Sunday, April 8, 2012

The "Ten Commandments" for Healthy Eating

When the holidays of Easter and Passover are celebrated, we’re reminded of the Ten Commandments. It's a time for renewal and "new life" when we're asked to re-examine our actions to ensure they're in line with our beliefs and values. I think this is also a great opportunity to re-assess and renew our commitment to good health.

Here’s my version of some modern “Commandments” that focus on health; no “thou shalts” included. These are the guiding principles that I live by to stay healthy and they’re the actions I recommend to my clients too. After all, being healthy is part of being your best.

1.  Eat breakfast every day.
Just like your mom told you to! Breakfast gets your metabolism moving. Studies show that those who eat breakfast weigh less than those who don’t.

2.  Pack a lunch and snacks for work every day.
Planning and preparing your meals will help you avoid temptation whether you're at work our just out for the day.

3.  Eat at least one vegetable at lunch and dinner.
Vegetables are lower in calories, great sources of vitamins and antioxidants, and packed with filling fiber. Your meals will be more satisfying.

4.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
We all know what happens when you’re too hungry come meal-time--our best laid plans tend to fly right out the window! If it’s going to be 4-5 hours before your next meal, plan for a snack.

5.  Use a calendar to plan weekly dinners—whether it’s just you, two or a whole family.
You'll be more prepared to make healthy meals fit your schedule (and ensure you have the ingredients on hand to make them).
6. Measure your food, at least occasionally, to keep portion sizes in check.
We all need a portion size check-up now and then. Little extras throughout the day can cause calories to add up.

7. Purchase mostly whole, natural and unprocessed foods.
Bottom line: they’re the healthiest because there’s nothing added. They’re what Mother Nature intended.

8. Cook most meals at home.
Restaurant foods are major sources of extra calories, fat and sodium. Instead, make dinners at home more often by using your favorite restaurant dishes for inspiration. You can re-create them healthier at home.

9. Come up with a plan for exercise and stick to it. No excuses!
Pick an activity you like and make exercise a priority by scheduling workout time as an appointment. If you need some motivation, use the buddy system.

10. If you blow it, forget it. Get right back on track.
It will happen at some point and it happens to everyone. It’s most important that you get back on the wagon and keep pushing forward. Living healthy is a lifelong goal.

I have to throw in one last all-encompassing Commandment for good measure: Believe in yourself. You can do it!

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

What "Commandments" for good health do you live by?