7/11/13

Quick, easy and simple "healthy" eating tips

There are no guarantees in life. We can't avoid cancer, we can only reduce it's risk. We can not prevent injuries but we can increase our chance for a speedy recovery. We can not avoid accidents but we can put ourselves into situations that reduce our odds for an accident.

But what we can do is love the life we choose to live. Every day, all day.

When I was growing up my dad always told me that we all have the chance to live to 90 or 100 years of age. As a young child, 50 was "old" so 100 was just super ancient! But now, I feel so young at 31 and I can't even imagine what it would feel like in 20 years or 70 years! Thankfully, age is just a number that does not slow people down.

I'm sure you've seen the "older" athlete tearing it up on a running or triathlon course or the "older" fitness enthusiast hiking, lifting weights or skiing. My dad always told me that just living to an old age wasn't as important as making sure you are living a quality life. What will you be doing at 70, 80 or 90 years of age? Relying on medications while sitting in a wheelchair in an assisted living facility OR traveling the world after working hard for all of your life to enjoy the riches of your success? My dad convinced me at a young age that every day we should be living a great life and to never take a day for granted. Thank you dad for teaching me the best "rule" of life....live it to the fullest!

Because much of my life involves food and exercise and has been dedicated to learning about food and exercise, I thought I'd share some of my best quick, easy and simple "healthy" eating tips.

To live a healthy life, you need consistent actions to override the occasional opportunities. In order to maintain consistency you must set yourself up for success. If you always try to be perfect, you may always find yourself struggling to improve. Life isn't perfect so you don't have to be either. Sometimes quick, easy and simple is the way to go so here are a few of my tips to get you started.

Shop seasonally, summer time brings LOTS of fresh, local produce but if it isn't in season, consider frozen produce (without added salt/sugar). Think of your plate like a multivitamin - the more color the better. Introduce your taste buds to new flavor combinations. Set up a salad bar in your fridge so you have quick prep at any time. I recommend to prepare at least 3 days worth of veggies and fruit in tupperware so that you can ensure a few quick meals to last you til mid week. 

We all have rushed, busy days and often times, things come up. There's no need to beat yourself up for feeling "off" of your normal routine. There's nothing "lazy" or "bad" about having someone else do the work for you. Don't hesitate to buy pre-washed greens and pre-chopped veggies. Although a bit more expensive, consider pre-chopped fruit if you find yourself buying fruit that always seems to spoil before you eat it. Try to stop for produce every 3-4 days so that you don't have to waste produce. Incorporate quick proteins to your plant-strong meals such as cottage cheese, tuna, deli meat, eggs or grilled tofu. If you find yourself needing to eat out, don't stress - you can always add nutrients to your meal by adding mixed veggies or fruit as an appetizer or dessert to compliment that fast food meal. 

One pot/skillet wonders are fantastic for those who do not like clean-up (which is one of the main reasons why people do not like to cook). Consider having leftovers and throwing it all in a pan with a little oil. Grains, proteins, veggies - a perfect combo for a quick meal that you don't have to attend to (especially if you have just worked out or are coming home to a few chores that need to be complete before eating). Add herbs and spices for lots of flavor as you can eat similar foods for a few days but use different herbs/spices for a whole new flavor experience each time you eat. Consider preparing 2-3, 2-3 cup portions of grains on Sunday to last for the week for easy additions to meals (or invest in a small crockpot). 

If you are going to snack between meals, do so with a purpose. Are you trying to prevent blood sugar from dropping? Are you filling in nutritional gaps between meals? Are you honoring hunger between meals? Are you fueling or refueling? Rather than snacking on similar foods at similar times or snacking for emotions, boredom or stress, think about spending energy on the composition of your meals and then when it comes to snack time, you will find yourself snacking for the right reason and thus, it helping you feel more balance and control with your eating throughout the day.