It’s the busiest time of the year at the gym, and for good reason: at least 38% of you have made a Resolution to lose weight, or get healthier in this New Year. While the gym-frequenting can die out relatively quickly as the year progresses, instilling daily healthy eating habits is an easy change you can make to help you stick with your resolution (and trust us, your body will thank you for it!). Rather than going on quick diets that end up fizzling out as quickly as your gym trips, make a few changes to the ingredients you ingest daily for changes that will make you feel better inside and out.
White vs Wheat
Both white and whole wheat breads are made from the same Wheat Berry (pictured above), however whole wheat bread incorporates all three parts of the kernel (germ, endosperm, and bran), while white bread only uses the endosperm. The omition of the germ and bran make the whole wheat higher in vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and most importantly, fiber. Fiber can lower cholesterol, improve digestion, and help you lose weight by making you feel fuller longer.
Along with these nutrient advantages, your blood sugar is also affected very differently. Once ingested, carbohydrates break down into glucose (a simple sugar) that enters your bloodstream to provide fuel. How quickly they break down is measured on the glycemic index (GI). The higher the GI, the quicker the break down, the quicker your blood sugar spikes (and subsequently, crashes). The lower the GI, the the more slowly the foods are absorbed, the longer your blood sugar is regulated. Whole wheat bread has a GI that is roughly 30% less than white bread.
But be on the lookout. Although the packaging may say “wheat” and the product looks brown in color, coloring agents can be the culprit. Be sure “whole grain” or “whole wheat” is listed first in the ingredients list.
Eat Your Greens
Not only are greens low in fat and calories, they have TONS of health benefits. A good rule of thumb: the greener, the more nutrient packed.
- Chlorophyll: delivers oxygen to cells and neutralizes free radical damage to cells (it is also a natural deodorizer from the inside out!)
- Alkalizing: helps you keep a healthy pH balance
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: lowers bad cholesterol
- Antioxidants: protects the body from past environmental and food damage
- Beta-Carotene: help with growth and repair of body tissue
- Vitamin C: aids in production of collagen (a big component in cartilage)
Among many other things!
Stick to Lean Proteins
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or full-on meat eater, it’s important to be mindful of the protein you’re putting in your body. Protein is a vital part of our lives, as it is one of the three nutrients that gives us energy (the other two are carbohydrates and fats). Fat is the most energy dense out of the three, packing 9 calories into each gram, while proteins and carbohydrates have only 4 (less than half the amount in fat). The leaner your protein source, the higher the ratio of pure protein to fat.
Good lean sources of protein: fish, eggs, skinless chicken and turkey (the skin itself isn’t bad, it’s the fat and juices that cooks into the skin that becomes unhealthy), pork tenderloin, beef brisket, skim and low fat milk products (such as ricotta or yogurt), quinoa, buckwheat, soy products (tofu, tempeh, edamame), beans, seeds, whole grains, and nuts.