The monotony of life: Wake, Eat, Work, Eat, Work Some More, Socialize (either from the confines of your minivan amidst the constant chatter of noisy kids, the drone of treadmills or perhaps a happy hour orchestrated to console your friend over their latest trauma), Eat, Unwind, Sleep. Repeat. So it's no surprise our eating habits stem from lack of time and the need for convenience. Often we don't even register the fact that what we are eating day in and day out could be sabotaging our health and contributing to a host of side effects, including weight gain, inflammation, reduced immunity and increased risk of cancer and disease. From sunrise to sunset, here are five common mistakes in the world of nutrition and how to fix them.
- Your breakfast choices inspire eternal hunger. Often the convenient and tasty choices for breakfast are the ones that will spike your hunger and cravings well into Jimmy Fallon's nighttime monologue. Step away from the bagel or bowl of cereal and opt for foods that are high in healthy fats and protein. This focus creates fill power and sustained energy so you can avoid that second breakfast or fourth cup of coffee around 10am. Think eggs & bacon, Greek yogurt with nuts & berries, an apple & nut butter.
- Your habits contribute to eating when you aren't even hungry. It's mid-morning and you have already put out a few fires and cleaned up your Inbox. You need a break. This means waltzing into the kitchen to grab a snack and catch your breath. But is this more out of habit than hunger? Often we lose the ability to register if we are hungry because we are so used to eating when the clock says to, instead of when our body does. Make it a habit to check in on your stomach status and if you aren't famished, choose a quick walk or refill your water glass instead of eating unnecessary calories.
- You eat in front of a screen. All day long. You are too busy to take time off for lunch and your late night TV time requires something salty and something sweet. Not only do we lack appreciation for the food we are eating when we are multi-tasking, but we likely don't even taste it. Worse, we also consume A LOT more than we would if we were to focus on the food instead of the screen. Americans are obsessed with food and yet we don't ever take the time to enjoy it. Shut it down and savor each bite.
- You drink your calories. Sip on this: one glass of orange juice, a grande caramel macchiato, lemonade with lunch and a margarita to end your day could mean you have consumed over 126g of sugar without even chewing. Considering sugar is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain and disease and the recommended daily intake of sugar is about 30g (AND we haven't even factored in the natural and added sugar of the foods you consume!), it's easy to see eliminating sugary drinks could help you manage your weight, vastly improve your diet and generally help you feel better. A lot better in fact.
- Your dinner focuses on the wrong dish. Pasta with a side of meatballs and salad. Rice with a side of chicken and sautéed veggies. This focus on simple carbohydrates instead of the healthy proteins and veggies means you will likely have to overeat to achieve fullness and not take in the kind of nutrients your body needs. Switch your focus to the protein and veggies and make your carbs an enjoyable side dish portion.