When discussing weight loss techniques in seminars or in private practice, one of the most frequent excuses I hear from people is that they’re too busy or it’s too difficult to eat healthier. Time may be short for most of us, yes. But throughout my years of teaching and dealing with weight loss clients, I have gathered some very helpful nutritional “tricks” to help even the busiest of people lose weight permanently.
1. Learn to shop
It takes just as long to go to the grocery store for a bag of chips as it does for an apple! You have to grocery shop anyway, so why not learn the basics of nutrition to fill up your cart?
Here are some healthy food basics to stock-up on:
- Fresh fruits – fresh or frozen berries, apples, oranges, kiwi
- Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes (go for color!)
- Omega 3 foods such as wild salmon, omega-3 eggs, walnuts
- Good fats – olive oil, avocados
- Lean meats – chicken, turkey, ham slices (look for low-sodium, nitrate-free)
- Low-fat dairy options- light cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and low fat cheese
- Nuts, seeds – raw, unsalted varieties are best
- Healthy spreads – hummus, light cream cheese, organic nut butters
- Whole grain breads and pastas – kamut, spelt, rye, oats, flax and multi-grain
- A small amount of dark chocolate (70%) for a treat
- Protein powder – free of aspartame and sucralose
- Healthy snack bars – low-sugar and made from real food ingredients
- Water (or a good quality water filter)
What should not go in your grocery cart:
- Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated foods (a.k.a. trans fatty acids) – certain salad dressings, crackers, chips, margarine. Check your labels!
- Refined, white flour products – white bread, pasta, muffins, cookies, crackers
- Soda or sugary fruit juices
- Overly processed and packaged goods
2. Pack a lunch to save time, money and calories
A balanced meal includes the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Here’s an example:
- A whole wheat sandwich wrap, with lean turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado, mustard and organic cheese
- A small container of organic yogurt (organic soy is an option), that’s low in sugar and fat
- Dark chocolate square to enjoy for dessert
3. Know your healthy fast food options
Too busy to pack a lunch? Luckily, there are more healthier fast food options now available, such as salads, wraps or sandwiches. What’s more, many of these outlets have posted the fat/calorie/sodium content of their menus online. Use your smarts when choosing healthier fast food options, by avoiding foods likely to have chemical additives. Bottom line, if you’re going for something ‘fast’ you can do your best to make it healthy too!
4. Keep weight loss protein staples on-hand
The problem with weight loss is typically due to an over consumption of carbohydrates and too little protein in the diet.
Here’s a few protein staples to boost your intake (without increasing your waistline):
- Organic cheese cubes or cottage cheese
- Protein powder (keep a container at work and home)
- Lean slices of meat (chicken, turkey)
- Egg whites – can be added to any shake, recipe or made as an omelet (hard-boiled eggs are great to keep in the fridge too)
5. Make dinner your smallest meal
This is often the most difficult habit to break – but it can be done! For starters, get into the habit of eating a larger breakfast, a mid-sized lunch with a healthy snack or two inbetween. This way, you won’t be overly ravenous come dinner time.
Some dinner ‘tricks’ to try:
- Use a smaller-sized plate to automatically reduce your portion sizes
- Make 2/3rds of the plate a colorful salad or steamed veggies
- Include a portion of lean protein that’s about the size of a deck of cards
- Enjoy low-glycemic, high fiber carbs such as wild rice (no more than a palm-size)
- Add flavor without calories, such as cracked pepper or hot sauce
6. Find an activity that you enjoy and … do it!
Let’s face it, hitting the gym nightly is not realistic for most busy people. Luckily, there are many home options now available to fit into your lifestyle. Elastic bands, home weights, videos and a yoga mat can fit into any and all budgets. For morning-types, set the alarm a bit earlier, lay your shoes out the night-before, rise and go.
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