Dare yourself to have a more nutritious day

So many things to celebrate today! Not only is it St. Patrick’s Day, but it is also smack dab in the middle of National Nutrition Month in the U.S., and who doesn’t want to take a minute to recognize that?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t out-train a poor diet”?

Well, now you have. It’s true. Eating healthy and nutritious foods is incredibly important for everybody, whether you have specific fitness goals or not. If you eat right, you will feel better. Point blank.

Because nutrition is so important, and certainly something I care about, I’m teaming up with the friendly folks at UnitedHealthcare today, in conjunction with the company’s “We Dare You” campaign. The campaign is all about encouraging people to take small steps in the right direction to get healthy, while at the same time entering to win pre-paid gift cards. Last month, I shared a few tips on “How to start moving more every single day,” and in March, timed perfectly, it’s all about nutrition. 

Five ways to have a more nutritious day by A Lady Goes West

If you think you’ve got your nutrition where it needs to be, then maybe you can pass these tips along to someone in your life who needs a little help. Granted, I’m not a Registered Dietitian, and you should certainly seek counsel from one for a personalized plan on how to improve your diet. But I do know a thing or two about living a healthy life, so here are a few things I believe in from my personal experience …

Five ways to have a more nutritious day

1. Eat a balanced breakfast. Yes, believe it or not, there are still people out there skipping breakfast, who may think that they are better off for missing a meal and avoiding those calories. But they are wrong. Starting your day off with a meal including fruits, veggies, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats is how you fuel your body and your mind for the day. Eating a good breakfast will set the tone for a good day, and it may help you make better food choices throughout the day. Breakfast is a great chance to drink a green smoothie with tons of nutrients, or enjoy a make-ahead meal like my favorite overnight oats.

WIAW breakfast of oats and tea

2. Add fruits and veggies to every meal. Could you pair an apple with your afternoon snack? Could you sneak some extra veggies into your lunch-time sandwich on whole wheat bread? Strive to add more colorful fruits and veggies to every single meal, and you’ll be increasing your intake of valuable nutrients and antioxidants, all of which can potentially improve your demeanor and body’s ability to perform. It’s not that hard. Grab a seasonal piece of fruit, throw it in your bag, wash it and eat it alongside a meal or snack. Voila. You’re one step closer to reaching your daily intake needs.

Veggies

3. Practice portion control. Did you know you can use your hands to measure out the portions you should be using to create the perfect plate? And with restaurants serving double-portions and our own dining-ware growing in size, it’s important to be able to eyeball the appropriate amount of something you should be eating so you don’t go overboard. Make sure the colorful fruits and veggies take up most of the room when you’re eating, and section off the rest using your best visualization from these cues:

  • Lean meats should be roughly the size of a deck of cards (3 ounces)
  • Whole grains should be roughly the size of a tennis ball (1/2 cup)
  • Healthy fats and nut butters should be the size of a ping-pong ball (2 tablespoons)
  • Milk or yogurt should be roughly the size of a baseball (1 cup)
  • Cheese should be roughly the size of your thumb (1 ounce)
  • Veggies should take up about half the plate

4. Prepare more meals at home. While there are plenty of “healthy” options at restaurants, the only way you can be sure of what you’re eating is if you make it at home. While it’s tough to make all your meals ahead of time at home, with a little bit of food prep on the weekends, you should be able to put together a couple of snacks and lunches. If you eat most of your meals out, strive to cook just one-to-two at home at first and go from there. Incorporate plenty of fresh vegetables and try a new recipe, while you’re at it. Think whole foods and less packaged foods.

Ashley in apron

5. Drink more water and swap out soda for green tea. Okay, okay, I know so many people are obsessed with their soda. I gave up soda a few years ago, and I know it’s not easy. If you are used to reaching for a diet soda or regular soda in the afternoons or with your lunch, I challenge you to grab an infused-water or even a low-calorie nutrient-rich coconut water, mineral water or hot or cold green tea instead. Soda is not doing you any favors, whether it has calories or not. But water and green tea are beneficial, and your body can do so much more when it is hydrated. Drink up!

Yes, becoming healthier can be as easy as taking a small step every single day in the right direction, like adding some extra veggies or being extra cautious of your portions. It’s so worth it, so I dare you to pick one or all of these tips and give them a try.

Join the “We Dare You” campaign to win pre-paid gift cards

Speaking of dares, you can be a part of UnitedHealthcare’s “We Dare You” campaign, whether you are a UnitedHealthcare member or not, just by entering to win.

Visit the We Dare You website, share some photos of your healthy eats or complete other activities shown below. This contest is open to everyone in the U.S., and you can enter once a day, every day for extra chances to win. So what are you waiting for?

To enter, all you have to do is go to the We Dare You website and do any of the following:

  • Share a photo or video of your healthy breakfast 
  • Test your smarts and answer a quiz question about nutrition
  • Watch a video on “How to read food labels” and share your opinion 

There are weekly prizes of $25 pre-paid gift cards and monthly prizes of $400 pre-paid gift cards, so you have plenty of chances to win. I’ve already entered myself a couple times this month.

There you go, my friends, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you have a lovely Tuesday. Be safe, have fun and add some nutrition to your day. See you back here tomorrow!

**Disclosure: This post was sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, however all the views and opinions are completely my own.

