March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. The Academy’s theme this year, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” emphasizes the importance of little changes in our dietary habits, and how, when put together, those little changes can have a major impact.
To help the HealthyWage community celebrate this month-long focus on nutrition, we’ve compiled 8 painless tips to help make sure you are putting your “best fork forward.”
- Don’t make dinner your biggest meal. Perhaps you’ve heard the adage that you should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” According to Real Simple, this advice holds up because “a lot of people don’t feel hungry for breakfast because they’re eating too much at night. But you’re better off consuming more calories, including some extra protein, in the morning. It satisfies your appetite, so you won’t be so hungry at night, and you’ll have the nutrients and energy when you need them.”
- Embrace tea time…or at least drink a cup of green tea each day. According to Fitness Magazine, “green tea not only has about half the caffeine of coffee but also contains catechins, which may boost your metabolism. A recent Japanese study found that people who drank a daily 11-ounce bottle of green tea lost 5.3 pounds after three months, while those who drank regular tea lost only 2.9 pounds.”
- Limit your liquid calories. Everything from the cream and sugar you add to your coffee to your nightly glass of wine add additional, non-essential calories to your daily intake. And since these calories are unlikely to make you full, they can add up very quickly. Replace at least one of your daily calorie-laden drinks with a glass of water instead.
- Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Let your brain, not your stomach, guide you up and down the aisles. When you’re hungry, you are much more likely to add unhealthy options into your cart. Instead, make sure you eat a meal or healthy snack before you go shopping, and have at least a rough plan to help you get out of the store with options that you won’t regret later.
- Measure out serving sizes. Use measuring cups, spoons, and a food scale to make sure you are getting a true serving size. Our eyes are much bigger than our stomachs, and you’d be surprised how easy it is to quickly double or triple the amount we should actually be eating without realizing.
- Fill up on fiber. Foods with a lot of fiber not only fill you up more quickly, they also keep you feeling full longer.
- Have fruit for dessert. Or at least make it the star player in your dessert by topping a warmed apple with a drizzle of peanut butter and honey, dipping some strawberries in a little bit of chocolate, or turning frozen bananas into a creamy and delicious 1-ingredient ice cream knock-off.
- Give your brain a chance to catch up to your stomach. Slow down your eating so that you actually recognize when you are full. Put your fork down between bites, chew slowly, and ditch the distracted eating.
Be sure to check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month website for more information and all kinds of helpful tools to help you and your family “put your best fork forward.”
And why not take your nutrition commitment a step further by putting your money where your mouth is? Start your HealthyWager today! You’re already on the right track toward getting healthier and eating right – now get paid for it!