6 simple rules for healthy eating
By sarah levy | April 11, 2014, 3:21 pm
What should I eat to get healthy/lose weight/have the best abs/increase my energy/take over the world?
I’ve been asked some variation of this question by almost every single friend, family member, colleague and quasi-stranger who knows I’m a nutritionist. It’s a loaded question because there’s no simple answer. There is no one-size-fits all prescription for the cleanest, healthiest diet because each body has its own demands, intricacies and preferences.
That said, there are some healthy eating guidelines that work regardless of whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, Paleo-obsessed or simply a “real foodist” like we are over here at Bari Food Society. These are six simple, easy-to-implement rules that will keep your eating on the right track (and those coveted Bari results coming).
1. Ditch the diet mentality. This is the most important step because if you can’t get past the black and white concept of good and bad foods or healthy and unhealthy days of eating, you’ll never be able to commit to an ongoing approach to healthy eating. Shit happens — sometimes that shit comes in the form of a whimsical slice of pizza or a day when you were too busy to eat until dinner or one too many glasses of Rose (we forgive you, it was the first 65 degree day!). And you know what? You need to make room for all of those forms of shit in your approach to healthy eating. If you don’t — if every time you veer off the quinoa-paven path to perfect health, you decide to throw in the towel and call it a “bad day,” you’ll always have a tumultuous relationship with eating well.
When you acknowledge that diets and restrictions don’t serve your long-term goals and wellness, those caveats seem less disruptive. The immediate, actionable “to dos” behind healthy eating seem more realistic and desirable. And those less intimidating, everyday healthy actions go so much further than an on-again, off-again vacillation between all kale and all carbs.
2. Eat every meal like it’s Monday morning. You know that excitement you wake up with every Monday morning? (No, is that just a Bari thing?) Even if you’re not excited to tackle your Monday morning emails, there’s an invincibility that accompanies Monday mornings when it comes to being healthy. After a weekend full of relaxation and vices, Monday mornings provide a clean slate for you to set the right tone for the week; they’re a time to do something good for your body. If you channel that can-do attitude to every meal —if you eat every meal like it’s Monday morning — you’ll continue that Monday morning momentum throughout the week.
3. Stick to real foods. This is the simplest rule to follow because when deciding whether or not to eat something, you can just ask yourself, “is it real?” If it comes from the ground or a tree or doesn’t have a nutrition label, you’re likely dealing with real food. If it comes in a package and has more than five ingredients or any ingredients you can’t pronounce, you’ll want to put that Frankenfood down.
4. Get acquainted with hunger, satiety and fullness. Portion control is an art because, again, it’s personal. What fuels you perfectly may be too much or too little for someone else. Get to know what hunger, satiety and fullness feels like for you, and do your best to land in that satiated middle ground when you finish your meals. Try eating three quarters of your typical lunch and saving the leftovers for later. If you feel satisfied for three to four hours, that’s probably the perfect amount for you. If you get hungry an hour after finishing, it’s likely you need a bit more to power you through your day.
5. Fuel your workouts properly. When you recognize that food is fuel, it’s a lot easier to respect your body’s needs. Our bodies do a lot for us during our 55 minutes of dancing, bouncing, sculpting and planking; they’re only capable of peak performance when we fuel ourselves with foods that energize us. If you’ve ever attempted a Bounce class after eating too much, you know what it feels like to be, literally, weighed down. Seek out foods that leave you feeling light, energized and nourished. Want some tips on pre and post workout nutrition? Check out this nutrition video from the BariTV vault.
6.The more (vegetables), the merrier. As Jamie Oliver says, “eat your veg-et-ah-bowls.” Plants are the backbone of any solid healthy eating plan because they have all of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that conventional, processed foods lack. When you frame your food choices with “I need to eat more vegetables” instead of “I need to eat less [insert evil junk food here],” your approach to eating feels positive and abundant, rather than restrictive. Focusing on the good stuff automatically crowds out the bad.
Healthy eating can be complicated — but it doesn’t have to be. During these next six weeks of bari peel, filter your everyday food decisions through these simple rules and embrace the healthy food habits that work for your body and your life.
Want access to our full six-week nutrition roadmap? Sign up for peel for a week-by-week eating prescription, tips, recipes and access to an exclusive peel discount on Bari’s nutrition services.
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