1.) Chew your food
Obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people are able to improve their digestion just by better chewing their food. I see people that are practically inhaling a hot pocket just in time to catch the bus. Cue the indigestion, gas and bloating here! We’re all guilty of fast eating, but we have to remember that digestion begins in the mouth with the obvious mastication of food by our teeth. Salivary amylase begins to break up starch, a type of carbohydrate, before the food mass, or “bolus,” passes through the esophagus and into the stomach. Help your stomach out by chewing your food better.
2.) Eat mindfully
Most of us have such jam-packed schedules that the leisurely enjoyment of our lunch is the last thing we have time for, let alone even remembering to eat it! Everyone always asks me what to eat, but much less attention is given to how we eat. The goal of mindful eating is to base our food and beverage intake on our own physical cues, rather than succumbing to emotional cues–such as eating because we are bored. Mindful eating makes us more aware of what we’re putting into our body and why, and helps us to develop healthier relationships with food. One study by the American Psychological Association found that mindful eaters are more likely to have a greater sense of well-being, lower body weights and fewer symptoms of eating disorders. Check out these 5 tips to get started with mindful eating.
3.) You don’t have to do it alone
Positive diet and lifestyle changes are necessary, but can be difficult. It can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Or even a new dog new tricks! After living a certain way our whole lives, we can’t change everything overnight. Set yourself up for success by creating a realistic plan with reasonable goals. Working with a dietitian is a good place to start to make sure you get reliable information and stay on the right track. They can give you that extra “nudge” you can’t always muster within yourself. Contact Lexy for more peace with your health today.
4.) Plan your prep
Ok so I want to eat more salads. The truth is, if I don’t take the time to buy vegetables and cut the lettuce, it’s just not going to happen. The high fat convenience foods at work are going to win and I’m left feeling crummy. Block off a few hours one night a week to buy and prep your food for the week. Pay a visit to the grocery store or farmer’s market and batch cook some quick healthy recipes. Even a few pre-cut celery sticks and hummus can go a long way! If you must eat on the go, here are some tips for making better choices.
5.) Eat regularly
Our bodies are usually happiest when we feed them every 2-3 hours. For people who skip meals or don’t eat enough in hopes to lose weight, our body actually does the opposite. Skipping meals forces our bodies into starvation mode. Our metabolism slows down and we end up holding onto whatever calories we do finally eat, rather than burning them efficiently. When we eat regularly, our body isn’t scared of where it’s next meal will come from so our metabolism is happy. Normal metabolism = weight management.
Lexy Penney MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian and founder of Shanti Nutrition, LLC in Boston, MA. She helps clients find peace with their health using food as medicine.