“This is the main rule I live by. Research shows that mindful eaters naturally eat less and describe their meals as more satisfying than people who do not eat mindfully. There are four key steps to mindful eating: Eat sitting down, eat off a plate (rather than out of a bag or a box), eat only when you are truly physically hungry, and eat without distractions. I have found that this way of eating helps me to really enjoy my food while also allowing me to make naturally healthier food choices.” —Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D., L.D.N., Host of Cooking with Sarah-Jane.
Don’t make anything off limits.
“I like to practice balance, and I don’t make any food off limits. For example, if I know I’m going out to a restaurant for dinner, I’ll stick to sensible choices for breakfast and lunch, so that I can indulge when I’m out to eat.” —Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Eat a few cups of leafy vegetables once a day.
“Leafy greens contain so many essential vitamins and minerals, and are vital to health and longevity. Aiming for this daily means that I usually have a large salad or a large green juice (heavy on the greens and light on the fruit) daily. My favorite green juice brand is Daily Greens. My skin shows it when I skip greens for even just a day! And the opposite is true, as well. Greens keep my skin clear and glowing.” —Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN, owner of Lauren Minchen Nutrition and Golda Bar
Make time for an afternoon snack.
“Planned snacking can be helpful for filling in nutrient and hunger gaps. It can also help you potentially eat fewer total daily calories. So I keep a clear container of in-shell pistachios on my kitchen counter just for this purpose. They’re one of my favorite snacks since they’re tasty, they provide protein and fiber, and they may actually help to fool yourself full because the leftover shells provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping to curb intake. I enjoy them as is, but also tossed onto salads or paired with seasonal fruit at snack-time.” —Jackie Newgent, R.D.N, culinary nutritionist and author ofThe All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook
“Even when I’m rushing to get the kids to school or camp, I always make sure I eat something to get the metabolism going and fuel myself for the morning hours. I rely on quick and easy breakfasts that are packed with protein and fiber like low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit and some whole grain cereal. If we’re really running late, I always have a stash of egg muffins or oatmeal cups in the freezer that I can quickly defrost in the microwave and take with me in the car. I’ll pair a piece of fruit with it to balance out the meal.” —Jessica Fishman Levinson, R.D., founder of nutrition counseling companyNutritioulicious
Plan your meals ahead of time.
“Eat consciously, plan ahead, and hold yourself accountable (write everything down). They all really go hand in hand and work into your life pretty easily. These rules just require paying a little more attention to what goes in your mouth. I don’t want people to obsess, just to be mindful. Rather than picking at food lying around the house or the office without thinking about it, these rules force you to think twice.” —Brittany Kohn, M.S., R.D.
“This can mean something as simple as a baked potato or a grilled cheese sandwich—it’s the act of preparing the food that centers me and reminds me that healthful eating begins in the kitchen.” —Robin Plotkin, RDN, Culinary Nutritionist in Dallas, Texas
Always make room for fruit and vegetables.
One thing that remains constant and that is scientifically proven is that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is good for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk for several chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. So one guideline that I always try to follow is to include a fruit or vegetable with every meal. It could be something as simple as adding fresh or dried fruit to cereal, or adding extra veggies to a pasta dish.” —Heather Mason, M.S., R.D.
“I know that may seem to contradict healthy eating, but I LOVE food, and I think part of healthy eating is to really enjoy the food I’m eating. Treating yourself doesn’t have to mean eating a cupcake (or 5), instead, treating myself may be enjoying my favorite iced coffee drink, or eating a delicious chopped salad that I don’t get around to making very often, or buying that more expensive type of fish that I love. Sometimes, eating healthy can make us feel like we’re being deprived of all those delicious “unhealthy” foods, and I think by treating myself with healthier treats, I can still splurge and enjoy food without derailing my health.” - Kaylee Ludmark, M.S. R.D., blogger at The Crowded Table.
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