Nutrition Nuggets

Tips from Coach Molly for great health

1. Fill up on fruits and veggies.

Eating an abundance of plant food will help crowd out the junk food. Plants are full of fiber and water, helping to fill you up. They are also loaded with nutrients, signaling to your body that it has what it needs. Eating these first in your meal instead of last is extremely beneficial when trying to change eating habits.

2. Drink, drink, drink!

Many times when you think you may be hungry, your body is actually shouting at you to drink more water. Aim for half your weight in ounces, and tack on about 40 ounces more when you exercise. Being hydrated helps with detoxification, digestion, skin health, brain health and much more.

3. The wagon is always there.

When you fall off the wagon, the most important thing is to hop back on. Letting a bad meal or bad day throw you completely off track for the week (or month) will stall progress towards great health. If you slip up, the wonderful thing is that each meal is a blank slate for you to get back to healthy eating.

4. Do your menu browsing in advance.

It can be very helpful to look up a restaurant's menu online before arriving so that you can have a plan of action. You can find healthy options at almost every establishment if you look hard enough, and don't be shy about asking for substitutes when you order.

5. Become a label reader.

When you are shopping at the grocery store, you should read every single food label. What are the ingredients? Do you recognize them? If it is full of words you don't know, hidden sweeteners, lots of preservatives, food dyes etc., put it back. Stick to foods that are minimally processed, meaning you know what each ingredient is because it is from a whole food source. Lots of foods are marketed as healthy when that couldn't be farther from the truth.

6. Give in to your sweet tooth.

Give in by leaning into fruit. Allowing yourself unlimited access to have fruit in place of sweets is a game changer. Your palette will adjust and eventually you will be satisfied with less fruit, but initially you may need to make yourself a dinner plate full of a variety of fruits to satisfy your craving. This won't hurt you – fruit is full of fiber, nutrients and water. If anything it will help you go to the bathroom. Eating a plate full of fruit will always be better than eating a Snickers.

7. Keep lots of healthy food on hand.

People run into the most trouble when they are in a pinch, starving. Having something healthy you can quickly grab in those moments will save you. If you have nothing but junk food on hand, what will you grab in those hungry moments? Junk food. An even better plan? Keep the junk out of the house, so your only option is healthy food.

Molly Hahn of Springfield is a mother of two – Huxley, almost 3 years old and Juniper, 6 months old. She is co-owner of CrossFit Instinct, which she opened with her husband, Tim, in 2010. Molly has been a health and fitness coach/trainer going on 20 years. She has worked with hundreds of clients to improve their eating habits to achieve better health, performance and body composition.

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