Psychologists and social scientists say the two mistakes people make when they procrastinate are, they consider failure in the task ahead too strongly, and they overestimate the effort it will take to get the job done.
No New Year’s resolution embodies this more than eating right and losing weight. We’ve tried before. We’ve had, shall we say, mixed results. Are we really going to take another swing at it? Ugh. Well, then, let’s collect those healthy eating tips!
Tip #1 Let’s not dwell on losing weight. That sounds painful, and negative, literally. Instead, we’re going to frame it properly around eating, and not just eating, but eating well.
Tip #2 We won’t do it alone. We’ll lean on technology, including AI and wearable technology, to keep us motivated and on track.
First, let’s just talk about the food we buy.
How to Eat Well
Before we get too far down the no-Ho-hos path, let’s just acknowledge that, when it comes to eating well, there’s two kinds of traps out there almost everywhere that will sink our best intentions. We call them restaurants and groceries.
Let’s highlight an app for how to eat well, or choose well, inside each:
- HealthyOut There’s tips for eating well. And then there’s Olive Garden’s never-ending breadsticks and pasta — keep it away! Or keep HealthyOut close by. The way the app works, you put in your ZIP code and dietary requirements, and it sifts through area restaurant menus (online) and finds plates that meat, pardon, meet your requirements.
- OptUp What did your mother tell you about grocery shopping? Never shop hungry. She might have told you, too, to do most of your shopping on the perimeter. That’s where the fresh proteins like meat and eggs, and the fruits and vegetables, live. Developed by Kroger grocery dieticians, OptUp groups all of the foods in a modern grocery into three color-coded categories — green is good, yellow is mellow, red is dangerous. This app is responsive to individual queries by way of items’ barcodes, and you don’t have to be in a Kroger to use it.
There’s a zillion recipe websites and blogs out there. Of those, a quadrillion billion are for eating healthy foods and eating well without dieting.
- 100 Days of Real Food By now they’re beyond just 100 days, but the “real food” part rings true. This began as a family blog not so long ago (about 10 years), and it feels genuine and wholesome. It’s not designed to trim your waistline, but it will raise your mindfulness around eating, get you psyched about cooking at home, and be fun to share with others. It will make you try things you wouldn’t normally. It will do this without overwhelming you.
- Organize Yourself Skinny Did you go “Hmm. I dunno,” to that last one? Too busy? You want a multivitamin approach to healthier eating. This one has recipes, meal planning guides and even e-courses, narratives, reviews and “free challenges,” and it’s all packaged in an easily digestible homepage. Buy into the premise of calorie awareness and planning what you’ll eat before you’re starving — they do. They sprinkle healthy eating tips throughout like walnuts.
Alexa, Make Me Healthy
If you want to swing into eating healthy foods with AI at your back, look no further than Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and its named AI, Alexa. Check out these skills you can load Alexa up with:
- Water Log If, like Tom Brady, you believe less-than-brimming hydration is the linebacker standing in the way of your health endzone run, this skill helps you track how much water you’ve had for the day. Under 100 ounces? Why, it must be morning! Ask Alexa to pester you to drink a glass every two hours.
- Food Journal This skill connects with your Fitbit account and helps you keep track of what you’re eating: your carbs, proteins and fats. What’s cool — not having a Fitbit device doesn’t really impede this journaling aid.
- Track by Nutritionix allows you to get a variety of nutritional information on most foods, and it will keep track of what you eat, too. So along with a general, “Alexa, what are some healthy eating tips?” you can food log, “Alexa, tell food tracker I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast,” or “Alexa, tell food tracker I ate 15 almonds.”
- Save the Food When you get really good at living comfortably on 1,200 to 1,500 calories, you can introduce Save the Food. This skill gives you tips for how long typical food items and meals might last in the refrigerator, and how best to keep them. Think avocado halves and uncooked chicken parts.
Exploring food trends
Some of us may want to explore eating well without dieting exactly. Here’s three earthy and rakish trends to consider.
- Eat Seasonal Eating local’s nothing new. Farmers markets have been the ‘it’ Saturday spot for foodies and folks serious about sustainability and ultra-fresh meats and produce, but a new iteration — Community Supported Agriculture — is spawning a new trend to eat seasonally. That is, eating when a local farm can actually produce the food item: nightshades in the winter and spring, tomatoes and corn in the summer, tubers in the fall and winter. Member-organized, each week a delivered box or sack equals a new batch of surprises.
- Dump Alcohol Just as craft beer toes the 10% ABV line a counter-trend emerges. Cut way down — even abstain completely — on alcohol consumption. Whether it’s to stay clear-headed and clean to chauffeur your party home at the end of the night, or the heavy carb load that comes with drinking any kind of alcohol (yes, even wine), there’s a renewed interest in cutting out alcohol. It’s at the top of any list of suggestions for eating well without dieting. Try a handcrafted “mocktail” as an alternative. Check out what going alcohol-free might mean for you, and file this under eating well without dieting.
- Walk It Off We made it this long without so much as a nod to wearable technology because this is how to eat well, not live well, for 2020. A mention must be made, though, of all of the smart watches out there that serve as pedometers. These and other digital aids reinforce good behavior. They “gamify” beneficial decisions, in this case. the act of getting up and getting moving. With functions such as a heart rate indicator and sleep monitor, smart-phone companion and voice-activated AI assistant, wearable technology is one of the best healthy choices you can make. Technology-assisted behavior modification is going to grow radically in the near future.
Many of these internet-enabled resources and personal organizers require little more internet bandwidth than your social media feed, but an Amazon Echo here and a smart watch there, and pretty soon, reliable high-speed Internet is a must!
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Get your healthy eating tips over a sweet hook up, and the only bingeing you’ll indulge will happen on Hulu.
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