Enjoy reading Mile High Healthy, but not ready to fully commit to go vegan….or vegetarian…or even participate in meatless Mondays?? Fear not, you do not need to eschew your current diet completely in order to be healthy. There are many smaller things you can do in your day-to-day life to help make you healthier overall. Remember, a lot of little things add up!!
That being said, here are a few simple and small changes you can make every day…
- DRINK MORE WATER! This is on my goals list every time for a reason…water is a life force and drinking more will help you feel more alert, focused, and can even help keep up your metabolism. Drink a full glass of water even before you start getting ready in the morning. An ice-cold glass of water in the afternoon always helps me beat the 3pm slump
- Eat a balanced breakfast – breakfast is important to get you going in the morning. But a bowl of Lucky Charms or a frozen waffle drenched in syrup will not leave you ready to conquer the day. Instead, try a breakfast that contains complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats like a veggie and fruit packed smoothie or some oatmeal
- Get your full 5. Most Americans don’t get their daily recommended amount of vegetables (college kids only get about 5 servings of veggies per WEEK!). Eat a veggie packed salad for lunch whenever possible, use veggies as a snack (ie veggies dipped in hummus), have produce packed smoothies for a snack (afternoon pick-me-up smoothie w/ spinach anyone?) Or perhaps my personal favorite way to really up the veggies intake: green juices and smoothies
- Quit the soda – I know this really isn’t my area of expertise, considering I just recently decided to kick the habit, but soda is bad for you, not matter which kind you drink. Regular soda is loaded with added and unnecessary sugars that I believe are a big reason that so many children are overweight and obese now. Diet soda is packed with chemicals that trick your body and make you consume even more calories. The caffeine and carbonation in soda act as diuretics, making you dehydrated. They can also cause heartburn and gastrointestinal upset (also because of carbonation). Imagine that you are at a spa day enjoying massages, facials, and saunas…what sounds better in this situation….lemon water? or chemically laden soda?? I thought so.
- Seriously eat an apple a day – apples have so many amazing health benefits. They give you needed fiber, have shown to be a more effective pick-me-up than coffee, are nutrient rich and full of easily assimilated hydration, help clean your teeth, and recent studies have even shown that an apple a day may lower your risk of stroke. ‘Nuff said.
- Swap it? I say drop it– many magazine/health/diet articles suggest easy swaps from full fat to low or no fat items. Just because something is lower in fat, doesn’t mean it’s better. Low-fat peanut butter has only about 10 or so calories less than full fat but they greatly increase the amount of sugar in order to even out the flavor. No thanks. Turkey bacon is not a real food. It is a processed meat substance loaded with nitrates and preservatives and shaped into bacon. If you want bacon, eat bacon. Full fat or low-fat mayonnaise…I say NO mayonnaise! Try spreading your slice with mashed up avocado or hummus instead.
- Avoid the box – try to eat the least amount of processed food possible. The best foods for you are not going to come from a box with a zillion ingredients, they are going to come straight from nature. Look for foods that are the ingredient! Instead of a boxed dinner with a million ingredients, preservatives, fillers, who knows what…make a dinner with pasta and chicken and veggies. I know this is not always possible considering how hectic our lives are each day, but the more you can avoid processed foods, the better.
- Avoid the bag – Same goes for fast food. Fast food should not be a daily thing. Or even a weekly thing, really. It is cheap and questionable food that only fuels the obesity and chronic illness epidemics in our country.