Katie the RD joins us for her second guest post to share more simple ways to improve your diet + maintain a healthier lifestyle.
If you missed the first one – you can catch up here.
For those who don’t know, Katie (or Kt as she is better known on this blog) is my old roomie from college, travel buddy, and very best pal who also happens to be a fancypants Registered Dietician. For the past few months Kt’s been working at a hospital in Illinois and decided to take some time out of her busy schedule + wedding planning (congrats you two!) to whip up this little post for us.
So without further ado, I leave you in the very capable hands of Kt the RD:
Who can believe that we are already a month into 2013? Hopefully winter won’t be lingering around for too much longer! I always think it is hard to eat healthy during the winter, especially when it is cold outside and all I want to do is snuggle under a blanket. Come on Spring!
Megan gave me this great opportunity to guest post on her blog. I wanted to share some the basic information for a healthy diet that I typically share with patients who want to lose weight or just start eating healthier.
Let’s begin with the basics:
1. Eat breakfast. I know hearing the cliche that breakfast is the most important meal of the day gets old after awhile, but it really is! Seriously, eat breakfast every morning. It adds fuel to the fire and gets your body moving. After going 8+ hours without any energy going into the tank, your body is ready for some nutrition in the morning. Plus, it helps jump start your metabolism for the day.
People try to say to me that they don’t like breakfast foods. And you know what? I say eat whatever sounds good (within reason). Leftover spaghetti? Go for it. Ham sandwich? Perfect. These foods are better than doughnuts for breakfast anyway. They have more protein than sugary cereals or pastries and will help you feel full longer.
Interesting tidbit: From my experience, It is more common than not that morbidly obese (BMI >40) individuals don’t eat breakfast.
2. Don’t diet. Dieting is synonymous with limiting behaviors for the most part. Cutting calories and eating tiny portions, basically starving your body. I don’t think people should diet in that sense. People should eat well-balanced meals. What does this mean? Well for me, this means eating healthy 85% of the time and 15% of the time letting yourself splurge a little. That cookie have your eye? Go ahead and eat it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. When you eat healthy 85% of the time, those calories you consume during that 15% of the time shouldn’t worry you to death.
3. Don’t bring problem foods home. What does this mean? Those chips, cookies, candies, pops that you can’t keep your mitts off of? Don’t bring them into your house (or your garage). It is OK to have foods that you can’t resist. It is natural. Personally, I could down an entire bag of salt & vinegar chips in one setting. By keeping these foods out of your house, you are less inclined to eat without thought.
4. Eat your fruits & veggies. Aim for 5-7 servings total during the day. That doesn’t mean you can get by eating 5 apples a day. Sure, it wouldn’t hurt you, but the more variety you get in the day, the better. You’ll consume a greater range of vitamins and minerals that way. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain fiber which is vital to gut health and normal bowel movements.
5. Don’t overdo it with the processed foods. What do I mean by processed? Those foods that come from the middle of the grocery store and don’t really look like anything that you could find growing outside. Those products that have a list of ingredients that take up half of the bag. These products typically contain a high amount of sodium and fat which can have ill effects on your health, i.e. weight gain. Try to buy more foods from the outside edge of the grocery store. Picture a grocery store that you visit often. The healthiest ingredients are on the outside edge of the store. Produce, dairy, fresh meats can all be found here.
6. Avoid stick margarine like the plague. This type of margarine contains high amounts of trans fat which has been found to be the worst kind of fat. It is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and can increase cholesterol levels. The best choice to butter bread for instance (although I don’t advocate eating a lot of buttered bread), is tub margarine. Promise and Smart Balance are good options.
7. Small goals work the best. Don’t try to change every aspect of the way you eat overnight. Start with one small thing, like limiting pop or eating breakfast everyday, and go from there. It can be overwhelming to start eating completely different which in turn means it is probably harder to stick with in the long run.
8. Exercise (which is something that I need to work on). You can eat loads of whole grains, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables, but exercise is key to it all. It can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and so much more. It improves heart health and helps to prevent insulin resistance. I’m not saying to go out and run a marathon tomorrow, but taking a walk, going for a jog, or riding a bike are all appropriate types of activity. This type of year, exercise can include shoveling the sidewalk or playing in the snow with your family.
Happy getting healthy everyone!
Thanks for sharing Kt! Always a pleasure to have you on Mr.C & Me! xo, meg
Join us next time for Part III where Kt answers your health and dietary questions!
Have a question? Please leave it in the comments below.