand.
- Chew your food 20 to 50 times per bite.
- Eat without TV, newspaper, or computer.
- Eat sitting down.
- Try to make the meal last at least 20 minutes.
Final Words about Eating Healthfully
Many of you are heavily influenced by appearance as a motivator to clean up your act with food. But consider the amazing health advantages: 95% of your serotonin, the feel-good chemical, is produced in your gut. Serotonin not only keeps your mood stable
© Vibrant Health Company LLC All Rights Reserved. Traci Baxendale Ball, LMSW, CAADC is the founder of Vibrant Health Company LLC
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