Planning for long-term health
- What’s my motivation? When choosing between healthy and less healthy options for a meal, think about the direct benefits of eating the healthy option. For example, if deciding between a pastry or a healthy omelet for breakfast, focus on the benefits derived from the omelet—avoiding an energy crash or distracting hunger before lunch.
- Nutrient-dense vs. energy-dense. Rather than regarding foods as good or bad, think of them as more or less beneficial. Aim to eat 80% of calories from nutrient-dense foods high in vitamins, minerals, lean protein, and healthy fats. Then 20% can come from less beneficial energy-dense foods, such protein bars, energy drinks and snacks with added sugar.
- Know when to stop. The body sends the brain a signal when it has had enough to eat. This signal doesn’t work well in some people, who need to train themselves to notice when they are full. Eating foods that make one feel full longer—fish, avocado, steel-cut oatmeal—helps the body get accustomed to feeling satisfied. In contrast, nutrient-poor carbohydrates—bagels, pasta, white bread—are more likely to cause hunger pangs.
- Eat mindfully. Listen to the body. Eat when you are hungry and don’t wait until you are starving. Chew slowly, noticing how the body reacts. Stop eating when full, even if food remains on the plate. Pay attention to the difference between hunger (the body needs food) and cravings (short-lived desires unrelated to physical hunger). Stay hydrated by drinking 48 to 64 ounces of water a day so the body doesn’t mistake dehydration for hunger.
Recipes for healthy eating
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