A well-functioning body, operating at optimal capacity, is a pro at sending out clear orders—and feedback—about what it needs. For example, it will let you know when you need to eat or sleep or move. But when your diet is less than ideal, those messages can be less straightforward. Here’s how to listen a bit more carefully to the signs that you diet needs a do-over.
Salads seem obligatory
If you eat salad because you should—not because you want to—you are not rocking the salad thing. Salad is just a generic term for vegetable-focused. Try spiralizing your veggies, or mixing up leftovers on a bed of mixed greens. Salad can include a whole world of food, from middle-eastern themed hummus plates to burrito bowls. Don’t get stuck in an iceberg lettuce rut—go wild in the produce aisle and let your imagination run amok.
You eat takeout all the time
If you find yourself eating takeout several times a week, or even every day, you might not be doing yourself a favor, as healthy as it may seem. Michael Pollan, author of five New York Times Best Sellers: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, The Botany of Desire, In Defense of Food, Food Rules and, mostly recently, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, points out the restaurant industry specializes in foods that contain an irresistible combination of salt, fat, and sugar designed to keep you coming back for more. Food made from scratch is inherently healthier than food made by a corporation.
You are always hungry
You are not getting enough healthy, filling foods that keep you satisfied. Most probably, the reason is a lack of fiber and protein, both of which are key to keeping the grumblies away. Hardboiled eggs are a great lunch addition, as is whole grain toast or rice cakes.
You eat the same sad desk lunch almost every day
The key to a healthy diet is diversity. Mixing it up makes life not only more interesting, but healthier too, as variety ensures you get more of the nutrients you need. Try foods you have never tried before as well as foods you don’t think you like, as our palette is constantly evolving—if we give it a chance.
You are wiped out
Snacking regularly on heavily processed foods can balloon your blood sugar levels leaving you drained. Nothing sets you up for a crash like sugar, and sugar can hide in a lot of surprising foods such as salad dressings and baked beans. Another cause of depletion is dehydration, so make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Steer clear of sugar for a week or so and notice how it affects your energy levels.