February is nearly over, and it's time for a gentle reminder that all the promises you made to yourself at the start of the year to improve your diet still stand. Now is the perfect time to take stock and make sure you're on track to reach your goals. But, we are going to offer a slightly different perspective on this topic. By the end of this article, we hope we will be in agreement and you will be motivated enough to work towards fixing your negative eating habits.
Here’s the scoop - resolutions do not matter, habits do. This goes for everything, but more so for healthy eating.
Most people consider January the 1st to be the start of a brand new chapter. A total refresh - a clean slate - THE time of the year to start making directional changes in your life. Yet, we know what happens as a few weeks go by. We fall flat, hit a dead-end. While our health resolutions may be filled with good intentions, lack of discipline and self-sabotaging thoughts can prevent us from making them a reality.
We have a major misconception regarding results.
No one teaches us how to turn our resolutions into functional habits. Habits that will yield results. To make matters worse, the weight loss and diet programs that appear on our smartphones while we mindlessly scroll through them at night are often unrealistic and can further demotivate us.
Only a small fraction of people may actually honor their diet resolutions. There are two reasons for this: most resolutions are set in unrealistic expectations, making it difficult to achieve them, or they are vague (i.e. not target oriented). You may have planned to start eating more portions of veggies this year, but gave up two weeks in. This is because either the recipes got boring, you never considered alternatives, or you had no positive reinforcements in place to help you stick to your schedule. This is why resolutions without a proper plan to adopt healthier food choices means zilch.
It is important to understand why you are striving to accomplish the goal you’ve set out for yourself. Too often, people set goals based on what their peers are doing or what is socially accepted. It is important to focus on your own motivation and desires in order to make a goal that is meaningful and achievable.
For instance, if your goal is to start eating more plant-based foods, start asking yourself all the necessary “why-s".
The dialogue may go something like this:
“Why do I want to start eating plant-based foods?...because I want to stop consuming cholesterol”
“Why do I want to stop consuming cholesterol?...because I want to lose weight”
“Why do I want to lose weight?...so that I can lead an active lifestyle”
“What is your main motivation for being more physically active?...I suppose I have always wanted to take part in a marathon but never had the body for it..”
This is the power of intention. You can visualize how everything can fall into place. All of a sudeen, you’re far more motivated to fulfill your life-long dream of participating in a marathon. Intent helps supercharge your goals.
To reach your objective, it's time to take responsibility. This is when you take control and consciously create habits that will propel you towards success—prioritizing nutrients that will bring you closer to your desired outcome. After all, our results are a direct reflection of our food choices:
Drinks with added sugars are not only high in calories but can also have negative impacts on our health. Consuming excessive amounts of sugary drinks can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. However, the average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day, much of which comes from sugary drinks.
Alternatives to sugary drinks include healthy and tasty options such as water, unsweetened tea, sparkling water, and flavored water. For those who prefer more flavor, adding a slice of fruit to water or making homemade fruit-infused drinks are great options.
Fermented foods are packed with beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut and boost overall well-being. They can also improve digestion, immune function, and nutrient absorption. Popular fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt. However, the healthiest options are typically those that are naturally fermented without added sugars or preservatives. It's best to consume fermented foods at different times of the day, preferably with meals or as a snack.
Fish is an important part of a non-vegetarian's diet as it is a great source of high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential nutrients like vitamin D and selenium. Eating fish regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and depression, while also improving brain function and overall health.
However, the average American only eats about 1-2 servings of fish per week, which is less than the recommended 2-3 servings of non-mercury, non-fried fish per week. This is due to concerns over mercury contamination in fish and a preference for fried fish.
To maximize the nutritional benefits of fish while minimizing the risks, it's important to choose non-mercury, non-fried options like salmon, trout, and sardines. These types of fish are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Processed meat is bad for you because it contains high levels of salt, preservatives, and other additives that can have negative effects on your health. These meats, which include bacon, sausage, deli meat, and hot dogs, have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. The high levels of sodium and preservatives in processed meat can also lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Freshly cut meat, on the other hand, is a much healthier option. It contains fewer additives and is typically lower in sodium. Fresh meat is also a great source of protein, iron, and other essential nutrients that are important for overall health. By swapping highly processed meat for fresh ones, you can improve your health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Milk is not just for kids, it's a nutritious beverage that can benefit adults too. Milk is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein, which are essential nutrients for bone health, muscle function, and overall well-being. Drinking milk regularly can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in adults.
