When I meet with clients to help them establish a game plan for achieving their nutrition and health related goals, there’s a common denominator that is the foundation of every conversation: small changes can produce big results and lead to lasting habits over time. Healthy habits WILL translate to better health in the long run.
In my experience, all too often, people are looking for the “quick fix” that will result in fast weight loss, optimal athletic performance, or improved lab results. The problem with this approach is that when extreme measures are taken, even when a quick weight loss or improved health and fitness outcomes ensue, these things are short term if new habits have not been formed for the long haul.
It’s much more effective to prioritize changes that can be made that have the most bang for the buck without feelings of deprivation, which typically pave the road back to old habits. Forming new habits takes time, patience and true commitment.
Recently, my colleague Jake shared his own thoughts on a concept called “Habit Stacking,” which I find very relevant to all things nutrition-related. (Check it out here if you haven’t already.)
I’d like to bring attention to just a few simple nutrition habits that will benefit almost everyone, regardless of your health, nutrition, or fitness goals.
Begin each day with a tall glass of water.
Whether you choose tap, filtered, or carbonated (I’m looking at you La Croix!), re-hydrating your body with a glass of water at the start of your day aids in the digestion process when you break your fast. It also optimizes your body’s gastrointestinal functions.
There’s nothing wrong with some morning coffee to jump start your day, but be sure to incorporate your water at the same time.
Include Healthy Fat With Every Meal.
Healthy fats from plant based sources like olive oil, avocados, flax meal, nut butters, or nuts and seeds provide anti-inflammatory benefits and simultaneously promote satiety while curbing cravings for sweets and other processed foods. They are also vital for optimal brain function. Don’t be wary about scrambling your eggs in some avocado oil or tossing some nut butter into your morning shake. Healthy fat is a critical element to all meals and snacks!
Keeping a variety of nuts and seeds on hand to use for snacks, toss into salads, or use as a topping for oatmeal or Greek yogurt is an easy way to enhance the nutritional quality of your meal with minimal effort.
Aim to Incorporate Produce With Most Meals and Snacks.
This habit is by far the most challenging, but there are many ways to approach it. Here are just a few ideas:
Pre-washed and chopped fruits and vegetables are at the ready in almost all grocery stores, and the only effort required is to put them on your grocery list and stock them in your fridge so you can add to any meal.
Roast a sheet pan of veggies will lend a supply that can be incorporated in various ways throughout the week.
Make a big salad full of colorful veggies and store without dressing to pull out as needed. Add lean protein and healthy fat for a complete meal. I really love salad, but with 3 kids running in different directions, I don’t enjoy the process of making salad every day. I’ve learned to keep a base of greens and chopped veggies on hand, which I can mix and match with any protein, nuts, cheese, and dressing to tailor it to the flavor I’m in the mood for on any particular day.
There you go! These three small changes can lead to BIG results that will yield lasting health.
Thanks for reading!