Amy Pawliuk is a registered nutritional therapist residing in Valemount. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook @wildwellnessholisticnutrition. /FILE PHOTO

By Amy Pawliuk, Registered Nutritional Therapist

If someone tells you not to do something, what do you want to do? The thing you’re not supposed to do. This is why focusing on what you shouldn’t eat is miserable. Feeling restricted sucks.

So how do we work around this and still improve our health? We focus on what you can add instead of what you should avoid.

Focusing on adding goodness to our diet instead of worrying about what we shouldn’t have is so much easier on our mental health, self esteem and sets you up to be far more successful in the long run!

Every time you have a snack or a meal try to include something that grew, a fruit or vegetable. Simple, but very effective.

Why does this one little trick have such a big impact? A body can have its caloric needs met and exceeded very easily by eating junk food. It’s nutritional needs however, vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, healthy fats, adequate hydration, are very often left lacking if you don’t intentionally support them.

When nutritional needs are not met a body will continue to send hunger cues trying to get what it is missing. This results in people who do not meet their nutritional needs over eating calories and gaining weight while STILL feeling hungry!

Eating plants serve many purposes in our bodies:

  • They are very nutritionally dense, they have a very high ratio of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals compared to how many calories they have.
  • They provide fiber, both soluble and insoluble (your body needs both kinds) which feeds all the good bacteria in your guts, improves over all digestive health and even helps with blood sugar management, toxin removal and hormone balance.
  • They help you to feel full and stay satiated longer, resulting in fewer calories consumed and better weight management.
  • They have a high water content helping you to stay hydrated.

Some examples of adding a plant to your meal could be a simple as serving cut up veggie sticks with that grilled cheese, or some berries with your breakfast. It does not need to be complicated.

To be very clear, juice or dried fruit/fruit leathers do not count here. The process of making it into juice has removed all the fiber and left you with all the sugars. Both dried fruit products and juices give the illusion of a healthy choice, but you will be eating the sugar of MANY pieces of fruit all at once and the load of that sugar is going to out weigh the benefits you are getting from it.

Adding more plants to your diet truly is a win-win situation. Your body gets the nutrients it needs to function well and help you feel good AND your brain gets to see success and feel good without feeling restricted. Small wins build on each other!

It won’t take long before it is second nature. You might be surprised at how great you can feel with this one little change!

For delicious recipes that include fruits and veggies visit my website under the healthy eats section.” 

As always, if there is a subject you would like me to cover please let me know, I would love to hear from you!