You have a million things to do and while you know that eating well throughout the day is important it sometimes may feel like more of an obstacle then it should. Try my tips for mastering nutrition in 2016!
1. Eat within an hour of waking up in the morning. When you wake-up in the morning your body needs energy to start the day, delaying breakfast slows metabolism. Even if it’s a quick snack like graham crackers with almond butter, string cheese, or a yogurt get something in before running out the door. Try blending a breakfast smoothie the night before so you can grab it and drink it first thing or take it with you in the car.
2. Have meals and snacks throughout the day but avoid “eating” and “snacking” all day. Our bodies need energy and nutrients consistently throughout the day, a meal or a snack every 3-4 hours while awake. But our bodies also need time in between eating to utilize those nutrients. So avoid grazing and when it’s time to eat a meal or you need a snack eat it within 45min and be done until the next meal or snack. This includes “drinking” any diet beverage or any beverage with calories over several hours or all day long. It’s ok to have that latte or diet coke but drink it within 30 minutes and be done. A constant energy intake interferes with blood sugar regulation and metabolism.
3. Have fat in your diet! Yes I said fat, particularly omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids like nuts, avocados, olive oil, olives, salmon, tuna, chia seeds, flax, and canola oil. These types of fats are anti-inflammatory and help us fight inflammation in the body whether it’s from illness, stress, or environmental factors. However, fat, no matter what type is needed to make hormones like estrogen and is needed for our bodies to be able to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also helps to curb hunger and to feel satiated.
4. Pack a yummy AND power packed lunch. Of course there are the usual suspects for lunch like a turkey sandwich or a spinach salad and those are great, but try these alternatives. Make an avocado spread (mash ½ an avocado mix with a pinch of lemon juice, sea salt, olive oil, and cilantro) to put on a slice of nine-grain bread. Pair it with a kale salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, tomatoes, and sliced boiled egg. Lunches are also fun using a bento box, basically a snack box. Pack a lunch of cheese, whole-wheat crackers, almonds, grapes or berries, and carrots.
5. Snack time! As previously stated avoid going longer then 4 hours without eating. Avoid skipping meals, but if you have to work over the lunch hour plan two larger snacks during the day within 4 hours of each other. Low fat or full fat Greek yogurt is a protein packed choice, as is hummus with veggies, or feta cheese mixed with grapes, boiled eggs, cottage cheese with fruit, nuts, or half a sandwich. Don’t forget to hydrate with sparkling water or water with cucumber slices, mint leaves, or infused with fresh fruit.
Give some of these tips a try and see what works for you! Make time to nourish yourself this year.