Often, people associate healthy eating or losing weight with bird-like diets that are boring and unsatisfying. Many conventional diets focus on what you CAN’T have, fostering an attitude of deprivation that then has the potential to backfire once you’re finished with the diet.
At The Tasteful Pantry, we’re big believers in healthy eating combined with indulgence, satiety and joy. That’s actually what we’re all about! If we go about our diets with an attitude of deprivation, we’re far less likely to stick with them, and just as important, we’ll completely miss out on the joy of eating! The more joy, the less we feel the need to mindlessly munch!
Below are some of my top tips for making sure the food and calories that you’re putting into your body are satisfying and conducive to healthy eating and even weight loss.
1. Fiber is filling and usually is found in lower calorie foods. So eating lots of veggies is first on the list. Low glycemic veggies like beans, yams, green peas and beets are best, but overall if you eat lots of veggies at each meal and also for snacks you will be less hungry. Make sure to include a variety of colors, textures and tastes to add some excitement to your plate and also to take advantage of all the different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants available in the various veggies out there.
2. Fluid is also a key. Drinking 2 liters a day for women and 3 for men is optimal. Sometimes thirst disguises itself as the munchies or a humming hunger, so drinking water will help you to gauge whether you really are hungry or not. Water also aids in digestion and gives you energy, so all around it’s a win-win!
3. They heyday of the low fat diet is over. There is little evidence proving that low fat diets help with weight loss, and actually fat digests slower than carbs or protein, helping you to stay satisfied from your meals and snacks for longer. It can also add great flavors to your meals, upping the joy factor. Focus on healthy fats such as healthy oils (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil), avocado, nuts and small amounts of saturated fats.
4. Limiting carbs is currently recommended for a variety of diets for many reasons. Limiting carbs means getting more of your calories from protein and fat. These both have higher satiety value. Low carb diets reduce insulin levels, which in turn causes the kidneys to release some of the sodium and water from your body. Then you will start using your fat stores for energy and to burn up your fat.
5. Eat protein at each meal and many snacks. Your body can use about 20-30 grams of protein at a time so there is no need to eat more than about 4 oz. of a protein source at a meal. Protein helps you to maintain lean muscle mass and keeps you feeling satisfied after a meal or snack.
The right balance of fats, protein and carbs varies for each person depending on their history and nutritional goals, but in general, a diet that is high in vegetables, includes healthy fats, and about 30% protein is a good baseline for healthy eating and weight loss without any element of deprivation. The Tasteful Pantry can help with our customizable monthly boxes of wholesome snacks. Enjoy your food, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Lea Basch is a registered dietitian and has been in the nutrition industry for over 30 years, most of which she spent at Longmont United Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, where she was one of the founders of the facility’s nutrition program. Longmont’s Planetree philosophy of caring for the body, mind and spirit of patients is very much in line with Lea’s interest in both traditional and alternative therapies for treating chronic illnesses. Gluten-intolerant herself, Lea now focuses much of her time on the latest research and issues relating to gluten-free diets and other food intolerances. She is a diabetes educator and is a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. Lea’s lifelong passion has been combining the science of nutrition with the heart that it takes to change lifelong habits.
Lea received her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics at Florida International University and BA in Education at University of Florida. Ask Lea your nutrition questions at DearLea@tastefulpantry.com