Step 1: Start with a healthy breakfast
Banish the tired morning crankies with a balanced breakfast. Along with that cup of coffee, eat a healthy morning meal to ward off being irritable, while giving you energy to face the day. Start the day with a bowl of fruit and nut oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly or a veggie omelet with toast. If you need a breakfast-to-go, consider a smoothie or a bag of sliced fruit and yogurt dip.
Step 2: Eat smaller meals more often
Starving yourself is a recipe for stress and overeating. Eating heavy meals leads to sluggishness and diet guilt. Keep your spirits and energy high by eating smaller meals spaced three to four hours apart. Make a meal plan that includes three healthy meals and two to three wholesome snacks.
Step 3: Lean on protein
Along with high-fiber complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, include protein at every meal for sustained energy and the building blocks your body needs for optimal function of your muscles, organs and glands. A healthy body is a happy body. Reach for the right proteins: skinless poultry, omega-3-rich fish, lean meats, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy (such as low-fat milk) and Greek yogurt.
Step 4: Dine on dairy
Dairy foods provide calcium, which can relax tense muscles. Dairy also offers a tasty balance of carbs, protein, and fat, which deliciously battles bad moods and may even aid you in your weight loss efforts. Drink milk in the morning, snack on Greek yogurt or yogurt-based dips with fruit and include modest amounts of cheese in your meals.
Step 5: Opt for omega-3s
Eschew foods high in saturated and trans fats, and dine on foods dense in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can bolster your mind, memory and mood. Good sources of omega-3s include salmon, dairy and flax and grass-fed meat. In addition, look for food products fortified with omega-3s.
Step 6: Get an appetite for antioxidants
Base your diet on high-antioxidant foods, such as rich-colored fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and other minimally processed or unprocessed foods. These protect your brain and body from free radical damage. High-antioxidant foods naturally boost your mood, can help you maintain a healthy weight and fuel your body with nutrients that ward off disease.
Step 7: Go for whole grains
Not only are whole grains key in fueling your muscles for energy, they are also chock-full of fiber (to keep your blood sugar on even keel) and other nutrients that can tame tension and help you be calm. Avoid white flour and processed products. Combine whole grain foods with protein and healthy fats for balanced mood-boosting meals.
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