Everyone makes nutrition seem like a big, confusing topic. Sure, you can get deep into the weeds on nutrient timing, you can get your blood tested to see what foods you should be eating, and you can do extreme elimination diets to test food sensitivity. For some people, these steps are necessary and rewarding. Others don’t need to go to such extreme lengths. Here are three easy ways to improve nutrition starting today. None of them require you to no longer eat carbs, start a Paleo diet, or eliminate meat completely. These are the same steps we’ve used countless times to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle, and hope you can do the same.
Easy Ways to Improve Nutrition
Whenever you are initially looking at improving your nutrition, search for the low hanging fruit. These are the areas of your diet which require the least amount of effort while having the greatest impact. If you’re on this blog, it’s likely you’ve already greatly cut down on your soda, added sugar, and fried food consumption. The good news is there are so many other low hanging fruits we can grab and see immediate improvements.
Exchange flour tortillas for corn tortillas
There is nothing wrong with a flour tortilla. Repeat: there is nothing wrong with a flour tortilla. Of course you’ll want to search for ones without hydrogenated oils and zero added sugar, but once you find those flour tortillas are not inherently wrong. What makes this one of the easy ways to improve nutrition is the simple difference in calories. Remember, calories in versus calories out is how you control weight gain and weight loss.
A standard, taco-size flour tortilla will have anywhere form 110-150 calories per tortilla. Really, on Taco Tuesday, who is having less than three tacos? That’s anywhere from 330-450 calories just in the tortilla. Add in the possible meat, cheese, avocado, sour cream, vegetables, and you’ve got a pretty heavy meal.
Now, replace that flour tortilla with corn and you’re going to literally cut your calories in half. A standard corn tortilla from the store is 50 calories. Even having three tacos will only be 150 calories, over 50% less than the lightest flour tortilla.
Switch Starchy Carbohydrate for Fruit at one meal
Whole grains are part of a balanced diet. This is not meant to demonize whole grains. However, the truth is, most of us eat too many starchy carbohydrates throughout our day. We choose pasta and bread when fruits and vegetables would do just fine.
Additionally, while this tip will certainly save you calories, it is much more about what it adds in that what it takes out. Fruits are full of fiber and micro nutrients which will help your body function at its absolute best. Plus, the added fiber will help you stay full longer.
To put this tip into action, choose one meal per day to sub out your potatoes, rice, bread, or pasta for a similar amount of fruit. For example, if you’re eating out at Panera Bread, skip the side baguette and opt for the side apple instead (also go salad or soup over the sandwich). Or, instead of toast next to your omelet for breakfast, choose to have a bowl of mixed berries.
add a serving of vegetables to your daily diet
The last tip in our list of easy ways to improve nutrition is about actually adding more food to your day. Most of the nutrition tips you come across are about elimination – and for good reason because taking some obvious things out of your diet can be immediately impactful. But what about adding more in?
Vegetables are extremely nutrient dense which means they have very few calories while packing in a lot of micro nutrients. Adding a single serving of vegetables to one of your meals or snacks will immediately improve your overall nutrition.
The easiest way to do this is to choose a vegetable you enjoy raw, and have it on the side of a snack. For example, if you usually have a handful of mixed nuts as an afternoon pick me up and you enjoy carrots, bring a bag of baby carrots to work with you and have a handful alongside those mixed nuts at your afternoon snack. Not only will you be able to enjoy your meal for longer, but you’ll also get the added bonus of more vitamins and minerals, as well as more fiber in your diet.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated
Far too often we over-complicate a simple thing such as eating. We hope these easy ways to improve nutrition are relevant to your life, and that you’ll be able to try one out this week to see an immediate impact to your diet. If you do, tag us on Instagram at @isnlabs and let us see your cooking skills!