7 Nutrition Dos & Don’ts
There are so many nutrition philosophies out there.
And you might be confused & frustrated by all the conflicting information.
We get it!
Here’s the truth: healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful.
We’ve been working with clients for almost two decades, and they tell us time & time again just how refreshing it is to finally discover a nutrition philosophy that is easy AND enjoyable to follow.
rather than running around in circles chasing another diet fad, why not try simplifying your approach?
Here are 7 common “Nutrition Don’ts” that we see women struggle with, and 7 “Dos” to swap them with:
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Don’t: Eat the same meals over & over.
- Even if you’re meals are healthful, rotating through the same few meals will leave you deficient in nutrients and make you more susceptible to foodborne illnesses.
- You’re also likely to get bored with your healthy eating routine and find yourself in a food rut.
Do: Eat a wide variety of healthful foods.
- A wider variety of foods will provide more diverse nutrients and will prevent you from getting bored.
- Try: Experimenting with different cuisines. Rotate different veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds each week.
Don’t: Let yourself get too hungry between meals.
- When you wait too long, ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is released, which stimulates appetite & can lead to overeating. Your blood sugar levels will also drop, causing cravings for high-carbohydrate, sugary foods.
Do: Eat every 2-3 hours.
- Stay satisfied all day and keep your blood sugar balanced with small meals & snacks: breakfast, am snack, lunch, pm snack, dinner.
- Try: Setting a timer or scheduling reminders on your phone to eat your meals & snacks.
Don’t: Eat portions that aren’t right for your body.
- Portions that are too small make you moody, fatigued, and more likely to overeat later.
- Portions that are too big can make you sluggish, give you brain fog, create acid reflux, and lead to weight gain.
Do: Listen to your body’s hunger & fullness signals.
- Eat when you’re slightly hungry and stop eating when you’re comfortably full. For example, to help our members learn to eat appropriate portions for their bodies, we teach them how to use the 80% Full Method.
- Try: Doing a quick body scan before you start eating to gauge your hunger level and checking in again every few bites until you feel comfortably full.
Don’t: Deny yourself all your favorite foods.
- We need to eat in ways that are both physically & psychologically satisfying. If we tell ourselves we can’t have treats, the cravings build up, and that leads to binging.
Do: Enjoy a couple of small treats each week.
- We encourage our members to plan two 100-calorie treats every week: sweets, salty, alcohol, or whatever they’re craving.
- When you allow yourself a couple of treats every week, you can enjoy them and then move on – and this leads to fewer calories overall and it’s easier to stay on track.
- Try: Planning your treats in advance and giving yourself full permission to enjoy them.
Don’t: Beat yourself up after overindulging.
- The shame & guilt only leads to a downward spiral that can keep you off track for days, weeks, or months.
- Trying to “make up” the calories by depriving yourself & skipping meals will backfire and make it difficult to stay consistent with healthy eating.
Do: Forgive yourself & move on.
- Just like we teach our members: healthy eating is not about one meal, one day, or one week. Focus on consistency, not perfection. And when you get off track, simply make the next best choice & keep going!
- Try: Taking a moment to reflect on what led to the slip up, and then get right back on track at your next meal or snack.
Don’t: Skip meal planning.
- If you don’t plan high-quality meals & snacks, you’ll likely get too few essential nutrients (& fiber) and too much sodium & sugar. (Total fiber should be at least 25 g per day and total sodium should be no more than 2300 mg per day.)
- Without a plan you’re also more likely to order take-out or eat foods that don’t support your goals.
Do: Plan high-nutrient meals & snacks.
- Include protein, healthy carbs & healthy fats in every meal & snack. (We follow the USDA dietary guidelines: carbohydrates 45-65%, protein 15-35% and fat 20-35%.)
- Eat a minimum of 5 servings of veggies & fruit per day.
- Try: When putting together your shopping list, add enough vegetables & fruit to include with every meal & snack. We recommend fruit with breakfast & morning snack, and veggies with lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.
Don’t: Obsess about counting calories.
- Meticulously counting all your calories is not the best use of your time or energy. Research shows that people who focus on portion sizes and satiety levels are just as successful at losing weight as those who count calories.
- Looking at calories when planning your treats can be helpful. But in general, the best way to get results is to focus on eating healthful food just until you’re about 80% full.
Do: Focus on the big picture.
- There’s so much more to your healthy food than the calorie count. When you focus on including high-nutrient foods (as mentioned in Do #6), you’ll naturally bring your overall calorie intake down. You’ll have less room to include low-nutrient, high-calorie foods, and it will be easier to keep your calories within a reasonable range.
- Try: Simplifying your approach by implementing the 7 Nutrition Dos we’ve shared with you in this blog post.