Happy April everyone! As the weather begins to warm up and we find ourselves ENJOYING being outside more and engaging in healthy habits, I thought It would be a great month to introduce you to some nutrition-related content to help support you in your health & wellness journey.
I did a little self-reflection and realized there are some components of health and wellness that I think are best left to the experts. That is why this month, I have recruited an expert health-care professional to talk about all things nutrition! I am so excited to introduce to you, Megan Miller! Megan is a Registered Dietician and this month, she is giving us her Top Five Nutrition Tips to help you lead a healthier, more balanced life from the inside out! Take a read and enjoy this refreshing take on nutritional advice!
#1 CONSIDER EXPLORING PLANT-BASED PROTEIN FOODS
When you think of protein, you most often think of meat and animal products such as eggs, cheese, yogurt, and milk. However, there are numerous plant products high in protein and many other important nutrients. Common sources of plant protein include beans, peas and legumes (including lentils, chickpeas and peanuts). Soy products, tofu and quinoa are also great non-animal protein sources. Consider incorporating a “Meatless Monday” meal into your week, you may be surprised with the delicious plant-based foods and recipes that are out there!
#2 MAKE CARBOHYDRATES YOUR FRIEND
Over the past few years, carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation and have been viewed as the “enemy”. However, carbohydrates are an important part of your diet as they provide your body with energy and aids in digestion. Did you know . . . glucose (the sugar component of carbohydrates) is the brain’s preferred fuel source? This means carbohydrates fuel your brain to help with concentration, decision-making and memory. When consuming carbohydrate foods, consider making them whole grains (such as whole grain bread, pasta, oats, crackers, rice and quinoa)!
#3 WATER, WATER, WATER!
It is hard to deny that water is an essential component of life, yet water is frequently forgotten about or not made a priority when consuming fluids throughout the day. The amount of water an individual needs to drink in a day varies from person-to-person (depending on variables such as age, sex, activity level, physical environment, etc.) to prevent dehydration. Although your daily total fluid intake includes all fluids you consume including juice, pop, coffee, tea as well as foods with high water contents (i.e. watermelon, cucumbers and soups) water is the preferred choice! Try adding lemon, cucumber, or fruit in your water to make drinking water more enjoyable!
#4 INCORPORATE A VARIETY OF FOODS IN YOUR DIET (INCLUDING SOUL FOODS!)
You may have heard health care professionals state the importance of “including a variety of foods in your diet” to ensure you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function and thrive. “Variety” often focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and quality protein sources, and frequently forgets about soul foods that play an important role in your life as well. Although it is important to be eating these nutrient-dense foods often, diet culture has demonized other foods, referring to them as “bad” or “junk food”. This can be problematic as food serves a greater purpose than nourishment alone. Food is comfort, food is pleasure, food is culture, food is tradition, and food is social. Taking the moral value away from food can support your relationship with food and your body immensely!
#5 TUNE IN TO YOUR INNER INTUTIVE EATER
Babies are born with the natural ability to eat intuitively. They cry when they are hungry and turn away from the breast or bottle when full. As individuals grow older, they lose sight of their intuitive eating as external factors such as diet culture, unrealistic ideals and weight stigma take over. Taking the steps forward to becoming an intuitive eater again can lead to food freedom and body trust. Check out the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating to learn more!