Tips from a Nutrition Expert
Starter Nutrition Tips for Your Fresh Start
The spring season brings a fresh start, hopeful energy, and the best of intentions. Many people have health and nutrition goals to achieve. Sometimes they turn to fad diets that leave them feeling deprived and wanting to give up after a couple weeks or days. This year, set yourself up for success with these dietitian-approved tips to kick start any starter season.
1. Power up your BREAKFAST people.
Too often breakfast is neglected or skipped out altogether. What you eat at the beginning of the day sets the tone for what you feed your body for the rest of the day. Think PROTEIN and FIBRE to help sustain your energy until your next snack or meal. Adding a protein source such as an egg, nut butter, greek yogurt, or nuts/seeds can not only act to stabilize your energy levels but will also help keep your “hunger hormone”, ghrelin, in check. When your stomach is empty, it secretes ghrelin, which causes hunger by sending signals to the brain urging it on a mission to eat anything and everything. Eating a breakfast that includes a source of protein has shown to lower the response to ghrelin, leaving you less hungry. All the more reason to start your day off right!
2. EAT VEGETABLES like they are going out of style.
Ok, I know, you hear this one all of the time, but it's true my friend! Plant foods are here to stay. Fill that plate full of the good stuff to feel fuller and to provide some serious nutrients to that hard working body of yours. Eat them raw, stir-fried, boiled, or dipped. Get them in any way that you can!
3. FIBRE is the real deal.
Fibre includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. It is also known as roughage or bulk. Adding more fibre will help you to feel full for a longer time, which helps with appetite and weight control. The best sources of fibre include whole grains, vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Most people only get half of the fibre they need every day. Start by adding some flax seeds or chia seeds to your breakfast smoothie and including vegetables and fruit to your meals and snacks. Remember to drink more water as you increase fibre intake. This will help the fibre work its magic.
4. Assess your MEAL PATTERN.
To jump-start weight loss (and maintain it!), get your hunger in check by choosing to eat meals and snacks every three to four hours. For optimal hunger control, aim to have meals and snacks that contain both protein and fiber, two nutrients that have serious staying power.
5. EAT REAL food.
Cook as much as you can. Learning to cook simple meals with whole foods will help sort your nutrition out. Instead of hopping on the diet or detox bandwagon, fill your body with the good stuff 80% of the time if you can.
6. BE MINDFUL.
Last, but one of the most important tips is learning to be mindful of eating. Meal plans and calorie trackers are great learning tools, but a healthy relationship with food is the best skill that you can learn. You can start by becoming aware of your body’s responses to food. Ask yourself, what are the reasons why you eat? What are your triggers for eating (hunger, stress, energy levels, digestion, etc.) Becoming aware of the reasons WHY and HOW you eat are the first steps to becoming more mindful of your eating patterns.
If you wanted to add a seventh, it would be TEAM UP. Implementing these tips into your life will take you far, but for some people, there is more going on in their story. If you find that your weight won't budge no matter what, you have hormonal imbalances, you have special dietary needs or restrictions, or the emotional triggers are overwhelming, seek your own expert in your town to guide you through these hurdles. You're worth it and you can do it.