One of the perfect accompaniments for milk is whole grain cereals, which provides fiber and other nutrients.
Unfortunately, most Americans are not eating enough fruits, with only a small percentage meeting the daily recommended intake. This is a problem because fruits are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important for overall health. Not consuming enough fruits can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
Adding fruits to your mid-day snacks is a great way to increase your daily fruit intake. Fruits are a great replacement for unhealthy snacks because they are low in calories, high in fiber, and loaded with antioxidants. They also come in a wide variety of flavors and textures, making them versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet. Whether you prefer fresh fruit, dried fruit, or fruit smoothies, there are many ways to enjoy the health benefits of fruits.
Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet because they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are especially good for the digestive system, as they can help promote regularity and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Incorporating more vegetables into your dishes can also help you reduce your calorie intake, as they are low in calories and high in nutrients.
Vegetables can accentuate all dishes with their vibrant colors, textures, and flavors. To incorporate more vegetables into your meals, try adding them to soups, stews, casseroles, or stir-fries. You can also make veggie-based snacks like roasted cauliflower, kale chips or even veggie-based smoothies and juices.
Eating in front of the TV can be harmful to your health as it can lead to mindless eating. When you are distracted by the TV, you may not pay attention to how much you are eating, which can result in overeating and weight gain. Additionally, watching TV while eating can disrupt your digestion and lead to poor absorption of nutrients. To promote mindful eating and optimal digestion, it's best to eat at a table without any distractions.
Canned foods such as tuna, tomatoes, and beans are a convenient addition to a healthy diet. However, it's important to consider the potential health risks associated with the use of BPA, a chemical found in some cans to prevent metal corrosion. While the FDA maintains that there is insufficient evidence linking BPA to any negative health outcomes, some studies suggest that higher BPA levels may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
If you are concerned about potential health risks, it's best to choose foods that are stored in glass or aseptic paper-based boxes instead of cans.
Planning your meals in advance is a simple but effective way to maintain a healthy diet and reduce the risk of obesity. By taking the time to carefully consider what you will be eating throughout the week, you can make better food choices and avoid the temptation of unhealthy options.
Meal planning also helps to streamline the cooking process, making it easier to prepare nutritious meals that fit your lifestyle. Start by determining your meal preferences for the week and creating a comprehensive shopping list of the necessary ingredients. Once you have your ingredients, you can pre-prep them to help you quickly whip up healthy meals throughout the week.
Switching up your recipes is crucial for maintaining a healthy and well-rounded diet. Eating a wide variety of foods ensures that your body receives all the necessary nutrients to function optimally. Consuming the same foods repeatedly may lead to nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, which can increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and other health problems.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that can include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Incorporating a variety of foods into your diet can help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome by promoting healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels and maintaining a healthy weight.
Additionally, consuming a diverse range of foods can help prevent boredom and promote adherence to a healthy eating plan. Trying new recipes can be fun and exciting, and it can help you discover new favorite foods that you may not have tried otherwise.
Diet soda is often considered bad for you due to the artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar. These sweeteners have been linked to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, drinking diet soda has been associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia. The carbonation in soda can also contribute to dental erosion and stomach problems. Overall, while diet soda may be low in calories, it is not a healthy alternative to regular soda or other beverages.
Beef is a great source of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. However, some cuts of beef can be high in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Choosing leaner cuts of beef, such as sirloin, tenderloin, and round, can provide the same nutrients without the added saturated fat. These cuts of beef are also lower in calories, making them a healthier choice for those watching their weight or looking to reduce their risk of heart disease.
Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day because it helps jumpstart your metabolism and provides the necessary fuel for your body and brain to function optimally. Skipping breakfast can lead to low energy levels, poor concentration, and overeating later in the day. Additionally, studies have shown that breakfast consumption is associated with a lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Some healthy breakfast recipes include oatmeal with fruit and nuts, Greek yogurt with berries and granola, avocado toast with a poached egg, or a spinach and mushroom omelet with whole-grain toast. These options provide a balanced combination of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to help you feel full and energized throughout the morning.
Treating yourself to your favorite foods every once in a while is important for both your mental and physical well-being. Depriving yourself of the foods you love can lead to feelings of guilt or binge eating. However, it is important to practice moderation and portion control to avoid overeating.
To make your favorite foods healthier, consider swapping out some ingredients for healthier alternatives. For example, using whole-grain bread instead of white bread for a grilled cheese sandwich or substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream in a dip. Experimenting with spices and herbs can also add flavor without adding extra calories. Remember, healthy eating is all about balance and moderation.
The average American consumes more sodium per day than recommended, which can increase the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. The excessive consumption of processed and fast foods is a primary contributor to this problem.
Incorporating fresh herbs into recipes can also provide additional nutrients and health benefits. For example, basil is rich in vitamin K and has anti-inflammatory properties, while cilantro is a good source of vitamin C and may help lower cholesterol levels.
The speed at which you eat can have a significant impact on your appetite and weight. When you eat quickly, your brain may not have enough time to register that you are full, leading to overeating and weight gain. Hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite and metabolism, are also affected by the speed of eating.
Research has shown that eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly can help reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss. Chewing food slowly can also aid in digestion by breaking down food particles more effectively. Additionally, eating slower can promote mindfulness and enjoyment of food, leading to a more satisfying and enjoyable meal experience.
Whole grains are better than refined grains because they contain all parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, which provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been stripped of the bran and germ, removing many of these beneficial nutrients. Eating whole grains has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Whole grains can also help regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestive health.
Pre-planning before grocery shopping is essential to reduce impulse buying and ensure that you purchase the foods you need. Start by making a list of the items you need for the week, taking into account meals and snacks. Consider checking your pantry and fridge to see what you already have and what you need to restock.
To reduce impulse buying, consider shopping the outer ring of the grocery store first, where fresh produce, dairy, and meat are typically located. To shop enough for how much you need, consider portion sizes and serving sizes. Don't buy more than you can consume before they expire, especially for perishable items. And finally, stick to your list, and avoid purchasing items that aren't necessary.
Protein is often called the king of nutrients because it is essential for building and repairing tissues, making hormones and enzymes, and supporting a healthy immune system. It is also crucial for maintaining muscle mass and regulating appetite. Increasing protein intake can have numerous benefits, including promoting weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing metabolism, preserving muscle mass during weight loss, and improving bone health.
Protein's superpowers lie in its ability to provide essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Consuming a variety of protein sources, such as lean meats, beans, nuts, and dairy products, can help ensure you get all the amino acids you need for optimal health.
Drinking water can have a significant impact on appetite and weight maintenance. Staying hydrated can help reduce hunger and prevent overeating, as thirst can often be mistaken for hunger. Drinking water before meals can also help you feel fuller and eat less.
Additionally, staying hydrated can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing cravings for sugary foods. It is best to drink water throughout the day, but some research suggests that drinking water before meals can help reduce calorie intake. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, or more if you are physically active or in hot weather.
Baking or roasting food over grilling or frying can have several health benefits. First, it reduces the amount of added fat and calories that can come from frying or grilling with oil. Second, baking or roasting at lower temperatures can help preserve more of the food's nutrients. Finally, grilling and frying can produce harmful chemicals, such as acrylamide, which can form when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. By baking or roasting food, you can reduce the risk of exposing yourself to these harmful compounds.
