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Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

Mon - Sun 9am - 9pm
Same Day Appointments Available

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Words of Wellness

Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Eating Tips

Just because it isn’t the new year, doesn’t mean you can’t set resolutions to improve your wellbeing. Advancing your overall health can start with healthy eating which requires developing a well-balanced diet. This can feel confusing with conflicting definitions of a healthy eating pattern, especially considering there are different body types, eating preferences, dietary restrictions, and cooking-skills involved. Learning how to consume foods and drinks that are nutrient-dense can even feel overwhelming, especially when most of us are battling busy schedules, kids, work, school, and hobbies, though in the long run, can hold greater benefit than not.

Healthy eating also isn’t just about eating your greens or avoiding a late night cookie. Your body requires both a balance of micronutrients and macronutrients to achieve optimal health. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and fibers, while macronutrients include fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In addition to supporting growth, immune function, central nervous system, and disease prevention, these nutrients also provide vital support for the body. By definition, healthy foods often are rich in essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals and are typically unprocessed, low in sugar, and full of fiber. Whereas unhealthy foods can usually be categorized by their lack of beneficial nutrients, are highly processed, and contain ‘empty calories' based on the high sugar contents, sodium and carbohydrates.

To be mindful of what you consume, you must be fully attentive to what you are buying, preparing, serving, and indulging in. Obsessing about "forbidden" foods tends to increase cravings for them, and consequently, the eating of them. Eating fast and ignoring your body's natural ‘full’ signals can lead to feelings of bloating, and even discomfort. In order to communicate with the mind and body, it is important to slow down. A useful tip for this is to put down your food or utensils between mouthfuls. If you are experiencing stomach issues, low energy, or feeling lightheaded, it is important to assess whether or not you feel the foods you are eating are providing you with what you need to sustain your energy. Emotional eating or eating out of boredom are two habits you should also be conscientious of as they can impede the practice of mindful eating.

Many people find it difficult to begin adopting healthy eating habits because they don't know where to begin. Practicing mindful, healthy eating takes patience, time, and rewriting old habits to help your mind and body adjust to a new lifestyle. The convenience of junk food can be overwhelming with the amount of cheap snacks, endless drive-thrus and constant catchy packaging that encourages you to purchase despite other available healthier options. To begin healthy eating, it can be useful to do some research on what constitutes ‘healthy food.’ Learning your body's preferences, paying attention to ingredients, setting attainable goals, and making meal plans are all excellent ideas on how you can begin to practice stronger eating habits.

Here are a few tips to help you begin practicing healthy eating;

  • Plan or prepare your meals in advance. It’s easier to stay on track if you have a game plan of what you’ll be having rather than reaching for the nearest convenience food, which often, isn’t the best option

  • Focus on shopping organic, real, or whole foods as opposed to sugary, refined, processed foods

  • Practice mindful, slow eating. Really pay attention to how the foods you are eating are making you feel. Ask yourself- Do I have more energy after consuming lunch? How much brain fog am I experiencing today? I wonder why I feel bloated after eating XYZ?

  • Aim to meet the daily recommended doses of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and fats

  • Cook at home more often. You don’t always know the ingredients or portion sizes that you’ll get at a restaurant. Cooking helps ensure you know exactly what is on your plate and going into your body

  • Learn to balance your plate for every meal

  • Eat your water by indulging in cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe, coconut and tomatoes

  • When eating out, request that they prepare any sauces or dressings on the side so you can moderate how much you’d like to have

  • Avoid sugary drinks

  • Avoid adding extra salt to meals. Most foods already contain high amounts of sodium, and adding extra salt can increase your risk for overdoing it

  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

  • When in doubt, consult a local dietitian.

Depending on the amount of macro and micro nutrients that your body retains through your new-found diet, you can begin to play around with what feels best and continue to reevaluate and plan. Thinking of different meals to make multiple times a day can feel exhausting after a long day at work or balancing screaming kids. Here are two, simple recipes to help kick-start your healthy eating journey.

A hearty healthy dinner for the whole family - Kale & Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 2 (8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 sweet potato

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 bunch chopped kale

  • 4 each mini bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • ½ medium red onion, cut into bite-size pieces

  • ½ zucchini, sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons peanut sauce

Essential Green Smoothie + 9 other Smoothie Recipes for Beginners.

  • 1 cup spinach or other leafy greens

  • 1 banana, frozen

  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla milk or other milk/milk alternative

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

  • ½ cup plain reduced-fat Greek yogurt

  • 1 scoop protein powder, optional

Healthy eating takes time, patience and practice, but most importantly, awareness of what personally feels right for you and your body. The benefits don’t happen overnight, but with consistency, persistence, and a little bit of trial and error, healthy eating can make a world of difference in your mind, body and lifestyle.

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