WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD, what you purchase and keep in your home will make a huge difference in how you eat. Yes, you may go out for take out or fancy desserts every once in a while, but the majority of what you eat will be based on what kind of food you have in the house.
For example, if you have microwave dinners, chips and pop you will most likely reach for those when you are moody, hungry or bored.
On the other hand, if you are fully stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, complex grains and nutritious snacks, you will have less cravings and desires. This is because the energy it would take to go out and get the less healthy foods will provide enough time to re-evaluate what your body really needs.
Feeling low in energy, tired, frustrated, moody and bored can all be confusing signals for your brain. Many times we turn to high calorie foods to trigger our dopamine receptors and get that instantaneous reward from food. This feels good in the moment, but is the exact thing that eventually causes the feelings of low energy, tiredness, bloating, discomfort, moodiness and more cravings.
Taking a few minutes to listen to your body and feed it nourishing foods to feel the best you can. This will result in more long-term happiness and well-being.
5 Shopping Hacks for a Healthier Life.
- Perimeter shopping with a list – Always walk the edges of the grocery store first to pick up your produce, meats, eggs, and milk. Carrying your grocery list, only go into the aisle for the exact items on your list. This way you avoid buying the chips, cookies and junk foods that you don’t really need.
- Never shop on an empty stomach – Shopping while you are hungry is the easiest way to over-shop and buy “junk”. Junk food are those things that satisfy your tastebuds without giving you much if any nutrition.
- Read your labels – When it comes to buying canned, boxed or prepared foods, check your labels carefully! Just because a product says, “Natural” or “No added sugar” or “No trans-fat”, doesn’t mean that they don’t include other harmful ingredients. Use a quick app such as Think Dirty or read this article for “The Truth Behind the 13 Most Feared Additives“.
- Shop on a dime, not on a nickle – Shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality of food. Focus on grocery store that have good quality meat on sale and get the rest of your produce from local markets or places that will price match.
- Focus shop for your local, organic and seasonal foods – When it comes to food, we would all like to be able to buy local and organic. You get to support your community and get the highest quality of nutrition with the least harm. Unfortunately, many people can’t afford to get all their groceries in this way. For me, I focus on the foods that have the potential to do the most harm, including the dirty dozen, meats, fish and seafood. Get high quality, organic and preferably local of these first and the rest of your produce, make sure to wash them thoroughly. The slightly lower nutritional value of the other produce doesn’t outweigh not eating more fruits and veg because you can’t afford it.
*And don't forget to bring your own shopping bags to limit plastic disposal and excessive waste.
5 Cooking Hacks for a Healthier Life.
- Batch cook = bulk buy – I like to batch cook on Sundays and freeze single serving meals for easy prep on those long days when you don’t feel like cooking. However, if this doesn’t work for you, buying in bulk can actually cost you more in the end. Most produce will go bad before you get a chance to use it, so I recommend only buying what you need on a day-to-day basis if you don’t batch cook. I like doing one big shop a week for my meats, grains and frozen goods, while more regular produce shopping at a local market.
- Food swap – You can also try a food swap with family members, neighbors and colleagues. Make a big batch of a meal and divide them into single servings to swap with others so that you are getting a variety of foods and flavors.
- Smoothies for days – I love smoothies and have one every day. When I make my smoothie, I also make 5-6 frozen baggies of the dried ingredients to freeze (ie. blueberries, avocado, spinach, kale, protein powder, flax seeds, green powders) so that when I’m ready to have my smoothie I just blend in my vegan milks and fish oil together. Read more about my favorite smoothies.
- Eat a green face diet – Each meal (including breakfast) should have at least 1 serving of greens, another vegetable and a protein (aka something that used to have a face… but it can be other lean protein sources too) to keep you energized, focused and feeling satisfied. Just remember “green face” if you aren’t sure if you should eat it. For example,
- Breakfast – eggs with avocado and a green shake
- Lunch – raw veggies, hummus and some nuts and seeds
- Dinner – mixed steamed veggies (kale, broccoli, onion, garlic), baked salmon and quinoa
- Always have healthy snacks on hand – This is a MUST. I always keep yummy and healthy snacks at home, the office and in my purse for times when I’m feeling munchie. When I don’t have these snacks on hand I tend to have cravings for “junk foods” that make me feel awful and provide no nutrition for my health.
- Water and teas (herbal and caffeinated) – often low energy is due to dehydration. My favorite is currently a ginger matcha green tea.
- Veggie sticks and dip – I live off of carrots, celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers with a hummus dip. I LOVE THEM.
- Nuts and seeds – especially focus on raw and unsalted almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. I throw in some cashews and golgi berries to add a bit of sweetness.
- Dried seaweed snacks – Yum and great for hypothyroid conditions.
- Smoothies – as seen in #3
- Rice crackers with nut butter spread – almond, cashew, hazelnut, natural peanut and sunflower butters are delicious. Add them to a rice cracker or veggie sticks and you’ve got a winner!
- Fresh fruits – cut them up into bite size pieces and you’ll likely eat more
- Yogurts and granola – if you are dairy sensitive, vegan yogurts are fantastic. I love almond and coconut yogurts best. Add a little unpasturized honey and granola…. mmmm good.
For more ideas of healthy and hypo-allergenic meals, download my free “Hypo-Allergenic Diet and Meal Plan” e-book.