1 . Out of Sight Out of Mind
Don t hide the fruit and vegetables in the bottom crisper drawers of your refrigerator. You may forget about them when it s time for a snack. Always keep fresh fruit visible and at the ready in a fruit bowl on the kitchen table, on top of your desk or cut up and portioned out in containers in your refrigerator. For fruits, consider apple slices, orange slices and grapes portioned into baggies or small containers for grab and go convenience. Don t forget about your veggies! Cut a red or green pepper into slices or cut carrots and celery into handy sticks and portion them all into containers in the refrigerator. This way, when you re hungry you re more likely to reach for a healthy snack.
2 . Always Include Protein
Make sure you eat some protein with every meal it s the most satiating nutrient. If you eat oatmeal for breakfast, be sure to add some protein to it to make it more balanced and filling. A tablespoon of natural peanut butter or a scoop of protein powder will do the trick.
3 . Be Prepared
Planning ahead and being prepared is most important when you re working on eating healthy foods in the correct portions. Deciding your weekly menu and shopping in advance will arm you for success. Prepare your meals and snacks for the week on Sunday, and portion them out in your refrigerator in containers. You can hard boil six or seven eggs and keep them in the refrigerator for breakfasts or snacks. Or cook up a large batch of steel cut long cooking oats (since this variety contains the most nutrients) on Sunday, and measure it into single portion sizes in bowls covered with plastic wrap in your refrigerator. You can reheat these in one minute in the microwave each morning before work. You can also grill up a bunch of chicken breast, tofu or fish and portion it along with steamed asparagus, broccoli or green beans into containers for lunches, dinners and snacks.
4 . Portion Control Is in Your Hands
Don t want to measure everything? All it takes is one hand to make sure you are eating the correct portions. When planning or creating any meal, portion out a palm size amount of meat, tofu or other protein; at least two handfuls of vegetables; no more than one handful of fruit; and a thumb size portion of fats.
5 . Know Your ANDI Scores
Eat foods (fruits and vegetables) with high Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) scores. The five most nutrient dense veggies are kale, watercress, collard greens, bok choy and spinach. The five most nutrient dense fruits are strawberries, blackberries, plums, raspberries and blueberries. When you eat foods that are highest in nutrients, you are putting the highest quality fuel into your body.
6 . Track Your Eating
Logging your meals in a journal or on an app such as MyPlate on your computer or mobile phone is a great way to stay on top of what you re eating. This is also a helpful tool for cutting down on calories consumed if you re trying to lose weight.
7 . Eliminate Temptations
Go through your refrigerator and pantry and round up all of the indulgent snacks. If you have opened packages or containers, toss them out. It may seem wasteful, and it can feel painful to throw away food that you spent money on, but that doesn t mean you should keep this food in your home and let it literally weigh down your body. Most cities have food pantries and food banks that are willing to accept unopened canned goods and some dry goods. Do a search online for the nearest food pantry and find out what you can donate. If you absolutely have to keep some of this junk food around (perhaps for other family members), store it out of sight (on the top shelf of the cupboard or pantry). If it s out of sight, you ll eat less.
8 . Eat Until 80 Percent Full
The Japanese have a great expression concerning healthy eating habits: Hara hachi bu, which means eat until 80 percent full. Try eating your next meal until you re 80 percent full. Take slower bites, chew carefully and make sure you spend at least 20 minutes eating and enjoying your food slowly. Since it takes between 20 to 30 minutes for the brain to realize you re full, eating this way will help you to consume less.
9 . Ask Yourself This Question
Tape this message to your refrigerator or kitchen cupboard so you ll see it every time you open the door: Is It Worth It?
10 . Avocado Awesomeness
Eat half an avocado every day. A recent study found that eating avocados daily is associated with higher levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), a lower body weight and a smaller waist circumference.