Add self-care to each meal with these smart tips
Admit it. You’re guilty of dedicating too much of your time to everyone else and always putting yourself on the back burner. You’ve done it for so long that, not only does self-care feel a little indulgent, you’ve perhaps forgotten how to take care of yourself! All that energy you’re expelling brings on the stress and fatigue. And we all know how those two emotions crave sugary, caffeinated and fatty food options.
Hey, we’re not saying you need to nix them completely. After all, some indulgence is part of self-care. However, the optimum self-treat is proactively eating a healthy diet. Eating nutritiously means more energy and resilience with less stress. It also indicates that your brain health will be given the best cheerleading squad it needs to get through this rat race called life. Making you the best human being you can be to your family, co-workers, friends and most importantly, yourself.
Thus, we’re going to look at how you can combine a healthy diet with nutrition strategies for the sake of your mind and body. Here’s how you can contribute to your daily self-care quota straight from your plate.
Choose More Home-Cooked Meals
Sure, you’ll save time ordering from your nearest restaurant or stopping by your fast-food joint on the way home. Overtime, that will cost health-wise. When you spare some minutes to cook yourself a wholesome food, you’re in control of what ingredients go into your dish. This gives you the power of variety, portion control and incorporating alternative foods with the different properties the body desires. Just make sure to aim for more unprocessed foods, since processing takes out the nutrition you’re after.
Make A Meal Plan
Having a weekly guide to your daily meals can help you eat better meals. Additionally, knowing what’s on the menu will help you shop more efficiently, saving on time and money. It also makes it much easier to meal prep on Sunday evening so that the rest of the week is smooth sailing. That way, you won’t be frazzled trying to whip something together after a long day or be tempted to eat too much junk food.
It has become a culture to eat in front of the television with a phone in hand. The distractions not only harm your relationships, it hinders your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, it desperately needs to function. So, make sure you eat your meals at a tech-free dinner table. In the office, take that time to step away from your desk. Wherever you choose to have your meal, you should be able to pay attention to what you’re eating. Really savour, smell and properly chew your food to appreciate it even more. Also, it helps you slow down the pace, since it takes your body about 20 minutes to notice that the stomach is full. Thus, always aim to add food items with a satisfying crunch to your daily meals.
Prioritize Fruits and Veggies
When serving food, load your plate with these healthy elements to reap from their vitamins, fibre, minerals and antioxidants. The more colourful your plate, the more benefits you’re opening yourself too. Then there is the added bonus of what fruits and vegetables do to your mood. A study that was published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that eating them regularly does make an individual feel more positive.
Spice Things Up
The immediate advantage of using more herbs and spices in your food is that your taste buds will have a party in your mouth. It is an efficient way of helping you look forward to a clean, healthy meal. Secondly, they help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as, improve your immune and brain systems. If you are new to the spice-rack game, start off with spices such as cinnamon, saffron and turmeric. Herb wise, ginger is a sure bet. Among its numerous perks lies anti-inflammatory and digestion aid abilities.
Listen to Your Gut
Did you know that the gastrointestinal tract, aka your gut, keeps 90 per cent of the body’s serotonin? That is the chemical neurotransmitter that has an impact on your mood, memory, appetite and sleep pattern. It also works to keep harmful bacteria and viruses out. But when you’re stressed, your digestive system can get inflamed. Thus, to maintain perfect harmony, add some gut-friendly such as walnuts, natural yogurt and pumpkin seeds to your daily diet.
Throw in The Fat!
Healthy fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, to be precise. They are important for your brain health because the brain itself is made up of 60 per cent fat. While monounsaturated fats lower the risk level of getting a stroke or heart disease, Omega-3 fatty acids improve cognitive performance and bone strength while reducing inflammation. Foods to add to your weekly menu include nuts, seeds olives, oily fish such as salmon and avocados.
Speaking of Nuts And Seeds
Adding them to your dishes such as salads or soups, introduces you to a great cradle of fibre and protein as well. Seeds such as pumpkin and flaxseed, as well as, nuts like walnuts, cashews and pistachios added at least twice a week could help bring down the heart disease risk factor by a quarter.
When planning your evening meals keep in mind your need for adequate sleep. We all know how cranky and discombobulated we feel when we’re afflicted with a case of insomnia. Sleep deprivation not only throws your cognitive skills out of whack, it can lead to other health issues such as cardiovascular problems. Consequently, you’ll be looking for foods rich in tryptophan to induce sleep naturally. These foods include potatoes, seeds, almonds, bananas and whole-grain oats.