Healthy Eating Tips

Dear Friends,

Following is one of the appendices in the 2-Minute Office Workout regarding 11 tips for healthy eating:

  1. Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks. This may be a challenge for you, but sugary beverages are your biggest enemies.  Added sugar, such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and honey, add way to many calories and pack on the fat in places you don’t want it to be.  They should be avoided as much as possible.  The problem that Americans have is that almost all processed food and drinks contain sugar.  Why?  So they will taste good and you will buy more, not for any nutritive value.  Instead of sugary drinks put a little more water in your diet.  Water is, by far, the best thing for you.  As a matter of fact, as soon as you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water to get started on the right track.  Also, try decaf herbal teas for variety; of course, without added sugar!
  2. Keep fresh fruit in your home at all times. This one is a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.  Fresh fruit is a great snacking item, far better than potato chips, dipsy-doodles or whatever else you may be craving.  Plus fruit can be eaten in the car when you’re running late for a meeting and you just gotta put something in your belly.  Oh, did I forget to mention the vitamins and nutrients?  You can’t beat fresh fruit for that.  And don’t worry about the sugar content of fruit.  Fruit has a lot of fiber to counter the sugar.
  3. Eat a large raw salad every day. There are arguments coming from every direction, but the bottom line is that raw food is the best food, and eating a salad is the best way to consume raw food.  When I say “salad” I actually mean nothing mass produced, factory processed or animal based.  No croutons, no bacon bits, no meat, no fish, no chicken, no eggs, no cheese.  If you have to ask if you may put something exotic in your salad, the answer is most likely no.  What you want are all raw veggies which are filled with vitamins, nutrients and fiber, just as nature intended.  For salad dressing I recommend a little olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
  4. Eat before you leave home. It’s never a great idea to leave home hungry.  Doing so makes you a prime target for the fast food manufacturers.  When you stomach is growling you will oftentimes succumb to the charms of the advertisers.  They may proclaim to serve healthy foods, but we both know better than that.  Therefore, eat before you go out.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stuffed myself with salad before leaving home.  Also, before going out to catered events, or even out to dinner with friends, eat a little something at home.  You will be less susceptible to fattening and toxic hors d’oeuvres that are shoved in your face every few minutes or so.  You will also be less likely to stuff yourself with fattening desserts at the end of the evening.
  5. Steam, steam, steam. It’s time to start steaming veggies if you haven’t been doing so already.  Steaming is the best way to cook and preserve the nutrients in your veggies—and it’s quick and easy!  Then add a little sauce and you’re on your way to gastronomic bliss.  And guess what?  Steaming veggies at home is much quicker than going out, picking up some food, and coming back home.  You can chop and steam them in less than ten minutes.  Of course, you may want particular veggies for specific needs, but any veggie will do.  Personally, I keep broccoli, cabbage and onions in stock at all times for a quick and nutritious meal.
  6. Eat nuts, nuts and more nuts. This one may sound counterintuitive because nuts contain fat, but go for it!  However, make sure you’re eating raw nuts.  When they are roasted and salted and sugared and coated it just creates problem after problem; but raw nuts have healthy fat and nutrients your body just loves to soak up.  Contrary to popular belief, you need some fat in your diet to be healthy—it just has to be good fat.
  7. Frequent your local Chinese restaurant. Imagine driving home late at night, after a hard day at work, with absolutely no desire to cook once you walk in the front door.  Fast food establishments abound, but you want something inexpensive and healthy to eat.  Unfortunately there’s nothing to satisfy you.  Not true!  There may be a handful of Chinese restaurants, open late, which serve steamed vegetables at a very reasonable price.  As a matter of fact, most Asian restaurants are light years ahead of American establishments when it comes to serving veggies.  Every time I go to one there always seems to be a vegetarian section on their menus.  However, I suggest putting your own sauce on the steamed veggies once you get home.  A lot of condiments are rife with preservatives, sugar and salt.
  8. If you don’t like the menu, change it. Since you’re adopting some new eating habits, when you go out with friends you may feel a little awkward when it’s time to order.  You want to stick to your dietary discipline, but everybody else is gormandizing on addictive and toxic food—and luvin’ it.  There’s nothing on the menu especially for you, so whaddaya do?  Ask the chef for a special order!  I have so many clients who bemoan, “They didn’t have anything healthy on the menu—I had no choice, I had to eat it!”  But that ain’t so.  Many chefs would love to cater to your specific needs.  It gives them something different to do and adds spice to their day.  Oftentimes, before going out, I’ll call the restaurant and prep the staff for my arrival, then I’m treated like royalty when I arrive.  This certainly won’t work at fast food joints and your options may be restricted at some of the higher end chain restaurants.  However, at restaurants where the food is actually made to order, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover how many chefs across the world really care about what goes in your belly!
  9. Cook for the week. The most effective way to have quick meals during a hectic week is to cook for the week.  Make big meals during the weekend when you’re relaxed and pack them away for the weekdays.  Yeah, I know, there have been some negative reports about the use of microwaves to warm up your goodies.  If that is a concern, use a hotplate or stove to do the job.  Something tells me you’ll find leftovers are simply delightful!
  10. Soup is king. So you’re interesting in more protein?  Bean soups are right up your alley.  They are loaded with protein and other nutrients.  For quick preparation I recommend lentils and split peas, which don’t have to be soaked prior to cooking.  Toss some chopped veggies in the pot, use your imagination and throw in some spices and you’re ready to go.  Just make sure to prepare a big pot so you have enough to last for a few days!
  11. Get your family involved. This one may be difficult, so you may have to be a little wily about how you approach it.  What I don’t recommend is establishing a dictatorial family policy that everyone is going to eat healthy.  In your quest to do what is in everyone’s best interest you may incite a revolt!  What I do suggest is that you throw in a healthy dinner, two or three times a week, without telling the rest of the family.  If they don’t know what is coming there’s nothing for them to resist.  I’d bet you can slip in a soup and salad night, every so often, and no one would notice.  Then slip in a steamed veggie night, add a little quinoa and spice it up with exotic sauces from around the world.    Before you know it you’ll have them begging for more!

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