A plumber knows how to snake a toilet much more quickly—and definitely more cleanly—than I do. A stylist knows that belting that flowy dress would be much more flattering than letting it billow (my preferred silhouette). And don’t get me started on pantry organization; do you think Clea and Joanna are too busy for quick visit to a suburban Denver home?
The point is: experts have this innate knowledge that may seem basic to them—but can feel life-changing to those of us who don’t live in their world day in and out. So, over the course of the next few months, we’re going to tap into the deep expertise around Another Mother Runner and grab the tips, thoughts, and insights that can have a big impact on your athletic and everyday life.
We’re starting today with Ellie Kempton, RDN + MSN, who is the captain behind our Simply Nourished Like a Mother Program. (I—Dimity—am her very eager co-pilot, who helped write this and is lucky enough to sit next to her for every weekly meeting during the eight-week program.) Below, Ellie spills 10 simple tips from a dietitian that benefit everybody, no matter their nutrition preferences or athletic passion.
#1 Add don’t subtract.
How many times have you read—or told yourself—no more sugar, fewer carbs, cut out alcohol? More regularly than you’d like to admit? I get it. But know this: nothing helpful or sustainable comes from focusing on restriction. Instead of promising yourself that you definitely won’t dip into the Hershey Kiss jar at work today, try this instead: pack a snack that you enjoy, and when the kisses come calling, grab for the snack instead. As you savor it, realize that you’re leaning into abundance not restriction.
#2 Your body is a thermostat, not a calculator.
Although I’m sure Silicon Valley is working on it, the body doesn’t yet function like your phone. When you eat a slice of avocado toast, it doesn’t physiologically ring up, “1 slice bread, half avocado, dash of salt—that’s 400 calories, so she needs 1,600 more today.” Instead, it extracts the information from that food for cellular metabolic functions. The more understandable and consistent the information is—hello eating unprocessed food regularly through the day !—the more efficiently it will use the information to light up the body’s metabolic fire.
#3: 80/20: a good goal.
I don’t want to live without Reese’s peanut butter cups (especially the seasonal eggs!), prosecco, or a fully loaded pizza. And I wouldn’t want you to either. Set your mentality to eat healthy, whole foods 80% of the time, and then enjoy the heck out of the 20% when you’re celebrating.
#4: Ritual + routine are your best friends.
Do you eat the same thing for breakfast nearly every day? Sweet. Is your lunch typically a variation on a theme? Perfect. The more you automate things, the less mental energy and time you give to your choices. Despite my love of nutrition, I can say this: when we automate meals, worry around food begins to dissipate.
#5: 15 minutes of planning saves money and sanity.
More often than Dimity would like to admit, she finds herself at the grocery store on Tuesday (and maybe Thursday and Friday), after an expensive run on Sunday when she thought she had everything. Here’s the thing: sitting down for 15 focused minutes to plan weekly meals, do a sweep of the pantry, check what’s available in the freezer isn’t her favorite way to spend time—but it’s much preferable to rolling a cart down the frozen aisle for the third time in a week.
#6: Drink water before coffee.
No matter how good or bad your sleep was, you can count on this: you will be dehydrated when you wake up. Flushing your body with a big tall glass of water before waking up your mind with caffeine is one of the most effective ways to start your day off with a hydrated boost. Bonus points if you squeeze a slice of lemon into it; the citric acid in lemon wakes up your digestive juices. After all, fertilizer in your garden doesn’t work if the soil isn’t wet, right?
[Want a deeper dive into all things nourishing?
Join us for Simply Nourished Like a Mother: Starts August 22!]
#7: Protein anchors your blood sugar.
I’m not going to dive deep into insulin and blood glucose levels here, but know that protein is the equivalent of the suspension lines that hold down a hot air balloon, preflight. In addition to its many muscle-building benefits, protein minimizes cravings, hangriness, and mindless stress-based eating; I advocate having it with every meal and snack. Some of Dimity’s favorite easy protein sources, most of which she learned from Ellie: Turkey pepperoni, cottage cheese, chicken, string cheese, and collagen.
#8: Three of my favorite food groups: Roots, Fruits + Toots.
Seriously: these three super official groups are steeped in fiber, which is another stabilizing rope on your blood sugar (and mood!). Roots: sweet potatoes, beets. Fruits: anything goes, but especially fruit that is in season. Toots: lentils and beans, which offer up the one-two punch of protein and fiber. Include these in your daily menu as often as possible.
#9: Three more of my favorite things: sleep + sunlight + movement.
Your body needs more than nutrients, of course. With new clients, I often start with sleep patterns, since sleep—or lack thereof—has a profound effect on digestion, physiology, and subsequent eating patterns. Another “recipe” I often serve up: a quick walk outside in Vitamin D to ground your body + mind.
[Grab a week’s worth of our favorite dinner ideas.]
#10: Hormones are our superpowers.
We often think of hormones around PMS, perimenopause, and other times when they drag us into an emotional tornado. But hormones are not all bad. In fact, they are at the helm of every metabolic function in the body; they dictate our vitality.
While it might feel complicated to “strike hormone balance” it starts by getting in touch with your body, how it feels throughout the day and what the subtle blinking lights on your body’s dashboard are. The patterns you spot will tune you into the hormone imbalances that are stealing from your capacity to thrive.
Get in better touch with your superpowers by tracking these items daily:
- cognitive clarity
Within a few weeks, you will begin to see patterns, which a functional doctor or dietician can help you decode to bring out your best!
What simple nutrition tips do you use regularly?