When I have a client come to me desperate for help, it’s usually because they know they should be eating better…heck, they probably even know what foods they should be eating. But the reality is they are super busy, stretched thin, and barely even have time to throw together a healthy snack. The thought of over-hauling their diet is nothing short of complete overwhelm.
And yet…they really do want to be healthier and they want to be nourishing themselves in a deeper way.
Can you relate?
There are so many different ways you can up-level your eating. Maybe you’ve started shopping at the Farmers’ Market or Whole Foods. Maybe you’ve cut out sugar and fast foods. Maybe you’re trying to cook more and eat out less. Maybe you’ve even tried getting your feet wet in an eating plan like Paleo, Keto, Whole 30, or even Vegan.
Today I’m sharing with you the 3 simple strategies I use time and again to help my clients change the way they think about their food. To optimize their nourishment, to add more energy, and to provide their body with what it needs to start to heal.
Even if you don’t have time to meal plan or try new recipes, I promise these 3 tips are completely doable and will have a big impact on your diet & your health.
Tip #1. Balance Your Meals
I can’t tell you the number of clients I see who when we first start working together are clearly nutrient deficient. This isn’t because they don’t have access to all the right foods. It’s because they’re not being mindful about what they’re eating. They’re eating on the run, they’re grabbing what’s easy, and they’re completely skipping whole categories of foods…not intentionally, mind you, but it’s happening nonetheless.
The first step in getting right with your diet is to make sure every meal (ok…most meals) have the categories of foods your body needs.
This includes PROTEIN like beans, meat, fish, lentils, eggs, poultry, nuts, seeds, or soy foods.
This includes PLANTS (ideally a colorful variety) of leafy greens, crunchy veggies, starchy veggies, whole grains, or fruit.
This includes HEALTHY FATS like avocado, olives, coconut, nuts, seeds, nut butters, butter, ghee, or other oils (olive, coconut, avocado, walnut, etc).
I often share the “Healthy Plate” image above with my clients to help them visualize how you would fit all these categories in your meal and onto your plate.
How might this look in real life? Remember, I promised you wouldn’t have to start meal planning or trying new recipes to do this. 😉
Let’s say today you’re planning to eat oatmeal for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner.
Here’s how you can upgrade & balance those same meals (with a little extra anti-inflammatory & anti-cancer support thrown in too):
Breakfast: Oatmeal + almond butter, berries, & a pinch of cinnamon
- Protein: almond butter
- Plants: oats + colorful berries
- Fat: almond butter
- Extra AI Support: cinnamon
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich + added tomato, sprouts, & avocado with a side salad (or you could even do some raw veggie sticks if that would be easier – carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, radishes, etc)
- Protein: turkey
- Plants: whole grain bread + tomato + sprouts + mixed green salad (or other raw veggies)
- Fat: avocado
- Extra AI Support: keep the exact same meal but trade out the turkey for tuna to get a dose of omega-3s
Dinner: Pasta + grilled chicken, pesto, & roasted broccoli
- Protein: chickpea pasta (you could switch up the pasta to add more protein & fiber) + grilled chicken
- Plants: chickpea (or other whole grain or bean-based) pasta + broccoli
- Fat: pesto
- Extra AI Support: add some fresh pressed garlic to the pesto
Not too hard, right?! Let’s keep going.
Tip # 2. Timing Matters
Okay now that you’re eating a bigger variety of foods and balancing your meals with all the important nutrients your body needs, it’s time to make sure you’re fueling yourself in a consistent and steady way over the day.
This will be an especially important tip for you if right now you’re skipping meals or simply grazing over the day. I think you’ll be surprised how much more energy and productivity you gain just by eating at regular times…not to mention the weight management boost.
Your body functions best when meal times are relatively consistent; within an hour or so is optimal. This syncs in with our circadian rhythm and everything just seems to work better.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate intermittent fasting into the mix but it does mean that your “eating hours” are consistent. Once you start eating, then your next meal comes around 5 hours later and your last meal is at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
Here’s an example of how this could look.
- Up at 6am
- Breakfast at 7am
- Lunch between 12-1pm
- Dinner between 5-6 pm
- Bed by 10pm
If you have a large enough (balanced) meal then ideally you wouldn’t require any snacks during the day. Rather than snacks you can fill the time between meals with hydration.
This schedule would also allow for a 13-14 hour overnight fast and if you wanted to extend that to a longer fast you can move dinner earlier or breakfast later.
You can read more about how to integrate intermittent fasting into your schedule here: Fasting: The Best Tool To Improving Your Health.
Tip #3. 80:20 Rule
The final tip is really easy to implement and hopefully allows you to breathe a little better. In case you don’t already know this…you don’t have to be perfect to see the benefits of a healthy diet!! 🥳
It’s true. Your body is brilliantly designed and you can actually “go off the plan” and your body can handle it.
But here’s the trick. You can’t do this all the time. Once in awhile is fine. It’s not going to completely negate all the benefits you gained by your other nourishing meals.
I often tell my clients to stick to the 80:20 Rule. What you do 80% of the time is going to have the biggest impact on your health. So make that time count. Do your best to eat balanced meals, follow consistent eating times, and fill your body with as many nourishing foods as possible.
The 20% is for everything else; a night out at your favorite restaurant, a slice of your favorite birthday cake (mine just happens to be that dark chocolate cake pictured above 😋), a holiday gathering, a margarita on the beach during your vacation. You get the idea. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. There’s no reason you can’t participate and enjoy your favorite treats once in awhile…as long as MOST of the time you’re filling your body with the nourishment it needs.
AND as you get better at navigating this balance you’ll find that it gets much easier to tune in and listen to what your body wants. Sometimes the treat or extra helping of your favorite Thanksgiving dish will be totally fine and other times you can tell it’s going to cause a problem.
A bit of a caveat to this tip…
When you’re actively trying to heal, your body will need more nourishment and attention and there won’t be as much wiggle room for the “extras”. During those times you may need to adjust the ratio a bit to 90:10.
Tune in! Your body will tell you what it needs and when it’s okay to let loose a bit.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard!
My absolute favorite truth! Healthy eating is something we ALL can do. It just requires a bit of intention and mindfulness.
These are the basics that apply to all of us. Whether you’re in perfect health and just want to stay there OR you’re starting to notice a few symptoms here and there (like weight gain, lower energy, or tummy troubles) OR you’re facing a diagnosis like cancer, the rules are the same.
You don’t have to count calories. You don’t have to follow a specific meal plan or eating philosophy. You just have to pay attention.
🗸 Pay attention to the quality of foods you’re choosing.
🗸 Pay attention to the balance of your meals.
🗸 Pay attention to the timing of your meals.
🗸 Pay attention to the daily nourishment versus occasional treats.
When you start to do this, everything will shift for the better. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
If at some point you feel like you could use extra coaching and support. Someone to help you figure out the foods that will be the most beneficial for you. Someone to help you strategize around the road blocks that keep coming up. Then, reach out. This is what I do and what I love.
I can help you streamline your healthy eating “to do list” and find easy ways to start getting more nourishing, healing foods into your diet and in your body. Book your Free Planning Session HERE.