By Jill Coleman RN

Here are some tips and tricks to help you incorporate better eating habits.

Nothing replaces the benefits of whole, unprocessed organic food with all the nutrients, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals our body needs to stay healthy. These are the ‘genuine replacement parts’ the body needs to rebuild and repair.

1. Eat twice as many fresh organic vegetables than fruits, and eat organic meats (grass fed if available) as much as possible. Organic produce has 70% more nutrients than conventional because organic farmers can’t use chemical fertilizers, and the rich organic fertilizers have more nutrients to give the plant. It all starts in the soil!

2. If it is in a package or can, look at the back label:
a. The longer the list of ingredients, the more chemicals, additives and fake food.
b. Instead of enriched white flour, look for whole grain sprouted wheat for example. Anything enriched just means that the nutrients have been taken out to prolong shelf life and synthetic chemical vitamins are added to mimic nutrition.
c. Instead of hydrogenated oils, look for butter, olive oil or coconut oil. This is real food and the body knows what to do with it.
d. Don’t just look at the calorie content. It is more about quality then quantity. Look at the fiber to carb ratio. If the fiber to carb content is less then 2:10, it is not worth your money if you want to eat healthier. In other words, if there is 10 grams of carbohydrates, there should be a minimum of 2 grams of fiber. Usually if the fiber to carb content is 3 to10 or at least 3 grams per serving, chances are the rest of the label will be ok as well. Fiber costs more, so many producers leave it out and put fillers in that are often from bio-engineered soy. 7 Fiber off sets sugar and keeps it from being released into the blood stream too fast, and therefore decreases sugar cravings. 3 The Carbohydrate content is actually more accurate than the sugar content because it lets you know how much of that food will be converted to sugar once digested.4

3. Prepare healthy meals ahead of time and freeze them. Then heat them up when you get home.

4. Never go shopping when you are hungry. You will buy more junk foods.

5. Keep it simple; If it’s packaged, read the baggage. If it’s fresh and whole eat until you’re full.

6. Make home-made salad dressings with flax seed oil instead of olive or sesame. You increase the omega 3 oils in your diet. Just keep it refrigerated and don’t heat it.

7. When going out to dinner, order salad instead of soup and replace the bread, rice or potato with extra vegetables. Eat all the protein you wish but make sure it is baked instead of fried and not breaded.

8. At home, make meals from whole fresh ingredients instead of out of a box. It will taste better and be much more nutritious.

9. Variety is key. Eat different vegetables and fruits. Change it up once in a while so you get a good mix of different nutrients and minerals every day. If you don’t enjoy vegetables on their own, mix them in an omelet, in meat loaf, or eat more salads. Adding vegetables like zucchini, spinach, onions and garlic to recipes is a great way to increase nutrition. Salads are the easiest way to get fresh raw greens, and all the vitamins and enzymes they contain.

10. Take time to eat slower. Chew your food and really taste what you are eating. Notice the different flavor combinations and how they make you feel. Eating slowly and thoroughly chewing your food improves digestion and you are less likely to go back for seconds.

11. Instead of desert, have some fresh fruit.

Your taste buds replace themselves every 2-3 weeks, so if you can actually train your ‘buds’ to like healthy foods.

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