2016 is upon us!

A new year full of new beginnings, new goals and lots of new things happening. One of the things that I really want to focus on and share with you is how to live a healthy, nutritional life. It’s so easy to focus on short-term things. How to eat healthy for 30 days or how to eat healthy for just 21 days, or to follow a program for a short period of time. But that’s not what I want to talk to you about today. I want to talk about how to live a healthy life for the long term. For life. Not a quick fix, but a way to put habits into motion to make sure that you are staying on track to living the healthiest life you possibly can.

Here are my 7 tips for LONG TERM success when it comes to nutrition.

  • Eat smaller meals 5-6 times per day. I know a lot of us when we watch what we eat and we try to improve our health and lose weight, whatever the case may be, we think we need to eat less. That is ABSOLUTELY not true. If you fuel your body every 2-3 hours, your metabolism will work better. It will be more efficient. You don’t need to sit down and eat a huge meal twice a day. It’s better for your body if you’re eating smaller meals every 2-3 hours.
  • Drink a glass of water before dinner. Sometimes when we sit down to a meal, we’re ravenous. We just can’t wait to eat and we put too much food on our plate. If you drink a glass of water first, it will temper your hunger. And then, as you’re eating dinner, you won’t eat as fast and you won’t eat as much.
  • Plan your meals weekly- including snacks. And I mean all of them! Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and ALL of your snacks. What I do is sit down on Sunday evenings, look at the week and spend time planning my meals. I plan my dinners first because that involves my entire family. I look at healthy recipes that will fuel my family with vegetables, carbs, proteins and healthy fats. I plan the meals out. Then I plan my breakfasts, my lunches and my snacks. I can actually eat the same thing for lunch almost every day and the same thing for breakfast, so I don’t need a lot of variety. Some people might. If you do- mix it up a little bit, but just make a plan. Trust me- it will help you stay on track.
  • Brush your teeth at night to keep from grabbing late night snacks. If you’re like me and you get hungry at night- after dinner, the kids are in bed- you might just be watching TV or reading a book and you get hungry. Go brush your teeth. It will help keep you from eating anything else. It’s like a mental switch goes on for me- I’m done eating for the night. Give it a try and let me know if it worked for you!
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I cannot say this enough. You need to be drinking half the amount of your body weight in ounces every single day. If you weigh 120 pounds, you need to be drinking 60 ounces of water. If you weigh 200 pounds, you need to be drinking 100 ounces of water. Keeping your body hydrated throughout the day is vital. It helps to make sure that you stay healthy and that your body is cleansed the way it needs to be on a daily basis.
  • Connect with how you DESIRE to feel after you eat. Have you ever thought about this before? I only recently heard it put this way and I love this concept. If I want to feel satisfied but not bloated, not too full and not blah, I need to choose foods that will provide those feelings once I’m done eating. If I sit down to a hamburger and french fries, is that going to make me feel good at the end? No. I’m going to feel bloated and heavy and too full and blah. But if I have a plate full of vegetables, quinoa and a bit of grilled chicken, I’m going to feel pretty darn good when that meal is over. So connect the desire with how you want to feel and let that desire lead you in your choices. Try this out. I promise- it’s a really cool trick!
  • Live by the rule of moderation: Eat clean 80% of the time. You don’t have to be eating clean 100% of the time. Never cheating, never eating something that you really love, never enjoying an ice cream cone with your kids- just live by moderation. At least 80% of the time, eat clean. The other 20%, allow that occasional cheat meal or the fun dessert that you enjoy with your family. Don’t feel like you have to live a life of deprivation, because that is truly not the way to go. When we deprive ourselves of something, we want it more.

I want to equip you with some go-to meals that can help leave you feeling satisfied and nourished. Here are a few of my favorite breakfasts.

  1. Rolled oats with EITHER 1 cup of blueberries mixed in, or half of a Granny Smith apple and one teaspoon of flax seeds. Super easy and super yummy.
  2. A HUGE plate of fruit. I’m talking 2-3 cups of fruit, all different kinds. Melons, berries, mango, banana, kiwi- all of that stuff. Cut it all up and go to town. I’ll also have a small container of organic yogurt with some grade B maple syrup sprinkled in. So delicious.
  3. Shakeology. It’s a huge staple in my life. I drink it for breakfast very often with either a banana mixed in or half of an avocado (which you can’t taste), or coconut almond butter, 1 cup or water, 1 cup of ice and blend with a scoop of vegan chocolate Shakeology. It’s so satisfying and wonderfully nutritious for your body.

I also wanted to share with you my favorite salad recipe. This is what I eat for lunch about 90% of the time:

3 Cups of Baby Spring Mix Salad

¼ Red Bell Pepper, Chopped

½ Cucumber, Peeled and Chopped

¼ Cup Shredded Carrots

6-8 Cherry Tomatoes, Cut in Half

Handful of Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Lemon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Toss all together in a large salad bowl and voila! Delicious, easy- I could make it in my sleep. If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this fun Hyperlapse video of me making it on my Facebook page: here.

Let’s also chat quickly about snacks. Sometimes this is the hardest part because you want to have things that are easy to grab, easy to take with you, and things you know are nutritious. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. 12 almonds and a small apple sliced up.
  2. 2 tablespoons of hummus with fresh vegetables for dipping.
  3. Celery with natural coconut almond butter and some raisins.
  4. 1 cup of fresh fruit.

The bottom line here is: Keeping your body fueled correctly will make you feel amazing. It is incredible when we eat nutritious food how much more energy we have, the bloat is gone. We feel alive and we feel great and we’re motivated to continue to eat that way. So take baby steps and start making changes in your life that will last for the long term. Not a quick fix. Nothing just for a month, but forever.

The more you do this, the more of a habit it will become and you will be on your way to being the healthiest you can possibly be. It will be 110% worth it.
Y’all have a blessed day!