As Christmas closes in on us, we all begin to think about our New Years resolutions. We make promises to ourselves to change. We commit to healthier lifestyles. We vow to lose weight and eat better. We basically hope to reinvent ourselves as the previous year comes to a close.
People often ask me what I eat. What do I do to stay healthy. How often I exercise. They ask me what kind of exercises I do and ask for suggestions on how they can change their eating habits to lose weight.
My first piece of advice is always that NUTRITION MATTERS.
It doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much exercise you do, nothing will oppose your efforts more than not eating nutritionally dense foods as the main part of your diet. I think we forget the real reason food exists sometimes. Yes, it can taste good but food is designed to fuel our bodies. Natural foods contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies need to function, stay healthy and survive. Without these nutrients we experience sickness, weight gain, fatigue, soreness, dull hair, insomnia…I could do on and on. The bottom line is that many of the things people suffer from can be helped simply by getting the right amount of nutrients that your body requires.
You wouldn’t put dirt in your gas tank and expect your car to start, why would you put something in your body that doesn’t provide the right fuel and expect it to run properly?
Yet, we do it all the time…and worse yet it is the norm not the exception.
I know, I know. You don’t necessarily have the time to cook from scratch and all that. I get it. But you can still make some small changes that can have a huge impact on making sure you are getting the nutrients you need.
5 Easy Nutrition Swaps to Improve Your Health
1. Swap your bars
If you grab a granola or other snack bar on the run, have you ever noticed how many ingredients they have? Have you also noticed how many of those ingredients are artificial? We all need a grab-and-go snack some days, but you can make better choices. Larabars are fruit and nut bars that contain nothing artificial, they are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, and non-GMO. They contain no added sugar and each bar contains 1/2 cup of fruit. Most varieties have potassium, fiber, protein and depending upon the flavor other essential vitamins and minerals. If you prefer you can actually very easily make them yourself with your favorite ingredients.
2. Swap your drinks
What do you drink during the course of the day? Stuff loaded with sugar that contain zero nutrition? I know that you know you should be replacing those drinks with water. Lots and lots of water. Unsweetened tea is fine too, and herbal teas can really do so much good for your body. Tea can contain antioxidants, healthy herbs and tastes great. It can help you sleep better, aid in weight loss and reduce gas and bloating. It can help your mood, cleanse your liver and even boost your immune system.
3. Swap your snacks
If you already grab fruit or veggies for a snack, then you are doing pretty good, but you still may not be getting the protein and nutrition you need. Consider a protein smoothie or shake blended with non-GMO soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk. A good protein shake will be chock full of plant-based protein and vitamins. You can take it in a shaker cup for on-the-go or at home blend fruit into it for added nutrition and flavor.
4. Swap your vitamins
Do you take a multi-vitamin? Depending upon what you are deficient in, it may not be enough. Multi-vitamins tend to contain a little bit of everything as opposed to a lot of the couple of things that you need. Your doctor can test your blood for vitamin deficiencies and suggest which supplements might help you. Also, adding a probiotic to your diet can help improve your gut health which has been shown to improve overall health.
5. Swap your sweeteners
We all know that sugar is not good for our bodies, yet it is in so much of our food in so many different shapes and forms. Plus, we add it to our coffee, our tea, our cereal and more. Ideally you want to remove all sugars from your diet but realistically, you shouldn’t have to be deprived of something sweet either because then you might actually go crazy trying to stick with a healthy diet. Raw honey contains vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants and is said to be able to help with allergies as well. It is completely natural and unprocessed and while your body still treats it like sugar, it’s not like table sugar that has no nutritional value.
Meijer is one company that supports a healthy lifestyle. They have so many great products that can help you achieve your goals and help you make your nutrition swaps. They have an amazing produce section, plenty of organic fruits and vegetables and other organic products throughout the store. It is actually my store of choice locally and has been for many years. They have great prices, offer money-saving coupons and their MPerks program rewards you for your purchases. Below are just a few of the products Meijer has to make your nutrition swaps easy!