Today, I wanted to share with you an article I wrote for The Business Journals It’s a bit long for a blog post but it’s incredibly important so I hope you take the time to read the whole thing!
9 healthy eating tips that ensure long-term success
It’s no secret that entrepreneurs are driven.
We are goal setters. We obsess about our work and the issues we face every day, and in doing so, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves.
We’ve all done it. We’re busy and it’s easy to think that there just isn’t enough time in the day to hit the gym or eat a healthy meal, or rest properly.
But here’s the unvarnished truth: If you want to be successful over the long haul, you have to begin to think about your health and make it a priority.
Here’s why: Everything is connected.
If we look at the human body as one total unit, instead of separate parts of a unit, you see that all of our organs influence and affect one another. For example, the gall bladder affects the liver, which has an impact on the endocrine system (hormones, thyroid, adrenals), which affects our energy level and our mood.
Fortunately, there are some tools that can you can use for prevention and maintenance of your health and vitality so you can have the freedom to choose a full and passionate life. Health is freedom — the freedom to live your life to the fullest, to explore, to move, to laugh and aspire to grow. Owning your value starts with loving yourself, which means taking great care of yourself.
Eating healthy is not about strict diets, rigid nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of eating the foods you love. Instead, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, balancing your mood and keeping yourself as healthy as possible — all of which can be accomplished by learning some basic nutrition concepts and using them in a way that works for you.
Here are nine healthy eating tips to ensure your health success.
1. Set yourself up for success
In order to have success in creating a healthy diet, taking small, manageable steps, rather than making drastic changes, works best. If you approach the changes gradually and commit to them as you go along, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you might think.
Keep it simple
Instead of being obsessed with counting calories or measuring your portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of freshness, color and variety. This way it becomes easier to make healthy choices. Start by focusing on foods that you love and incorporating some healthy fresh ingredients with them. Your diet will become more healthy and delicious in no time.
Attempting to change your eating habits overnight is setting yourself up for failure. This sudden drastic change will often lead to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan all-together. Take simple, small steps, by adding a small salad with a variety of vegetables to your diet each day or switching from butter to olive oil or coconut oil when cooking.
As your small changes become a habit, you can continue adding more and more healthier choices to your diet. Every change matters. The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy and reduce the risk of cancer and disease.
2. Moderation is key
The key for a healthy diet is moderation.
You might ask, what exactly is moderation and what’s considered a moderate amount? That really depends on you, your body type and overall eating habits.
Try thinking of moderation as balance. That typically will mean eating less than you do now. For example, if you eat a burger for lunch, then you can eat a healthy dinner such as, salmon and a salad. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, you can balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your dinner that evening.
You’ll want to include a balance of carbohydrates, fat, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals to ensure that you sustain a healthy body.
Moderation can also mean smaller portions. Serving sizes these days at restaurants are ridiculously big. When dining out, try splitting an entrée with a friend. At home, try using smaller plates. If you’re still hungry after a meal, try adding more leafy green veggies or fruit.
3. How you eat is just as important as what you eat
Eat with others when possible. This has a number of different benefits, particularly for children —it allows for modeling healthy eating habits. Eating in front of your T.V. or computer can lead to mindless overeating.
Chew your food slowly. Savor every bite. We often tend to rush through our meals forgetting to actually taste our food and enjoy it. Chewing slowly will also help with proper digestion of your food. (I admit that I can improve in this area!)
Listen to your body. Ask yourself, “Am I feeling hungry or am I really thirsty for water?” During a meal, it’s important to stop eating before you feel full. It takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that you’re full, so that’s another good reason to eat slowly.
Eat breakfast and smaller meals throughout the day. Eating a healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small healthy meals throughout the day (rather than the three standard meals a day you’re probably accustomed to) will keep your energy up and metabolism going.
Avoid eating too late. Attempt to eat dinner earlier and then fast for 14-16 hours. This will give your digestive system a break. So, in essence, you are only eating when you’re most active. This will help to regulate your weight.
4. Fill up on colorful fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet. They are low in calories and full of wonderful nutrients, such as, anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
5. Eat healthy carbohydrates and whole grains
Whole grains, healthy carbs and fiber will provide long -asting energy.
Include a variety of whole grains into your diet. Examples of whole grains you can include are whole wheat, millet, quinoa, brown rice and barley. Experiment with different grains to find your favorite.
Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals and anti-oxidants, which will help to protect against diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain cancers. Studies have shown that those who eat more whole grains tend to have a healthier heart.
The difference between healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs
- Healthy carbs include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. When eating healthy carbs, you will feel full longer and your blood sugar and insulin levels will remain lower.
- Unhealthy carbs include refined sugar, white flour, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest very quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.
Include a variety of whole grains in your diet to ensure you’re eating your healthy carbs.
6. Eat healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats
Certain sources of healthy fat are required to nourish your brain, your cells, your hair, skin and nails. Foods rich in Omega 3 fats, called EPA and DHA, are particularly beneficial and can lower cardiovascular disease, help with dementia and improve your mood.
Healthy foods to add:
- Mono-saturated fats from plant oils like peanut oil, canola oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts (like pecans, almonds and hazelnuts) and seeds (such as, sesame and pumpkin).
- Poly-saturated fats, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, fatty acids, found in fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and some cold water fish oil supplements.
Some other sources of poly-saturated fats include corn, soybean, walnuts, flaxseed oils and raw sunflower seeds.
Trans-fats, found in crackers, vegetable shortenings, some margarines, candies, snack foods, baked goods, fried foods and other processed foods made with part hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Saturated fats, found primarily in animals products such as whole milk dairy products and red meat.
7. A new perspective on protein
Try incorporating different types of protein into your diet, such as, beans, peas, seeds, nuts, tofu and soy products. This will provide more variety and new options at meal time.
- Beans – navy beans, black beans, garbanzos and lentils are good options
- Nuts – walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pecans are great choices
- Soy Products – soy milk, tofu, tempeh and veggie burgers
Avoid refried beans and salted or sugary nuts.
8. Add calcium for healthy and strong bones
Calcium is not only a key ingredient to have a strong and healthy body, it is also an essential building block for lifelong bone health and many other functions.
Good sources of calcium include:
- Dairy: Dairy products are rich in calcium and easily absorbed by the body sources; this includes milk, cheese and yogurt.
- Vegetables and greens: Many vegetables are rich sources of calcium, especially leafy greens. Try mustard greens, turnip, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, cabbage, fennel, green beans, squash, Brussel sprouts, crimini mushrooms and asparagus.
- Beans: For another rich source of calcium, you can eat pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, white beans, baked beans or black-eyed peas.
9. Limit your sugar and salt intake
Sugar causes energy ups and downs and can be responsible for health and weight problems. Unfortunately, you have to do more than reduce the amount of desserts, cakes and candy you eat.
Most of the time, you may not even be aware of the amount of sugar you’re consuming each day. Large amounts of sugar can be hidden in many of the foods you eat regularly, such as bread, pasta sauce, vegetables, soy sauce, ketchup, frozen dinners and canned soup.
Some helpful tips:
Avoid sugary drinks – One 12 oz. soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. This is more than the daily recommended limit! Try sparkling water or a small glass of fresh juice instead.
Eat naturally sweet food such as, fruits, peppers or natural peanut butter to help satisfy your sweets craving.
Hidden sugar on food labels:
- Corn sweetener or corn syrup
- Honey or molasses
- Cane sugar
- Brown rice syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltose or sucrose
- Crystallized evaporated cane juice
- Maltodextrin (or dextrin)
Salt: Most people consume too much salt in their diets. Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and other health issues. Try to limit your salt intake to 1500 to 2300 mg per day, the equivalent of one teaspoon.
- Opt for fresh vegetables vs. canned vegetables.
- Choose low salt or sodium-free products and cut back on salty snacks.
- Avoid processed or prepackaged food – these products often contain hidden sodium.
- Be careful when eating out – most restaurant food is loaded with sodium.
Remember to make your health a top priority in your life. Having a successful business doesn’t matter if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it.
Megan Tull is an Entrepreneur Success Strategist, Transformational Leader in Business and Life, an Author and an International Speaker. Megan is CEO and Founder of Silverlining Concepts, LLC, a business coaching and consulting firm that specializes in innovative and transformational training and workshops for entrepreneurs, CEO’s and small business owners.
She has a new book called The Passion Belief Method- Own Your Value and Earn Your Worth in Business available on Amazon and your favorite book stores. For more info about Megan and her services visit –www.megantull.com for more info on her book and to receive a free sample chapter visit- www.passionbeliefmethod.com