I have 5 tips for you today, but the disclaimer is that these aren’t miracle cure-alls.
They do make a huge impact on your health.
But, you still need to care for yourself in other ways and get enough sleep.
You can begin implementing these tips immediately.
And, most of them don’t cost any money.
1 – Add in protein
There are 3 macronutrients – proteins, fats and carbs.
When you add up all of the foods you eat, the total amount of proteins + fats + carbs = 100%. If you eat less of one group, you end up eating more of another. The simple act of increasing your protein will help keep your carb balance in check.
Some examples of proteins include: fish, beef, chicken, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, dairy
Proteins are the basic building blocks for nearly our whole bodies.
They make up many parts of our bodies:
Proteins also make up many of the unseen parts of our bodies that allow it to function:
Proteins are absolutely critical for proper functioning of our:
- Immune systems
- Endocrine systems
- Inflammation management
Your body needs protein for pretty much everything!
If you do not get enough protein, there are so many consequences.
Some of them include:
- losing muscle mass
- waking in the night
- not being able to fall asleep
- brittle nails and hair
- frequent colds or infections
- feeling hungry all the time
- craving sugar and coffee
- hormone dysregulation.
A quick easy formula for how much protein the average person needs is:
1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Take that number, divide it by 4 and that is the goal you are aiming for at 3 meals and one snack spread out evenly throughout the day.
This will give your body enough protein to actually function.
It’s hard to have energy or function well when your body is starving for the basic building blocks just required to run your body processes.
Nearly all of my nutrition clients don’t eat enough protein.
This is one of the first action steps we tackle – increasing protein intake.
I encourage you to figure out how much protein you are getting.
For more details about how to do this, read this post on my blog about protein
Breakfast is the biggest area where this is neglected.
If you can get enough protein at breakfast especially, it sets your body up for a much better day.
2 – Start with a salad or veggies
The order that you eat foods in actually matters.
Veggies are high in fiber.
When you eat those first it slows the impact the other foods you eat have on your blood sugar.
The ideal order to eat your foods in:
- starchy carbs
- a sweet treat at the end — obviously not required, but much better than having it first.
One caution with starting with a salad – beware of the less healthy components of salad – dried fruit, crotons, unhealthy fats and additives in salad dressing. Vinegar and olive oil is the best combination.
If your meal happens to be like a stir fry with veggies and protein and rice mixed in, that is okay.
If you want to know some fascinating science and research behind this, check out glucosegoddess on Instagram.
3 – Choose wisely what you eat
This is the opposite of mindlessly eating whatever is in front of you.
This will be much easier to do if your body is not starving for the nutrients it actually needs – which is where protein comes in!
Before you eat or drink something – in particular a sweet treat or alcohol, stop yourself and ask if you really want to eat it and if now is the best time.
Are you hungry?
Perhaps you need some real food instead of a sweet treat
Can you save it for later?
If you eat the sweet treat at the end of a meal vs as a stand-alone snack the impact on your blood sugar/energy level will be so much less!
Is it worth it?
Think for example of the lollipops at the bank which mean nothing and you are likely taking just because they are there vs your family’s long time delicious traditional Christmas cookies that taste like love.
The cookies sound way more worth it than the lollipops.
Sometimes it helps to think of this along the line of finances.
You have a set amount of money to spend each month.
When you stay within those parameters things go so much better!
For sugar, let’s say you have an upper limit of recommended sugar to eat every day.
According to the American Heart Association, that amount is
Men 36 g
Women 25 g
Children under 12 years old 18 g
If you stay under these amounts you have some reserve.
if you go over, there will be consequences –
- sugar rollercoasters, which look like energy crashes
- trouble sleeping
- irritability/moodiness, and sickness
You get to spend your grams any way you want to.
4 – Slow down!
This is such a busy season with much to do.
One of the easiest, free ways to nourish your body is to slow down at your meals.
Take the time to sit down at a table, preferably but at least not eating while you run around the kitchen or at the store.
- Take a deep breath or two
- Give thanks or pray
- Chew your food
- Put your fork down
- Savor the moment
- Enjoy your food
- Set your to do list and phone aside for a few moments
When we rush through our meals, our bodies have a really hard time digesting the food that we are eating.
This overloads our body with extra work and can limit the amount of nutrients that we actually get!
5 – Mindset is critical!
Any kind of change requires some work.
We all have ingrained habits that are tough to break and require a shift.
To do this, it is critical to start out with knowing why this is important to you
- Do you want to have more energy to enjoy your kids?
- Do you want to avoid the holiday weight gain so you can feel good in the new year in order to meet some important goals you have set?
- Do you want to stop snapping at your kids and your husband in the evenings?
Also, think of this in terms of “I get to… “ instead of “I have to…”
Like I get to eat a delicious nourishing breakfast that fuels me for the morning so I am focused and productive.
Or “I get to save this cookie for my after dinner treat.”
Finally, tell yourself, “I am choosing….” Not “I can’t …”
Like I am choosing to eat that cookie later.
Not I can’t eat that cookie now.
I am choosing to eat a salad before I head out to the party.
I am choosing this delicious dessert.
I am choosing not to take the lollipop at the bank.
I am cheering you all on!
These 5 tips will help you through the holidays and any time of year!
Some of the tips seem kind of small and insignificant – like they won’t amount to much.
But, don’t underestimate the power of small steps!
Learning how to nourish your body really does change things and it affects all of those around you, more than you might realize.
If you have any questions or if there is anything I can help you with, please send me an email any time.