Eating Well Is Easier Than You May Think
We all know that a healthier lifestyle can revolve largely around your food choices. But did you know that leading a healthier lifestyle doesn’t start there? It actually starts in your mind. That’s right! All long-term healthy lifestyle shifts are accompanied by shifts in our mindset - from how we think and feel about food to how we think and feel about ourselves. So, if you’re reading this and thinking that you’ve been wanting to make a change but aren’t sure where to start - start within! The unfortunate truth is that regular overconsumption of fatty and sugary foods can cause chemical changes in the brain. And when you do begin to make these changes, your body can show more resistance to change and more propensity to sugar withdrawals and headaches. So, the first challenge starts with restoring balance to your neurochemistry and retraining the brain. The truth is that these changes are far easier said than actually done. And for many, that means finding the support of friends, family, coworkers, or even professionals. At Metabolic Research Center, we’ve been helping individuals make their health dreams a reality for over three decades. Knowledge is power - and knowledge about food and our bodies - and we provide you with the tools you’ll need to successfully adopt new habits with the most amount of ease.
The reasons why we strive to lead a healthier lifestyle can vary, but for many individuals it's about wanting to improve their bodily health by improving or even reversing preventable maladies. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through life choices and habits, such as eating well and staying physically active.
And the great part is that eating well doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your tastebuds. Eating healthier revolves around making smarter choices as you rebuild your overall dietary pattern of food consumption. For starters, smart shopping and healthy home cooking can put you in control of what goes into your recipes as well as your body. At Metabolic Research Center, we are all about making healthy swaps for common foods to improve nutrition while supporting your preferred eating style. In addition, our team of professional Weight Loss Coaches (many of whom have completed a weight loss and health journey of their own) can show you how to add nutritious foods to a balanced menu plan to enjoy even greater health benefits. We’ll help you create eating habits that are easy to stick with and deliver healthy choices throughout your busy day.
Finding the time to be healthier.
Many people start their day with the best of intentions but for any number of reasons may find themselves swinging by the local drive-thru or phoning in a pizza to eat while watching TV. This behavior only further enforces less healthy habits. According to dietitians at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, you have a right to feel concerned about your future. A consistent diet that’s high in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars can cause a number of health issues and eventually lead to obesity. But for many of us it’s hard to stick to a healthy regimen. This is where the support professionals can help you stay on track - even on those days when you’re completely frazzled. At Metabolic Research Center, we’ve got hundreds of recipes - many that were submitted by our very own clients - that guide you through creating wholesome meals in your kitchen using just the amount of time that you’ve got available. We know that most people don’t want to come home after a long day of work just to spend a long time cooking and cleaning the kitchen afterwards. Take a look at these two quick and easy dinners: Chicken Garlic Pizza or Easy Stovetop Shakshuka.
Metabolic Research Center can even help with meal planning - cutting down the time spent gathering, planning, and shopping for groceries. Our online recipe collection can be browsed by ingredients or categories such as entrees, starters, soups and stews, breakfast items, smoothies and drinks, sides and veggies, meat lovers delight, desserts, and even holiday meals and snacks. It’s as easy as finding the recipes you want to try, jotting down the list of ingredients that you will need, and swinging by the store to get them. Nowadays grocery shopping doesn’t even have to mean entering the grocery store - you can just use your favorite store’s app for either home delivery or curbside pickup for this week’s groceries.
Once you’ve got everything set up in the kitchen, our easy-to-follow instructions show you step-by-step how to create portion-controlled meals that you’ll have from your kitchen to table in minutes. Our wide range of meal options and healthy mix of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and health fats will let you feel good about what you eat, even when your day gets really busy.
So, what is healthy food?
Simply stated, healthy foods are those filled with vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. They are often also lower in calories than processed foods and baked goods - making healthy foods harder to over consume in amounts that produce the same negative effects as less healthy foods. For the most part, healthcare providers, dietitians, weight loss specialists, and even your local librarian generally have the same list of healthy foods for eating well. Below is a list that represents the best whole foods across all three groups of macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins):
Fresh fruits & vegetables – If you aren’t at a place where you’re weighing and measuring your foods regularly, then a safe rule of thumb is that you can safely fill half your plate with whole foods every meal or snack. This is one of the most important lifestyle habits for eating well. Fruits and veggies are filled with fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients.