Questions of the day

What’s something you are striving to do to improve your nutrition? Do you have any other tips for adding nutrition to your day? 

Ashley signature

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44 Comments

  1. Ooo I love this post! I totally agree with all your points. I still can’t understand people that skip breakfast! It’s my favourite meal of the day :D. Although, I have many friends that still do and it looks like all my preaching has gone lost haha. Have a fantastic day!

    1. Hi Taca! I know! I can’t understand not eating breakfast, but then again, it’s been ingrained in me since I was a small child. Hope you have a lovely day too!! πŸ™‚

  2. I love this, Ashley! I think drinking water and staying hydrated is SO important and its free! Every Wednesday I shoot out a Wellness Wednesday email to our employees- definitely using some of these tips for tomorrow!

    1. Hi Megan! Yes, lots of veggies and lots of water helps to fill you up. Veggies can be very hydrating too, because I believe they carry water in them! Happy St. Patty’s to you! πŸ™‚

  3. My biggest way to stay healthy is to limit going out to eat and cooking more at home. I also keep the food in the kitchen and we make our plate and bring it to the dining room. This way, we aren’t tempted to get more just because it’s in front of us!

  4. Start every savory meal with a salad! I use my time when I am making my salad to come up with what else I am having–that way my prep is already done when I am ready to cook something else

    1. A very good idea, Susie! I don’t always have salad with dinner, but it makes a lot of sense to fill up on it first. Good work! Hope you have a lovely St. Patty’s Day! πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve been trying to improve my nutrition a lot this year! I started bringing breakfast every morning to work, pack every day, and stopped drinking pop. I also drink a ton more water throughout the day!

    1. Adding veggies to breakfast! That’s the hard part for me, because I love a sweet breakfast. Thanks, Marielle! Good luck getting your daily intake!

  6. Eating meals at home is so important! I don’t think everyone realizes what a difference it can make. And i totally agree with swapping out soda with green tea. It’s all i drink in the afternoons πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Beverley, Yes, it’s very important to make meals at home, and I do that for most of my meals, except dinners out on the weekend of course. And YAY for green tea! Today is a day when green tea gets some extra attention, right? Have a lovely day!!

    1. Hi Heather! Good for you! I really don’t miss soda at all! I can’t believe I used to drink it every single day. Happy St. Patty’s Day to you! πŸ™‚

  7. These are fab tips! I too agree on eating/including more fruits/veggies at each meal πŸ™‚ For me the water thing is something I’m constantly working on b/c I just get busy/distracted, but I’ve gotten much better.

  8. Great tips and great post. I try to choose everyday to make it a healthy one. It is not always easy but feels good when you make the better choices.

  9. Great tips! I’m trying to consciously work on a couple things right now – adding back in veggies and focusing on increasing my water intake. Being pregnant has made me a little lazy with my food prep, not to mention veggies aren’t exactly the most appealing. πŸ˜‰ But, I think I’m getting over the rough part and healthy foods I used to eat are sounding a lot better again – yay! I also am working on drinking lots of water as I can easily just forget and get distracted.

    1. Hi Ash! I know you said you haven’t been craving veggies, but perhaps that will change as you move along in your pregnancy. Lots of water for sure!! πŸ™‚ Happy St. Patty’s Day! πŸ™‚

  10. If I skip breakfast, I’m almost always doomed for a bad day of eating. I always try to keep something quick and microwavable or greek yogurt for when I’m late and need to grab and go.

    1. Hi Courtney, that’s good you know how to plan for an emergency breakfast situation hhehe! Hope you had a lovely St. Patty’s Day! πŸ™‚

  11. Aren’t you cute in your apron! I love all these tips. It’s so easy to make minor adjustments that can make a huge difference in your diet. I’m a huge advocate of staying hydrated and find so many people who aren’t getting enough water. I love my healthy foods and try to only have treats in moderation. Hope you are having a great St. Patty’s Day!

    1. Thanks, Jenna! Love the apron! And yes, hydration is so important. But so are treats in moderation! Hope you’re having a great St. Patty’s Day! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Eden! Thank you! And yes, I’m a huge believer in a good breakfast — so I’m glad you’re on board with that. Hope you had a lovely day! πŸ™‚

  12. I just started learning about true nutrition about a year ago, so I continue to look for the balance in my diet. Recently my focus has been on staying hydrated and starting my day off correctly with a good breakfast. I’m looking forward to really finding and understanding what a fulfilling everyday diet looks like for me! Thanks for your tips!

  13. I struggle with eating breakfast, even when I’m hungry! Having a smoothie on hand has been helpful but there are still days when I run out the door in a hurry, smoothie less. I’m making more of an effort to stick to a breakfast routine.

    1. Hi Pragati! Have you tried making overnight oats in a jar to take with you in the morning? That way all you have to do is grab it from the fridge! Hope you have a great day! πŸ™‚

  14. Love all these tips, Ashley! One of the things I really am striving for is starting my morning out with a balanced breakfast – more often than not, I just end up eating a banana and a cup of tea, which certainly isn’t giving me the power for my day that I need. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration!

    1. Hi Sarah! I know, I know, it’s hard to change a habit! But hopefully you can muster up some balanced breakfasts to start the day on the regular here soon. Have a wonderful evening! Hope your birthday was fab! πŸ™‚

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