It’s just shy of three weeks into the new year and for many of us, our commitments to the resolutions we set less than a month ago are already beginning to fade.
Worry not! Help is here.
You may recall my recent post, 10 Expert Tips for Sticking to Your Fitness Resolutions, in which fitness and health guru and my dear friend, Debra Devincenzi of DevBody, gave us helpful tips for keeping us fit and active in 2015.
This time I asked Debra if she would share some of her tips for the other very popular New Year’s Resolution: eating healthier.
Debra, who has a killer figure, stays fit and trim at 57-years-old. I just knew she would have useful information we could all use.
Here are 10 Expert Tips for Sticking to Your Healthy Eating Resolutions:
#1 Never Give Up on Delicious:
Debra always eat foods she enjoys and says, “Just because mustard greens are healthy, it doesn’t mean you have to eat them if they don’t appeal to you. Find healthy and nutritious foods you love and learn to prepare them in delicious ways that don’t add too many calories. Seasonings, spices and vegetables like onions and garlic are your friends!”
#2 Prepare Your Favorite Healthy Dishes in Advance:
Debra know it’s hard enough making changes to your diet. She advises not compounding the challenge by being ill-prepared. Often it’s the processed, high-calorie foods we reach for when we’re not prepared. She suggests finding a few healthy dishes that you enjoy and make them in advance. It’s even better if the dish is versatile and can be made into other dishes. For example, Debra always has her special homemade Devbody Super Low Calorie Vegetable Soup on hand to use as a base for other meals. She adds things like cubed cooked chicken breast, a little parmesan cheese, some Cannellini beans, or a dollop of Greek yogurt to change things up. Debra spends every Sunday making a big batch for the week. See below for recipe.
Debra suggests keeping portioned, pre-packaged nuts on hand to save you from hitting the drive-thru or vistiing the vending machine when a snack attack hits. Nuts are satisfying, nutritious and convenient. Buy small baggies and fill with an ounce of healthy nuts like raw almonds, roasted pepitas, sunflower seeds or walnuts – or a mix of your choosing. Keep them in your car, your purse and your gym bag when you need a quick snack.
#4 Practice Hara Hachi Bu:
Hara Hachi Bu is a Japanese teaching that recommends eating only until you are 80% full. This will require that you pay close attention to your level of fullness and satiation, something many of us aren’t so great at (including me). Slow down, savor your food and stop eating well before you are 100% stuffed!
#5 Choose the Best Quality Food You Can Afford:
Debra says, “Instead of buying a huge steak of questionable quality on sale for $12, why not take that same $12 and buy a small piece of grass fed filet mignon or a lovely piece of fresh wild salmon? The idea is to never feel deprived while eating healthy. Fill up on healthy vegetables and treat your small piece of protein as a delectable side dish!”
#6 Pick Your Poison:
What’s your “thing”? That food or drink that is your weakness, your special treat. Is it chocolate candy? French bread? Ice cream? We know those things aren’t really poisonous, some are actually healthy. But too many treats can interfere with sticking to a healthy way of eating. For Debra, her poison is a nice glass of wine. She makes allowances in her day – whether it’s a few more minutes of extra exercise, smaller portions or more fresh veggies – to enjoy a little wine in the evenings.
#7 You Are Not a Garbage Disposal:
So many of us were raised to clean our plates by eating everything on them. Debra wants us to break ourselves of this habit. She says to start with serving smaller portions. And if you have had your fill (see #4) and there’s still food left, toss it. Put it in a compost if you don’t like to waste scraps. It’s better off there than on your waistline.
#8 “Don’t Eat Anything Your Great-grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize as Food”:
Processed foods, prepackaged foods, foods with dozens of undecipherable chemicals on the label, Frankenfoods – Debra has two words for all that stuff: Stay away!
#9 Get to Know What Hungry Feels Like:
Debra says learning to differentiate between mindlessly eating because you’re stressed, bored, sad, happy, etc. and eating because you are truly hungry is important. While you don’t want to let yourself get to the point of being ravenous, you do want to train yourself to know when it’s really hunger being triggered, not something else.
#10 Lose the Diet Drinks, Drink More Water and Tea:
Every healthy eating plan involves drinking more water and much less or no soda. If you are a diet soda drinker, start cutting back by substituting teas, still water with cucumber and mint, and mineral waters with lemon or lime. Up your water intake if you think you’re not drinking enough. Debra drinks 4 16-ounce bottles of water a day. She fills reusable glass bottles the night before with water and adds a tea bag or a lemon wedge for flavor.
Debra makes this soup regularly and often calls it her “Negative Calorie Soup” because the calorie count it is so low, it hardly makes an impact. It’s delicious, full of nutrients and fiber, budget-friendly and it’s versatile!
Devbody’s Super Low Calorie Vegetable Soup
2 quarts chicken broth
1 to 2 cans of ready-cut or crushed tomatoes
Non- starchy veggies, any you desire such as:
Approximately 3 carrots, one bunch of Swiss chard, 3 celery ribs, 3 cloves garlic, 2 small onions, a small bunch of parsley, 2 medium rutabagas, 3 medium zucchini, ½ head of cabbage, 1 bell pepper, 2 cups mushrooms, 1 bunch green beans, 1 leek, 1 head of broccoli.
Heat broth and tomatoes on high in a stock pot while prepping the veggies.
Finely chop veggies in food processor or slice veggies such as green beans, leeks or mushrooms then add to heating broth.
Season soup with salt and pepper and Italian seasonings to taste.
Bring the entire pot to boil then turn down heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Let soup cool before putting into storage containers and refrigerate or freeze for future enjoyment.
Make a large pot and store smaller portions in freezer-safe containers for added convenience and freshness. It’s the perfect appetizer to any meal, it fills you up, provides lots of nutrition and hydration!
And if you’re also working on your fitness resolutions, you may want to read Debra’s 10 Expert Tips for Sticking to Your Fitness Resolutions!
You may contact Debra directly via her website, Devbody.
Also, visit Debra’s Devbody Facebook page and get her daily exercise prescriptions. They are fun and effective!
Do you have any of your own tips for sticking to your healthy eating resolutions?
Make it a rich day!