Eating healthy doesn’t have to be so complicated! And “eating right” was never intended to be linked to bland beige or boring plates. On the contrary, it’s a huge opportunity to explore flavor options and try new foods. Take advantage of the new season and use these simple tips to enjoy the tastes of eating right.
- Eat the rainbow. Eating a variety of foods from each of the colors of the rainbow offers an exciting palate of spicy and sweet flavors, not to mention health benefits. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple even white and brown create an interesting choice of food options. Colorful super-foods like pomegranate, kale, dark cherries and quinoa are loaded with antioxidants, which fight disease, aid in anti-inflammation and support a healthy heart. Set a small goal every day to include one fruit and one vegetable from a different color or plan your meals to be as colorful as possible. The more colorful the meal, the more likely you are to enjoy it.
- Spring has sprung, so eat up! One of the easiest ways to take advantage of the new season is to find the foods in season at their ripest. Some of my favorites coming into season now are artichokes, asparagus, cabbage, leafy greens (kale, collards and mustards) and soon enough it’ll be strawberry season! Take the family on a trip to a local farmers market to try fruits and veggies at their freshest. You’ll discover new foods to try and add to your meals. Keeping the kids involved helps foster new relationships with healthy eating.
- Moderation versus elimination. Most people associate ‘living better’ or ‘eating right’ with sucking all of the fun out of life and food. You can still be healthy and enjoy the foods you love, with a little moderation and the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 principle suggests that 80% of the time, we are eating healthy, balanced nutritious meals, and the other 20%, we allow ourselves to enjoy favorites such as pizza, wings, ice cream or cupcakes in moderation. It’s a learned discipline, but once you introduce your mind and body to how amazing it feels, you recognize the guilt-free pleasure foods like a slice of cake or a Coke Mini as moderated options rather than overwhelming indulgences.
- Get set to spring clean! Now is also a great time to think about spring cleaning your kitchen. Take an inventory of your kitchen and create a system that supports your efforts. Stock the fridge, freezer and pantry with your go-to options. This may take a little prep work and grocery shopping, but most of the prep takes less than 5 minutes. The cash and the calories you’ll save will far outweigh the time and cost. Keep containers or bags of snackables like grapes, chopped veggies like celery or carrot sticks, part skim cheese sticks and grab-and-go beverages like Odwalla natural juices or superfood smoothies. Having these items available to grab on your way out the door or stash in your office desk drawer or fridge will ward off the 3 oclock vending machine run.
Your nutrition goals should always be centered on finding the opportunities to enjoy eating healthy.
Amia Freeman is the founder and owner of inneractive FITCLUB, a faith based fitness organization that is actively involved in developing community health and wellness initiatives throughout the Atlanta area. As a wife and mother of three, her mission is to help clients realize their potential in order to be victorious in their daily lives. Her certifications include Group Fitness, Pre/Post Natal Fitness, Strength Training for Women and Personal Trainer. Amia is also a consultant to the food and beverage industry, including The Coca-Cola Company, though the opinions expressed are her own. Amia has more than ten years of experience, including being featured as a fitness consultant and guest speaker on a variety of nationally broadcasted shows, websites, print publications and forums including the Food Network, Radio One, and Oxygen Magazine's website.