Wouldn’t it be great to eat a healthier diet without starving yourself, counting calories, or subscribing to a line of expensive pre-packaged meals? I call it Simple Supportive Nutrition. It’s not a new concept; it just seems to have gotten buried beneath a mountain of fad diets and weight loss products. Simple supportive nutrition is similar to the notion of a “square meal” with a little tweaking. It is supports a healthy metabolism, helps control blood sugar, and optimizes energy. Instead of counting calories, let your appetite be your guide.
Here is an easy-to-follow set of guidelines.
Attempt to include a lean protein, a starchy carbohydrate, and a fibrous carbohydrate in every meal. A lean protein is one that is low in saturated fat such as boneless, skinless chicken, fish, or low-fat dairy products. Starchy carbohydrates are food like like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and whole- or multi-grain breads and pastas. Fibrous carbohydrates are most fruits and vegetables. Examples are carrots, apples, or a tossed salad. These types of foods take more energy for your body to break down. Not only do they provide higher quality nutrients, your will burn additional calories simply digesting them.
Each component of your meal should be about the same size portion. This will assist you in getting an adequate amount of the various nutrients.
Eat only until you are no longer hungry. If you eat until you feel full you will most likely consume more calories than your body needs.
Eat supportively every 3 or 4 hours and make all of your meals about the same size. When you keep a steady stream of healthy food in your system you maintain blood sugar levels and avoid the energy roller coaster, keeping those mid-afternoon sleepy times at bay.
Avoid sweet foods like fruit juice and products with made with enriched white flour. Simple sugars get metabolized by your body more quickly and are stored as fat.
Minimize saturated fats such as high-fat dairy products, fatty cuts of meat, and butter. Too much saturated fat may lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eliminate hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils are used in many products to prolong shelf life. They increase “bad” cholesterol, and are more harmful than saturated fat. Check food labels for it.
Last but not least, choose one day each week (i.e. Sunday) as your “cheat day.” Eat a small amount of the thing or two that you’ve been craving. Let this be your reward at the end of the week for putting your best effort forth.
The most important thing to remember when attempting to eat a healthy diet is not to expect perfection. It’s unrealistic to believe you can go without your favorite unhealthy foods indefinitely. Celebrate the short-term goals and resolve to do just a little bit better this week than you did the week before. Slow and steady progress will lead you to a lifetime habit of healthy eating.