Did you know that, in 2012, 3 of the top 5 resolutions made were:
Be Fit and Healthy
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
The 5 tips in this post can certainly help you accomplish all three when applied to your weekly routine. Better still, practice one or more of the ideas on a daily basis and you’re well on your way to a healthier, more fit self, complete with the energy you need to enjoy life more fully!
#1. Drink more water
According to the December 2012 issue of Women’s Health, drinking 2 cups of water before meals can make you lose an average of 4.5 pounds more than if you don’t. Often times when we feel hungry, out bodies may simply be needing more hydration, so try a glass of water first! See if you can replace sodas throughout your week with a glass of water. Since it can be difficult to go cold turkey, try transitioning from something less healthy in your diet to something more healthy. Here’s one example:
Izze sodas are pure fruit juice and sparkling water. That’s it! So if you’re trying to kick the soda habit, sip sparkling fruit juice. If you are inclined to continue phasing out less healthy options for more healthy ones, you can go from sparkling fruit juice to plain sparkling water to water. When people are able to find healthy substitutes for things they love (but know what they love may not be the best for them), it is easier to succeed.
#2. Choose Snacks in Nature’s Packaging
It goes without saying that the healthiest snacks are REAL foods, grown in nature. It’s one thing to know this and another to consciously practice consuming these foods. This collage is a little reminder of the various flavors, textures, and convenience that come with foods from mother nature! Clockwise from top left are berries, bell peppers and hummus, clementines, and apple slices with almond butter and granola.
The most important aspect of the above selections is that they have good ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scores, which means they are high in nutrients per calorie consumed. The body craves nutrients and will signal you to keep eating until the right amount is obtained. Choosing nuts for a snack or nut butters as dips means you’re also getting the healthiest fats in your diet. Did you know that consuming the right fats can actually increase weight loss and body fat loss? For more information on the healthiest foods and right fats to consume, as well as a free printable grocery list, click here.
3. Choose “Super Meals” that combine several nutrient rich items in one dish. Two of the simplest ways to get a variety of the most nutrient rich foods in one sitting are through salads and smoothies.
I usually do a mix of romaine and spinach for a salad base. The salad above has tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and avocado. With a nice olive oil and balsamic dressing, you now have 3 healthy fats (olive oil, olives and avocados) as well as 3 or 4 foods high in nutrients: romaine, (spinach optional), tomatoes and cucumbers.
One of my favorite “Super Nutrient” salads is the Tuscan Kale salad recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil. Although his version contains bread crumbs, some of my fellow health nut friends suggested I try almond meal instead. Just pop a handful of almonds in a blender and pulse to the desired texture. I’m so happily hooked on the texture it gives salads that kale seems lonely without it!
Now for a super meal in a glass!
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love a good smoothie!?!? I sneak kale or spinach into smoothies whenever possible…and sometimes sprouts! Another tip for adding extra nutrients in your smoothies is to use organic strawberries and keep the green tops on them.
Here’s my go-to smoothie recipe for when I’m craving something chocolately but would rather not have the caffeine and sugar rush (and crash) that can come from too much chocolate.
See the happy face below? You’ll feel as happy on the inside once you get a taste of it!
#4. Have Fun!
Let’s not forget the kiddos! While getting kids to consume fruit may not pose a challenge, often times it is like pulling teeth trying to get them to eat veggies. I’ve got a couple tricks for both just to change things up a little.
First, fruit purees are a change from plain fruit or fruit smoothies.
A simple sheet of wax paper or parchment placed over a coloring page or printable image lets kids use the purees like finger paints.
They’ll have fun playing with their food and you’ll enjoy knowing that every time they lick their fingers, they’re eating foods on the nutrient density chart – Yippee! I give my kids a spoon with these purees as well so nothing goes to waste. They gladly eat every last drop! You can also use quick lamintating sheets and seal the image completely for lots of reuse.
We make “Veggie People” at our house and ever since I created these sheets, my kids ASK me for vegetables!
They love to munch while they create and hardly seem to realize they are eating vegetables! If you’d like to try the puree recipes or print the “fun with food” sheets, you’ll find them here.
The final health tip is….
5. Move Your Body!
Hippocrates said, “Walking is man’s best medicine”. While 30 minutes of walking is what Dr’s Oz and Roizen (the YOU doctors) recommend, even 10 minutes has been shown to have a postive impact on health. A mere 10 minute walk has been shown to boost brain chemistry and increase feelings of happiness.
Give yourself ten days to incorporate a couple of the above ideas on a daily basis and see if you notice a difference. A ten day commitment is usually enough to feel the positive effects of a new healthy habit. If you like what you feel, keep going!
Here’s To Your Health in 2013!