Lean protein – It is important to consume protein daily to help maintain strong bones, muscles, and healthy skin. Eating poultry, lean red meats, low-fat dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds can help keep your body feeling full without providing too many extra calories.
Healthy fats – Fats can be burned as fuel but also help with absorption of important nutrients. In fact, healthy dietary fats have gone from villain to superfood in recent years (as they should!). Gone are the days where fats are a dietary death sentence! The trick is to consume these healthy fats - such as avocados, nuts, or fatty meats - in healthy amounts that are proportionate to your other food choices so you achieve balance.
Omega-3 fatty acids – Mother nature truly provides incredible and edible sources of omega-3 fatty acids that boost heart health. Your sources include eggs, avocados, mackerel, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, and more.
Healthy Carbohydrates – When consumed in the proper amounts, minimally processed carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain breads, quinoa, and lentils add fiber and fuel for the body without completely derailing your weight loss goals.
The key - as you probably noticed above - is balance between these and other foods you consume on a daily basis. Unfortunately, knowing “how much is enough” isn’t always easy or obvious, and we can be prone to overestimate and unintentionally overindulge. Eyeballing portions can be a great starting place for beginning new healthy habits, but to truly maximize your health and weight loss goals, weighing and measuring is key; because a handful of broccoli isn’t the same as a handful of potato chips, after all!
Your environment can help you make better choices
So you’ve got your mind focused and committed to eating healthier, and you’ve got an idea of the foods you’d like to consume more of (and those you’d like to consume less), the last piece of the healthier eating trifecta is your environment. Note: you can make healthy changes without changing your environment, but it can be a huge help to your goals to consider the environment around you as you make more mindful choices. On days when you visit your favorite food store, create a shopping list that focuses on the outer perimeter (this is where you’ll find most produce and fresh meats). In fact, try to create a grocery list that minimizes walking up and down the aisles. It is the outer ring at most food stores where you will find the healthiest food options. Also, keep in mind that food manufacturers are really good at marketing processed foods, baked goods, and foods with added sugars and sodium. These are often found in larger boxes and containers with appealing pictures and subliminal messages abound. Healthier whole foods usually do not require any USDA Food Labels or a laundry list of hard-to-pronounce additives. The more you limit your browsing to the outer aisles of your grocery store, then the less likely you are to fill your cart with unhealthier items - and the healthier you’ll be able to eat at home.
Another aspect of your environment is where you enjoy your meals. The pitfalls of mindless eating have long been argued by food psychologists as how unconscious decisions we make about food can have a profound effect on how much we eat and subsequently how much we weigh. Most experts today agree that distracted eating in front of our computer or television can easily lead to the overeating of any meal, snack or treat. Moreover, there are valid arguments that your body and mind are much less satisfied by food that was scarfed down during any intriguing moment on the screen. Knowing this, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s just as important to savor a mid-afternoon snack as it is to enjoy a sit-down meal (anytime time permits). In his book Mindless Eating, Brain Wansink focused on ways of using your environment to encourage you to eat well, such as using smaller plates and keeping healthy foods (especially water-filled fruits and vegetables) on display with a bowl of nuts close by instead of candy dishes. Put boxes of processed foods or unhealthier foods away in a pantry or towards the back of a fridge. The less you see it, the less likely you are to munch on it. Moreover, keeping small bottles of water within arm’s reach is a no brainer. Even the most experienced of healthy eaters have a hard time distinguishing between hunger and thirst. So, when in doubt, drink a glass or two of water before you sit down to a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Personalized eating plans from MRC…
Eating healthier is a primary focus at Metabolic Research Center. And personalized weight loss programs coupled with professional coaching and support ensure that you find the balance that’s right for your body and your goals. Each menu plan is designed specifically to maximize your success and worked to fit within your lifestyle. Teaching you how to eat well through our menus allows you to understand how food is used best in your body. Our menus include lean proteins, smart carbs, and healthy fats. Moreover, MRC programs are simple to follow. You'll eat real, nutritious foods that you purchase at your local supermarket or order out from restaurants. And best of all, there are no pre-packaged meals and no guesswork. Your team of experienced MRC Coaches is there to support you each step of the way as you work to establish your new healthy lifestyle. Take the first step and connect with an MRC Coach today!
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