Healthy eating is essential to your body and your mind, but it can be hard to stay on track with temptation around every corner. What if there were just a few principles to keep in mind every day to maintain a balanced diet? David Stine, author of THE WHOLE LIFE, shares a nutritionist’s list of the 10 big nutrition tips everyone should know–including “Eat often” and “Don’t deny yourself the things you love.” Yes, really!
#1. Aim for 40 percent of your calories to be from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fats, and 30 percent from protein.
This doesn’t have to be exact, but it is a good guideline to maintain so that while you are eliminating unhealthy fats, you are also building muscle.
#2. Eat as many whole foods as possible.
Whole foods are foods that are as close to their original natural state as possible, like a fresh peach as opposed to canned peaches in syrup. Whole foods can be found at most non–fast-food restaurants if you are dining out. As for eating at home, there are an abundance of resources online that can help you develop a meal plan that fits your palate.
#3. Include protein in every single meal.
This will help feed your muscles and regulate your blood sugar, i.e., how hungry and cranky you are. Some great sources of protein include eggs, turkey breasts, fish, chicken breasts, lean meats, and protein bars.
#4. Eat often.
Aim for five to seven meals a day. This doesn’t work for all people, but for people who are active, eating smaller portions every three to four hours is ideal for staying lean and maintaining energy levels and should stave off any sugary energy drink consumption in the afternoon times.
#5. Embrace fats.
No, I am not encouraging you to gobble down handfuls of french fries. Healthy fats—like those found in avocados, nuts, and fish— are where it’s at. Just a few years ago, the word fat was a bad word, but now we know it’s really carbs and refined sugar that can be a problem.
#6. Limit refined carbohydrates and processed food in general.
Refined carbs—like white bread, white rice, regular pasta (as opposed to whole-grain), and many breakfast cereals—can drive overeating and increase the risk of obesity. Because they are low in fiber and digest quickly, eating refined carbs can also cause major swings in blood sugar levels.
#7. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
Rinse and repeat. According to the 2015–2020, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, you should consume “a variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and . . . fruits, especially whole fruits.”15 Just about every day, Taryn will put out a couple of peeled and cut apples on a plate in our kitchen, and within an hour they are all gone. This has been a great trick to get our children to eat healthful foods and it has worked on them for years now.
#8. No starving yourself if you’re trying to lose weight.
From my own experience, extended fasts, no matter how well intended, are usually followed by gaining back the weight that was just starved out of you. Although I do believe a fast could be a great part of your high-intensity phase to reboot your nutrition and clean out your system of toxins, this is obviously no way to live indefinitely.
#9. Don’t deny yourself the things you love.
Save them for special times and you’ll enjoy them even more. Obviously, holidays are not good times to start lifestyle eating changes. I have found that this type of eating plan can be rewards-based so that you can eat healthily and then still enjoy the things you love in moderation without feeling guilty.
#10. Savor each meal.
Food is wonderful and is meant to be enjoyed! Just like you have favorite foods now, you will have favorites again in your new healthy eating plan.
Make the most of your life with THE WHOLE LIFE by David Stine!
For more on Tips on Life & Love: The 3 Cardinal Rules of Nutrition
Excerpted from The Whole Life by David Stine. Copyright © 2019 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
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