March Tips: Mindfulness and sleep for your nutrition goals
Did you know that it's National Nutrition month? What better way to celebrate than with some physical, mental and nutritional tips?!
Get enough sleep
We all know sleep is important for energy levels, mental clarity, recovery, etc-- but did you know that it’s also important in weight loss, particularly for healthy eating?
Studies have shown that sleep-deprivation is strongly associated with an increased caloric intake, poorer food choices (i.e. less fruits and veggies and more take-out), a metabolism slow-down and hunger hormone disruption (re: ghrelin and leptin)
Bottom line, if you’ve been struggling to fight those cravings or are experiencing a plateau, take a look at your sleep schedule to make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep.
Mindful eating: Put your fork down in between bites
Putting down the utensil in between bites does two things:
Slows down your consumption. Your body’s satiety signal can take a little bit (about 20min) to kick in-- which means the faster you eat, the more you can eat before your body tells you to stop. This can lead to the uncomfortable “stuffed” feeling, and, for some, guilt.
Allows you to actually experience the food. This can help you actually enjoy what you’re eating, and can promote positive vibes around healthy food as you equate the taste and resulting feeling with the foods. Even in things like sweets, taking time to notice the tastes, texture, etc of a chocolate will leave you much more satisfied and happy with your decision to indulge than just stuffing it in your mouth.
And we’re sure you noticed it too: when you’re craving comfort food, you opt for items that have made you feel good in the past. Then you’ve probably noticed that if you’re eating these comfort foods while busy doing something else, you eat a lot more of it without that same satisfaction.
So, do your waistline and your emotional state a favour, take your time to ENJOY your food!
Don’t deprive, modify
When people embark on their healthy eating journey (or try a “diet”), they often complain of feeling deprived from their favourite sweet and savoury foods.
Now, we wholeheartedly believe that eating should be a pleasurable experience, which is why we are always trying new recipes in the kitchen. Any fancy diet- no matter how many pounds it helps you lose- is not sustainable if you do not enjoy it or feel good and energized while eating with it. Moreover, we also believe that if people are able to keep up their new-found habits for long enough, they’ll realize that the whole, unprocessed foods actually make them feel really great--- and they’ll soon feel “deprived” of fruits and veggies when something like a vacation makes getting the good stuff more difficult.
So, what do you do?
We propose that instead of going cold turkey from your favourite eats, modify them. Some examples:
Craving chocolate? Opt for 75% or higher dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has less sugar and fillings, and has more antioxidants and nutrients, like iron, since it contains more cocoa.
Love cheese and crackers? [Looking at you Darlene :P] Go for whole-grain crackers and less-processed cheese like feta. Add a piece of tomato or cucumber for some extra flavour and a veggie serving
It’s a pizza-kind-of-night? If you’re making your own, check out this delicious spin on a classic. If you’re ordering in, opt for thin, whole-grain crust and whichever option that has the most veggie toppings--- after all, pizza is a vegetable, right?
Have a sweet tooth? Grab a piece of fruit with a nut butter. For choco lovers (like us), add a little cocoa powder (or chocolate protein powder!), cinnamon and a dabble of honey to the peanut butter.
Baking up a storm? Swap out granulated sugar for honey. Yes, honey is still a sugar. However, [darker, raw] honey also has antioxidants that helps reduce inflammation and does not raise blood-sugar levels as high as other refined sugars-- so, if you’re going to do sweet, add some antioxidants in there too!