For something that should be super simple, healthy eating has somehow become a complicated enterprise. Add a busy lifestyle (that side hustle!) and it suddenly becomes even harder to nourish your body in a truly healthy way.
But never fear, at Sproos we know a thing or two about eating well and we’ve laid out some healthy eating tips you can trust, to help you get back to basics and feeling your best.
So whether your idea of healthy eating means getting your leafy greens in, avoiding certain food groups or simply not eating the entire bag of chips in one sitting, everyone can benefit from these simple tips that will keep you in all-star mode, no matter what life throws at you.
Why get started with healthy eating habits now?
Besides helping keep you trim, practicing healthy eating habits can reduce your risk for future diseases (such as cardiovascular problems), reduce inflammation in the body, and ensure you’ll be living your best life until a ripe old age.
But when life is busy and full (and our youthful metabolism is working hard to blast away the unhealthy choices we make), it’s easy to think that we can simply ‘get healthy’ at a later date.
We all have those future visions of being the picture of health. But lifestyle choices are cumulative, and if stress, sugar and carbs are your jam, it won’t be long before that bit of chaos shows up on your body.
The good news is, our everyday choices and overall mindset around eating are mostly habitual. And the best thing about that little fact is that habits can be changed.
When it comes to how to eat healthy, simple, small changes make all the difference.
The best healthy eating tips for busy lifestyles:
1. Choose whole foods (and be a label nerd)
Try to select foods that are either in the same state they were in when they were harvested (like an apple instead of apple sauce), or very close to it. At the grocery store, this will mean you’ll find yourself shopping mostly in the fresh foods section, instead of the inner aisles – where the processed foods live.
An interesting activity to help with this is to get up close and personal with labels. This practice will help you understand what you’re actually choosing when you go for processed foods. A little rule of thumb? If you can’t pronounce it – don’t eat it!
2. Craving sugar? Reach for protein
For a lot of people, when our body starts to run on empty, that energy crash means we suddenly crave sweets. The reason? Sugar gives us an immediate energy burst so we can push through the task at hand.
The problem with this habit is that not only does that energy burst include an energy crash, it also contributes to a whole host of issues, including weight gain and tooth decay. It also contributes to future issues like cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.
So anytime you’re craving sugar, reach for protein. Keep some nuts handy in the car and your bag. Other great options are eggs, meat, greek yogurt or nut butter with fruits or veggies – ants on a log is not just for kids! Check out our list of easy snack ideas.
3. Water yourself (because you are basically a house plant with more complicated emotions)
Water works to flush our system of toxins. Even moderate dehydration can lead to anxiety, fatigue and a sluggish metabolism. But exactly how much do we need? The most common recommendation is to drink 6 to 8 glasses a day - but the perfect amount is different for everybody, depending on exercise levels and other lifestyle factors.
And the best part that some is always better than none! So select a water bottle that suits your style and keep it nearby as you move through your day.
4. Get serving savvy – keep it light and easy
Get educated on serving sizes. Overeating at meal times can leave you feeling lethargic instead of your best light and bright self. Use this ‘handy’ tool to get an idea of proper portion sizes. For instance, a serving of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand (not including fingers).
We’ve become so accustomed to filling an entire dinner plate with food at meal time that it can be an enlightening experience to get a handle on what a serving size actually is.
5. Learn your fats
Eating fat does not automatically mean gaining weight. Fats have gotten a bad rap, but it’s important to discern between types of fats. The ones to avoid are saturated and trans fats. In fact, Canada has already started the process to ban artificial trans fats in our food supply.
‘Good’ fats are unsaturated, and include foods like avocados (have that second piece of avocado toast!), nuts, seeds and certain oils like olive, flaxseed and nut. So go ahead and enjoy a small amount of these good fats, without the worry.
6. Go for whole grains
Opt for whole grains over refined grains when possible. A ‘whole’ grain contains all three parts of the original kernel. Think whole wheat, rolled oats, brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa. You can opt to eat whole grains as is or try to find products that use them.
Refined grains include white flour and all of those (delicious) processed foods that contain it – but the refining process results in a loss of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Because of all the fibre and minerals, whole grains will keep you fuller for longer, while also nourishing your body.
7. Remember, baby steps!
When it comes to changing our habits, it pays to start with small changes. Instead of trying to change everything at once, start with one thing. Try just cutting out sugary drinks for the first week, or the right sizing of your portions. Honing in on a few small things we can change immediately is less of a shock to the system than an overwhelming nutrition overhaul.
Also, know thyself – How do you manage stress and emotions?
Ah, emotional eating, stress eating, eating while parked in front of Netflix – we get it. Knowing how you respond to life’s peaks and valleys will go a long way to helping to develop a healthier eating style.
Start by paying attention to when you’re reaching for unhealthy foods. If you discover that you go for chocolate every time you have an off day, experiment with different methods of stress relief: a walk through the neighbourhood, a chat with a friend. You could even spend 10 minutes in meditation.
Eating healthy is one of the most important things you can do to futureproof your body against chronic disease, inflammation, loss of mobility, and other aging-related issues. Supplementing your diet with powdered collagen from Sproos is a quick and easy way to enhance the benefits of healthy eating even further. Browse our selection now.