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By Jennifer Piper

Eating healthier focusing on nutrition

Nutrition is a wonderful place to start looking when your body begins to send warning signs that something may be askew. No doctor appointment or fancy equipment are needed. Start making small but impactful changes to your daily eating routine today using the five tips below.

Start small

Change can be difficult. The key to success is to start with one or two small changes that are easy to incorporate into daily life. As those changes become common practice in your life, add to them. Do not fall prey to fad diets that restrict and demonize specific foods. Instead, focus on the healthy foods you already enjoy. Like bananas? Have one for breakfast each morning. Love crispy apples? Pack one for the mid-morning snack.

Set yourself up for success

Make temptations inconvenient. Get the junk food out of the house, avoid the doughnut box at the next meeting, and rid your office of any lurking, unhealthy snacks. Instead, keep yourself surrounded by convenient healthy options. After returning home from the weekly grocery trip, prep snack items into single serving containers to quickly grab when hunger strikes. Take these individual servings to the office. Nuts make a great shelf stable snack to take along when traveling.

Drink plenty of water

Our bodies are primarily made of up water and need a constant supply to replenish what it used throughout the day. Skip soda, milk and store bought fruit juice. Instead, opt for lots of water throughout the day. Water will make the stomach feel fuller longer in between meals. It will also help flush toxins, stave off headaches and keep all your internal organs operating as they should. Need some flavor? Try adding slices of lemon, cucumber or any of your favorite fruits to the water to jazz it up.

Eat plenty of plants

Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables should be fifty percent of each meal for a total of 5 servings a day. These can be incorporated as salads, sides, or crudités with a favorite high protein dip. Replacing your lunch with a large salad of leafy greens alone can nearly account for all five your recommended daily vegetables. Don't like salads? Juicing and smoothies are another great way to easily add lots of produce to your diet.

Limit processed foods

Any food that comes from a bag or box should be limited. These shelf stable foods are typically nutrient deficient. This goes for diet foods too. While the diet foods claim to be healthy, they are still devoid of necessary nutrition.

Eat mindfully

Savor each bite, eating more slowly. Pay attention to the fullness of your stomach. So, when you feel three-quarters full, stop eating. It takes time for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full. This will ensure you get the appropriate amount of food without overeating. If you have a hard time recognizing that feeling, begin by reducing the size of your usual portions. Wait 20 minutes after the last bite and take note of how you feel. Are you satisfied? If so, continue with that size portion. Still hungry? Grab one of those pre-portioned individual snacks and add a little more to your meal next time.

Tailor meals and snacks to your individual preferences. At the end of each week, reflect on what worked and what you may want to change in the following week. Most importantly, be patient and kind with yourself as you navigate to a healthier version of you.

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Healthy Eating

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