Nutrition is a crucial factor of both emotional and physical health. If you’re feeling a little less energetic than usual, take stock of what you’re reaching for in the pantry.
Our regular routines may be in flux, but our diets don’t have to be. Follow these five steps from Registered Holistic Nutritionist Yaga Kielb to nourish your body and keep you feeling in peak form.
1. Have healthy snacks on hand
Have you ever noticed how consuming processed fats, sugar and caffeine sometimes makes you feel worse?
“You need to consume snacks that will provide incremental/slow glucose release in your blood and keep you full and satisfied for longer periods of time, so that you don’t experience sudden energy ups and downs. Complex carbohydrates, protein-based and fiber-rich snacks are recommended,” Yaga says.
During your next grocery run, stock up on: pumpkin seeds, nuts, organic trail mixes (avoid the ones with chocolate or dried fruits), gluten-free crackers, hummus, apples, nut butters, veggies and organic bean dip.
2. Snack well throughout the day
Eating well means eating smaller portions more often. “I recommend having regular meals and snacks throughout the day (three meals and two to three snacks in between), eating smaller portions every three to four hours. This way, you keep your sugar levels stable and you don’t overwork your digestive system by consuming large meals that are hard to process,” Yaga says.
3. How you eat matters
Practice proper food combining. “By that, I mean, try not to combine solid protein and carbs; drink before or after meals, not during (that way you don’t dilute your stomach acid, which plays a crucial role in breaking down foods); try to drink warm or room temperature drinks, not ice cold; include lots of fiber in your diet; and most of all, hydrate yourself a lot!”
4. Cook healthy, nourishing comfort dishes
Beans, lentils and gluten-free grains are some of the best bases for plant-based comfort foods. They provide lots of fiber which is crucial for proper digestion and elimination.
“Vegetarian chili is my go-to comfort food. It’s super simple to make and very nutritious. It provides lots of plant-based protein which is a crucial building block and supports the immune system,” Yaga says.
“Mix black and kidney beans (cook them to perfection), then add organic tomato sauce along with organic diced tomatoes, organic peppers (yellow and red), celery, garlic, onions, 1 tbsp. of vinegar and 2 tbsp. of honey for enhanced flavor, sea salt and pepper. Sometimes I add coconut aminos as flavoring as well. You can add nutritional yeast if you want to add a cheesy vegan flavor to the dish.
Some other delicious comfort foods to make are: bone broth-based soups, stuffed cabbage, gluten-free cauliflower pizza or Spanish omelet (potato, eggs and onion). Improvise with added ingredients to make it slightly different every time.”
5. Support your body
“To additionally support your adrenals during stressful times, make sure you get enough sleep, rest, mindful exercise and breathing practice, connect with nature and spend time with loved ones. Those things are just as important as proper nutrition. I also recommend supplementation for extra support, with additional consultation from your doctor and/or naturopath.” Boost your immune system with Yaga’s free guide.
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