Back to Basics: 7 Tips for Eating Better

Normally on Wednesdays I write a post about my CSA box describing the food I received the previous week and what I made with it. It was our 5 year wedding anniversary last weekend, and my husband surprised me with a trip down the coast of Oregon and to Portland. It was a wonderful week and an amazing trip. Since I didn’t have the CSA box last week, I thought I would write about getting back to basics with eating habits.

It’s been an indulgent summer for me, and I expect that some of you have had a similar experience. Sure, there has been lots of good, fresh produce from our garden, Farmer’s Markets, and CSA box. There has also been a lot of summer treats. Ice cream, wine, cheese for the wine, chips, cocktails, doughnuts, wine (did I already say that?) have been regular features on the menu. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with these types of food, so long as they don’t comprise the majority of your diet. This summer, and last week in particular, I had more than my fair share. Looking ahead, I have a busy semester and full schedule this fall. With this in mind, it’s time to hit the reset button and get back to good habits.

Here’s what I’ll be focusing on:

Drink More Water
For me, drinking enough water is something that requires a concerted effort. Drinking a large glass first thing in the morning, adding lemon or cucumber slices, and carrying a reusable water bottle with me during the day helps me get enough. The amount of water that each person needs per day depends on various factors like diet and physical activity. Dietitians of Canada recommends a fluid intake of 3L for men over 19 years and 2.2L for women over 19 years. I use the pee test – if it’s clear or pale yellow I know I’m getting enough water.

Plan Ahead
I’ve been a bit lazy the last few weeks about meal planning, but I’m going to get back to doing it. I’m just too busy to leave it to the last minute, and eating well is too important to not make time for. (How does the saying go – food, shelter, and water?) When I plan our meals ahead of time, we save money, waste less food, and generally eat better. See my post here for tips on how to make your own weekly meal plan.

Start Your Day Strong
We have all heard it a million times before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s true, so don’t skip it. My favorite go-to breakfasts, which are quick and easy, include: smoothies, homemade granola or cereal with yogurt or cottage cheese, whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana, or homemade breakfast bars.

Snack Smart
I’m relearning the difference between a snack and a treat. A snack is to keep your energy levels up between meals (and not always needed). A cookie because you “feel like it” – that’s a treat. Veggie sticks and hummus, apple slices with almonds or cheese, and homemade trail mix are all good options. A cookie from time to time…that’s fine too.

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Half Your Plate
While I do eat a lot of vegetables, I think that there is always room for more. Some good advice for making sure that you get enough is to make sure that half of your plate is comprised of fruits and vegetables. In fact, Canada has an entire website dedicated to this concept. I like to add some spinach, kale, or other green to my breakfast smoothie or weekend brunch as a way of getting vegetables in the morning. Fruit for dessert is a great way to get your sweet fix. I like to freeze grapes, sliced peaches, and berries and eat them plain as freezing them makes them taste even sweeter.

Eat at the Dinner Table (When You Can)
During the week breakfast happens on the go, and lunch while working. That’s the way life goes and I am okay with that. When the weather is nice, we eat our dinners outside, but too often during the cooler months (like, most of the time) dinner gets eaten in front of the TV. As of now I’m setting a house rule: weekday dinners and weekend brunches MUST be eaten at the dining room table. Why? Because it’s guarantees some face time with the hubby, allows me to actually taste and enjoy my food, and prevents the mindless overeating that always happens when I’m tuned out of what’s going in my mouth and tuned in to the TV.

The Kitchen Closes After Dinner
Speaking of mindless eating. How is it that I can polish off an entire bag of chips during an episode of The Big Bang Theory? (Nerd alert). I’m going to follow the lead of the French and stop eating after dinner is over. Starting au demain.

Do you need to get back to better eating habits?ย  What challenges do you have?

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