It is no secret that maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health. The list of benefits includes lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. Meeting or keeping to this goal is easier than you think with these ten tips:
- Sleep! Poor sleeping habits or inadequate sleep can lead to unhealthy behaviors. When we are tired, we may make poor food choices or skip on exercise which may contribute to weight gain. Setting yourself up for a successful night’s sleep means shutting off all electronics, lowering the temperature of your room, and keeping the room dark. *If you have an iPhone, you can even use the Bedtime feature offered in the clock app. You can set the time you want to wake up and track how many hours of sleep you would like to get, and the app will notify you 15 minutes before you should head to sleep! This app can also put your phone on “Do Not Disturb”, so no phone calls or texts will wake you.
- Drink more water. Sometimes when you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. Drink a few glasses of water before a meal to curb your appetite.
- Eat mindfully. Think of what you are putting to your mouth and savor each bite. Eating slowly allows you to enjoy your food and know when you are full.
- Eat breakfast. Not everyone feels like eating in the morning, but skipping meals lead to overeating during other meals or snacking more at the end of the day. A good breakfast includes protein and fiber to keep you full. Healthy choices include yogurt, fruit, oatmeal, nuts, whole-grain toast, and eggs.
- Write it down. I just started keeping a food log through Lose It! and became hyper-aware of my eating habits and empty calorie intake.
- Exercise. Daily physical activity is good for the mind and body. Every minute counts, so if you can’t get to the gym or exercise class, go for a short walk, do some jumping jacks, pushups, and sit-ups.
- Meal prep. I covered this is an earlier blog post (linked here). The benefits of planning and cooking your meals ahead of time include less time cooking during the week or when you are hungry for something healthy and have no time to cook.
- Rearrange your plate. Build your plate with half vegetables, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter protein. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, and peas are included in the “grains” portion of your plate. You can also use smaller plates to reduce the amount of food you serve yourself.
- Eat more veggies! Vegetables are low-calorie, high-fiber, and nutrient-rich. When thinking of your next meal or snack, think of a few vegetables you enjoy and super-size the portion. Then you can add in some protein and whole grains. I love pasta, but do not have it often. When I make a pasta dish, I toss with a variety of grilled, sautéed, or roasted vegetables and serve with a garden salad.
- Set goals. You don’t have to overhaul your life to achieve optimal health. Taking small steps each day that include healthy habits will ultimately lead to a healthier lifestyle. For example, eating breakfast every day or beginning an exercise routine.
Quote of the week:
“Change the way you look at things and things that you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Recipe of the Week: Baked Eggplant Sticks
I always forget that I bought an eggplant and then I am forced to look for new ways to prepare one. I saw this recipe on SkinnyTaste and had to share.
10 oz eggplant
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 large egg white
1 cup marinara sauce for dipping (optional, extra)
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. Cut ends off the eggplant. Slice eggplant in half, then into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Lay each slice on the cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch strips. Be sure to cut all the strips the same size so they cook evenly. Place eggplant strips in a bowl and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl, and egg whites in another.
Dip a few strips of eggplant at a time into the egg whites, then into the breadcrumbs. Using a fork, remove eggplant from crumbs and place on the baking sheets. Spray with more oil and bake 10 minutes in the middle rack. Turn over and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.