Many of us are using this time of physical distancing to practice some form of self-improvement. I have heard of people tackling a new language, trying new recipes or picking up a new hobby. While this is a time of great anxiety and stress for most of us, it could also be the perfect time to put in place some positive changes to our diets. Below are 5 easy changes that could add up to big health gains.
Stay hydrated. Many of us go through the day at a mild hydration deficit. Focus on getting at least 8 8-ounce glasses of liquid a day. If you live in a hot, humid climate or exercise frequently, you need more liquid. Eating foods with a high-water content, like cucumbers or watermelon, can also help. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages tend to be dehydrating and avoid sugary beverages to keep calories to a minimum.
Eat more protein. Try to include some protein with every meal you eat, including snacks. Protein keeps you full longer and helps balance your blood sugar. It also provides the amino acids needed to make your neurotransmitters for a positive impact on mood.
Eat whole grains. Avoid white flour products like cookies, cakes and white bread. Focus on eating whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread or ancient grains. Whole grains are an important source of fiber, minerals and B vitamins.
Add more vegetables. Adding an extra vegetable to your meals instantly improves its vitamin and mineral content and offers a healthy dose of fiber. A small side salad, adding lettuce to your sandwich or carrot sticks to your lunch all provide an added vegetable boost. When you plate your food, aim for having at least half of your plate composed of vegetables.
Avoid processed foods. Aim to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Avoid food that comes in boxes or other packaging. Unprocessed food offers fewer calories, more vitamins and minerals and more fiber.
I know that in this time of high stress it may feel daunting to make changes to our lives. However, these are all small steps that could lead to a healthier you.
Photo from flickr.