The sun is now shining, the birds are singing, and we’re all happy! Right? Well, not necessarily. With the change in weather comes the realization for many of us that we perhaps weren’t giving our bodies the proper nutrition to keep our moods high and our bodies functioning at their best. Well, I’m here to give you some easy tips to turn that around just in time for that summer sun.
Use these tips to give your brain and body a boost!
Tip #1: Limit Your Intake of Added Sugars
Oh, sugar, we love to hate you, don’t we. Well, the truth is that there are some good kinds of sugar that provide us with steady energy throughout the day. This kind of sugar can be found in fruits and even some vegetables. The problem with added sugar, like the kind you get from processed foods, is that they give us a false sense of quick energy and eventually end with a crash of energy. This is often known as a “sugar rush” or “sugar crash”.
Limiting this kind of added sugar is also difficult because it’s added to a surprisingly large number of foods and drinks. The good news is, however, by sticking to mostly whole foods – think fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes – you are automatically decreasing the number of added sugars you’re eating. A good rule of thumb is to make the majority of your diet whole, unprocessed foods with only a few processed treats mixed in there. That’s a surefire way to not overindulge in added sugars.
Tip #2: Don’t be Afraid of Healthy Fats
Include at least one healthy fat in every one of your daily meals. This could look like avocado in your breakfast omelet, nuts atop your salad at lunch, and salmon at dinner. Fat leaves us feeling satisfied and stabilizes blood sugar to help with energy production throughout the day.
Specifically, monounsaturated fats are the “healthy fats” we often hear, these are found in foods like olive oil, nuts, and avocados. The reason they should be added to your diet is that they give you sustainable energy and even help to reduce your risk of heart disease. Healthy fats also improve mood by giving the body a feeling of satisfaction and staving off hunger for longer.
Tip #3: Eat More Fiber
Digestive issues are a common complaint, we live in a fast-paced world and sometimes that results in being negligent about fiber and fluid intake. A high-fiber diet has been linked to weight loss, digestive health, and risk reduction for multiple diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
To get in on the benefits of a fibrous diet, include at least one vegetable at every meal. Virtually all types of vegetables have a high fiber content but some have larger amounts of fiber than others. Look for foods that are naturally high in fiber before resorting to a supplement.
Tip #4: Include Quality Protein
Good quality protein supports healthy activity levels and muscle repair. Not to mention it keeps us fuller, longer. This reduces the likelihood of falling back on high-sodium or high-fat snacks in between meals to satisfy hunger pangs. It also has been linked to improved mood and cognitive function, making it somewhat of a superfood.
Quality protein refers to foods that are mostly unprocessed and raised in organic, grass-fed environments. There are also many great vegetarian protein options that provide the same benefits.
No one diet works for everyone, so it’s important to focus on adding in healthy foods as opposed to removing “bad” foods. Life is all about balance after all! And we want you to be informed about how to live a happy, healthy, and balanced life. For a more personalized look at nutrition, check out our individual and group nutrition services.