Hassle-Free Healthy Eating

Hassle-Free Healthy Eating

As an internist, I’m an advocate for eating healthy. The benefits for both mind and body are endless!

But sometimes, eating healthier can feel daunting. If you want to eat healthier, does that mean you have to start counting calories and measuring your daily intake rates for everything from sodium to sugar? While these aren’t bad ideas, they can be overwhelming for someone who’s simply wanting to take the first step. If you’re looking for simple ways to start eating healthier today, these tips are for you!

Use a Smaller Plate

Dr. Mandal, our pediatrician at Continuum, mentioned this in her blog about eating healthy during the holidays. If you look at the graphic below, doesn’t the black circle on the left look smaller?

Well, the two black circles are actually the same size! Our mind perceives food on plates the same way. Dr. Mandal says, “Your mind feels satisfied when it sees a full smaller plate as opposed to a partially filled large plate, even though the amount of food on each plate is the same.”  So next time you’re setting the dinner table, reach for the smaller plates.

Put the Treats Out of Reach

They weren’t kidding when they said “out of sight, out of mind.” Humans are creatures of convenience. Studies have shown that you’ll eat more when food is visible, like in a clear container or in an open container on the counter. If you cover that food up or put it in the pantry where you don’t see it every time you walk into the kitchen, you won’t mindlessly reach for a handful every time you walk by. If you have the willpower, stop keeping treats at home altogether, and allow yourself something sweet when you go out to eat.

Keep It Colorful

This is an easy rule to remember: the more colorful the food on your plate, the more nutrients you’re getting. Have you ever noticed that starches and grains are all the same color palette? They’re all a shade of brown, yellow, or white. Vegetables and fruit add lots of color to your plate and provide lots of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals for your body. If you’re worried about vegetables going bad in the fridge, get frozen veggies instead—they’re still full of the good stuff! Another quick tip? Eat your veggies first so you’re less likely to skip them because you filled up on something else.

Drink More Water

Everyone can benefit from drinking more H20. Did you know when you feel hungry, sometimes it’s actually a sign that you’re dehydrated and need more fluids? Since both hunger and thirst signals come from the same part of the brain, your body sometimes confuses them. Next time you hear your stomach gurgle, reach for a full glass of water and see if that does the trick. Also, you’re more likely to eat less when you drink a full glass of water with your meals, since water can help you feel full. Finally, drinking water boosts your metabolism and increases your body’s ability to burn fat. On the flip side, even mild cases of dehydration can slow your metabolism down by 3%.

If you have any questions about eating healthy, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Mai Sharaf, by calling 817-617-8650 or by scheduling online at continuumtx.com.