One of the most important aspects of your weight loss journey is to limit processed foods in your daily diet. By incorporating some easy to follow lifestyle guidelines, your body should notice a definitive difference within just a few days resulting in higher energy levels, less afternoon slump and improved sleep–all while reducing your calorie intake and moving away from saturated fats and simple carbs.
Here are the top 10 Prevention Generation recommendations to work into your weight loss plan as you ditch processed foods:
By taking this simple step, you will increase fiber, antioxidants & the overall feeling of being full. Start out easy. Add fruit to your morning, mid-day, or evening snack, or even better, in place of your snack. Make it a goal to add one vegetable to each meal – chopped spinach in your omelet, or roasted vegetables with lunch and/or steamed vegetables at dinner.
Ditch artificial flavoring
Flavor your water or beverages the natural way. Soak oranges, lemons, & cucumbers in your water overnight for a naturally high-in-vitamins flavored water. Use real sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup rather than artificial sugars.
Put in the prep work
Unfortunately, whole, natural, energy-giving foods are not going to magically appear in your lunch bag. Take the time to prepare meals (enough for leftovers) ahead of time, pack snacks to leave at work for the week (a bag of apples, jar of almond butter, bag of trail mix) and compile a few new healthy recipes for dinner for the week ahead.
Keep Healthy Handy
Nut butters, fruit and nut bars such as Lara and KIND bars, nuts, trail mix, and beef jerky just to name a few. What’s worse than working late, then showing up to the gym in starvation mode? It’s not an optimum way to end your day, mentally or physically. Be well prepared for the day ahead of you, whether it’s a busy day at work, meeting up with old friends over the weekend, or just a day at the gym.
Most of the processed foods we crave are salty, sweet or greasy. When you feel the urge, grab a tall glass of water, add some lemon, lime or another fruit for flavor, and drink the entire thing. When you are done, drink one more. Then, look at those “not good for you” processed foods–they won’t look nearly as tasty.
Scope out the Menu
When you know you are heading out to dinner or getting take-out/delivery, get online and find the restaurant’s menu and really pay attention to what they offer. Take a look through prior to heading out or ordering, and pick the items that fit in your plan.
Find the Good Stuff
Do a search for some of your favorite meals—in health apps, Pinterest, or even your favorite celeb chef’s website. Find some recipes with easy to follow instruction, follow other people’s boards & pins that have similar interests in choosing and preparing whole foods, and start cooking. You will be sure to find plenty of fun and easy ways to make your favorite meals more nutrient dense! (TIP, using zucchini noodles in place of pasta, or using high protein chickpea pasta in place of regular pasta are both great ways to improve upon tried and true recipes).
Get Rid of the Bad Stuff
Take a good look at what you already have in stock in the pantry. If many items have a long list of unfamiliar ingredients, it may be time to ditch them. If it feels a bit too overwhelming to discard most of your pantry at one time, then you may prefer to just start small by replacing snacks . Eventually, you can replace additional items such as salad dressings, cereals, desserts, etc.
Set a Grocery List
Make a grocery list & stick to it – but don’t go in hungry! One of the worst things you can do on your journey is to go shopping for groceries on an empty stomach. Start with shopping the perimeter of the store where the healthier items are usually stocked, and then go to the inner aisles for items like olive oil, nuts, etc.
Go Healthy Before You Go Out
Eat a small (healthy) snack before social events. Not everyone is going to support a healthy lifestyle, so plan accordingly. Similar to grocery shopping, don’t go to an event on an empty stomach and hungry when there could be all kinds of tempting and unhealthy foods prepared, or worse, no food at all!
Stay healthy Prevention Generation, and walk away from those processed foods!
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