15 Food and Nutrition Habits for a Healthier Happier You

     

food-and-nutrition-for-a-balanced-dietA healthy lifestyle isn't just about being physically fit; it also means staying conscious of your overall diet. We are big advocates for enjoying life, so if you're just starting out with a new diet and fitness plan, think of ways you can gradually improve your food and nutrition habits. In today's post you'll gain insight into how you can make better diet decisions and improve your food and nutrition habits.

15 Food and Nutrition Habits that YOU can Accomplish!

Let's count down 15 ways you can start being healthier and happier, don't wait for tomorrow or the next day, let's start today!

#15 Start Your Day Off Right

Remember that old saying, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," well at AFPA we believe this still rings true. Not only will it jump-start your metabolism, but it will start your day on the right track and help you to make better, healthier decisions all day long. 

It's important to start every day with a healthy breakfast that includes protein and fiber so you stay full, longer. This will help you steer your cravings away from a mid-morning snack that might not be good for that body you have been dreaming of. 

Looking for some delicious ideas for breakfast? Circle back to one of our most recent posts on healthy meal plans

#14 Stock Your Fridge

How can you slip up with your diet if you go to the grocery store and only buy food that is going to support healthy eating habits? Bring a friend along that shares similar aspirations and fitness goals, if you both shop together, you're more likely to stay on track with someone supporting you. Make a pact to only eat items out of the fridge during the week and indulge a little on the weekend. 

Having a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, we believe in indulging in "cheat" meals but keeping it limited is important if you want to see real changes inside and out.

#13 Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

We all deserve to indulge and relax but try and keep alcohol to a minimum, especially high-calorie cocktails. One of the sneakiest ways to up your calorie intake is through drinking, so be mindful and treat alcohol like a "cheat meal."

When it comes to indulging, you may already know that a glass of wine has many different health benefits but limit it to one glass during dinner. And if you're really well-behaved we encourage you to try and limit your drinks to the weekend. When you treat it as an end-of-the-week reward, you'll look forward to your night out even more.

#12 Drink Up

Sounds pretty simple and obvious, but if you aren't already drinking water throughout the day (aim for 8-10 glasses) we suggest you start now, yes right now. According to Women's Health Magazine, "H2O keeps our cells happy by preventing them from sticking together, and it plays a role in just about every single vital function of the body. Thirst is associated with feelings of confusion and sluggishness." 

Drinking water with every meal will help you to stay fuller longer and will help you to avoid over-eating. We also recommend adding slices of lemon for an added gentle detox that will help promote weight-loss and will also "spice-up" the bland flavor.

#11 Start Snacking

If you read our last post you know we aren't talking about the snacking you dream about (sorry this is a no candy zone), but at AFPA we are huge advocates for healthy snacking. Try and aim for snacking in between breakfast and lunch and then between lunch and dinner, this will help you to avoid over-indulging later because you'll keep your appetite at bay.

#10 What's in That Morning Drink?

We all love colorful, flavorful lattes - but they might not always be the best choice, especially for an every day morning wake up call. If you can't survive the work day without coffee opt for a low-calorie beverage or coffee with light cream. Making small changes like these will lower your calorie cost and help you to get to your goal faster. 

#9 Embrace the Color Green

If you let winter get the best of you: think hot chocolate, warm cocktails and delicious desserts, start greening up your diet. One of the best ways to ditch the extra "layer" of winter is through lighter, greener, spring-inspired dishes. Upping your kale, salad, organic green juices and other green favorites are going to help you to cleanse your body of unhealthy toxins and help you to drop those extra pounds.

#8 Embrace Healthy Fats

When it comes to dietary fat, it's one 'fat' that gets a bad reputation. Maybe it's because when we hear the word 'fat' we can't help but run, but there is a huge difference between bad and good fats. "A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats (such as almonds) may prevent the accumulation of abdominal fat. 'Fat is all about the source it comes from,' says Lauren Blaue, R.D., a nutrition coach at Life Time Athletic Club in Minneapolis. Combining fats and carbs in the same meal will keep your blood sugar stable and help you avoid hunger-inducing spikes and dips" [Women's Health Magazine].

When picking and choosing from what fats to incorporate in your diet, think of avocados, eggs, salmon, nuts and avoid trans fats or keep them to a minimum.

#7 Get to Know Your Food

When you're aware of the calorie intake of each food or how much sugar it contains you're more likely to make better decisions. If you're serious about improving your health, which you should be for long and short term benefits, start to get familiar with the food that you eat.

#6 Cut the Junk

When you eat better, you'll feel better, it's as simple as that. We love to indulge and treat ourselves but the overall feeling that we get after overindulging just isn't worth it. If you love sweets and other snack foods try to think of substitutes. There are many different organic and natural companies that have a line of sweet or salty treats. Since they still aren't the healthiest option, treat them as a reward.

#5 Stop Trying to Rush Your Meal

Between work, post-work activities and challenging life obstacles life can become busy and hectic. But just because life is always in motion, doesn't mean you need to have the same mentality with your meals. Studies have shown that eating your meal at a quick pace results in over eating. If you slow down and enjoy your bites you'll be more likely to register that you're full. 

#4 Find an Alternative

When it comes to being bored or stressed we often start to overeat. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips think of an alternative that you can do, such as going for a walk, doing an activity you enjoy or just simply rewarding yourself after you overcome the urge.

#3 Cut Back on Processed Foods

We can't tell you how many times we pick up an item of food and can't pronounce a number of different ingredients. When you don't know exactly what's in your meal or snack it should be reason enough to cut it out of your diet. But we understand that easier is said than done, so instead find a good substitute to replace the foods you once loved. For example, if you love chicken nuggets, make your own! Use organic, free-range chicken, cut them into bites and roll them into homemade bread crumbs. If you're a soda lover, reach for carbonated water and add different fruits, like lemon and lime.

There are alternatives to pretty much everything, it's all about finding the perfect substitute. 

#2 Embrace the Juice-Fad

Incorporating fresh juice into your diet can be beneficial for a number of different reasons. It improves skin, energy levels, helps you cut cravings, boost your immune system - need we say more? Investing in a juicer can be one of the best investments you can make towards your diet. Start your day with a juice or wrap up a workout with a protein nourishing juice-shake. Trust us, it doesn't have to taste bitter or 'earthy,' just simply add grapefruit, lemon or lime to add a kick of citrus. 

#1 Be Mindful

More than anything you should be mindful! Listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Is that workout too much for you? Are you getting enough protein and fiber? Are you getting too full? Tuning into what your body needs and wants can help you to become much happier and healthier. It's all about finding the right path and letting it guide you to a much happier and healthier lifestyle.

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