Omega-3 and vitamin D are essential nutrients that many adults may not get enough of through their diet alone. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health, reducing inflammation, and supporting heart health, while vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, immune system function, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Supplementation can help ensure that you are getting enough of these essential nutrients, especially if you have limited sun exposure or dietary restrictions that make it difficult to consume enough through food sources. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
To find healthier restaurants to eat out, start by researching menus online before going out to eat. Look for restaurants that prioritize fresh, whole foods and have a variety of plant-based options. Many restaurants also now provide nutritional information on their menus, which can be a helpful tool in making healthier choices. Additionally, check out online reviews or ask friends for recommendations of restaurants that offer healthy, flavorful options.
Diet foods often use artificial sweeteners, flavors, and additives to compensate for lost flavor and texture. These ingredients can be misleading and may have negative health effects when consumed in large quantities. Additionally, diet foods may not be as filling as whole foods, leading to overeating and cravings. Choosing whole, minimally processed foods is often a better option for long-term health and weight management, as they provide more nutrients, fiber, and satiety.
The size of plates can affect how much food we consume. Studies have shown that using smaller plates can lead to consuming less food overall. This is because the same amount of food looks like more when placed on a smaller plate, which can trick our brains into thinking we are eating more than we actually are. Additionally, using smaller plates can help us practice portion control and avoid overeating by limiting the amount of food we can physically fit on the plate.
Healthy eating cues can help individuals stay motivated by reminding them of their goals and reinforcing healthy habits. Examples of healthy eating cues include keeping a food journal, surrounding yourself with healthy food options at home and work, setting specific meal times, and planning meals in advance. Other cues may include setting reminders on your phone, joining a healthy eating challenge or support group, and finding a healthy eating buddy to share meals with. By using these cues, individuals can stay on track and make healthy eating a consistent part of their lifestyle.
From a user perspective, packing healthy foods in bigger packages or boxes and unhealthy foods in smaller packages can help promote healthier eating habits by making it easier to consume appropriate portion sizes. When healthy foods are packaged in larger sizes, it can be more convenient to share with others and can help avoid the temptation to overeat. Conversely, packaging unhealthy foods in smaller sizes can help promote self-control and discourage overconsumption. This approach can support individuals in making healthier choices and managing their calorie intake, which can ultimately lead to improved health outcomes.
Changing negative self-talk from "I can't" to "I don't" when it comes to certain food items can help shift our mindset and ultimately support healthy eating habits. Saying "I can't" can create a feeling of deprivation and limit our choices, leading to feelings of resentment or rebellion. On the other hand, saying "I don't" empowers us to make a conscious choice that aligns with our values and goals, promoting a sense of control and commitment to healthy habits.
Cooking at home more often can have numerous benefits for your health and wallet. By preparing your own meals, you gain greater control over the ingredients used and can avoid excess salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. It can also be more affordable than eating out or buying pre-packaged meals. Leftovers can be used for future meals, reducing food waste and saving you time and money. Additionally, cooking at home allows you to be creative in the kitchen, trying out new recipes and experimenting with different flavor combinations to enhance the overall quality of your diet.
Now, we understand that these tips may seem overwhelming at first, not to mention the added stress of cooking. With busy work schedules, kids to take care of, and other chores in and around the house, cooking at home becomes extremely challenging.
Keeping these issues in mind, we at Nymble wanted to build something that makes healthy eating entirely effortless. We made a product that will not only autonomously take care of your cooking, but also leave room for YOU to design your own meal plans. Echoing some of the tips we mentioned earlier, such as, portioning your food, cooking as per your preferred style, picking ingredients of your choice, customizing recipes based on your health goals, exploring healthy recipes across cuisines - Nymble does all of this, and then some more.
Nymble is a fully automated end-to-end cooking robot that can cook 500+ recipes, but most importantly, it is your own diet coach. It will study your eating habits, measure your goals, provide detailed nutritional breakdown of all recipes and suggest the ones that work best for you. And, all you have to do is select the recipe, load ingredients in its compartments and lay back till your food is ready to be served.
Trust us, this is only a small preview! To learn more about our nifty robot chef, visit here.
Here’s what Nymble users have to say about their private chefs:
Video Note - 'Nymble', the kitchen robot, was previously known as 'Julia'.
You may also sign up for a virtual or an in-person demo to watch Nymble in action and taste some robot-cooked goodness.