September Challenge: Eating Whole Foods

Ate Food Journal

Kitchen table with meat and vegetables. Image: Pexels - Vanessa Loring

As we’re into the first week of September, and we’re getting back into the groove of things, many of us are looking for ways to revamp our health and wellness routines. One simple and effective way to make positive changes is to focus on eating more whole foods. Whole foods are minimally processed and packed with the nutrients our bodies need.

To help you achieve this goal, we have compiled five actionable tips that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Additionally, keeping track of your progress through journaling can boost your motivation and make the journey even more rewarding. Journal your meals and progress in Ate, as it provides an intuitive and visually appealing experience to document your food choices.

Tip 1: Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables

One of the easiest and most effective ways to incorporate more whole foods into your diet is by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. These colorful wonders are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try switching out processed snacks for carrot sticks, apple slices, or a handful of berries. Additionally, adding a side of greens to your meals or trying out new vegetable-based recipes can make a significant difference in your overall nutrient intake.

Tip 2: Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains

Swap out refined grains like white bread, pasta, and rice with whole grain alternatives. Whole grains retain their valuable nutrients and fiber, providing extra health benefits. Opt for whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, or oats to increase your whole food consumption. Look for products with “whole grain” as the first ingredient to ensure you’re making the right choice. Remember, listen to your body to see what works best for you when making changes like these. 

Tip 3: Choose the Protein that Fits your Lifestyle

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps repair and build body tissues and supports a healthy immune system. Choose lean sources of proteins, such as chicken breast, fish, tofu, legumes, and/or Greek yogurt. These options are lower in saturated fat and higher in essential nutrients.

Even try experimenting with vegetarian recipes, replacing meat with plant-based alternatives like lentils or chickpeas. Adding more plant-based proteins to your diet can be a fantastic way to increase your whole food intake. Lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all excellent sources of plant-based protein. Experiment with new recipes that incorporate these ingredients, such as veggie stir-fries, lentil soups, or black bean tacos.

Tip 4: Include Healthy Fats in Your Meals

Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, are essential for our body’s overall well-being. These fats provide energy, support brain function, and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Add avocado slices to your sandwich or salad, sprinkle some nuts and seeds on your yogurt or oatmeal, and use olive oil for cooking and dressing.

Tip 5: Snack Smarter

Instead of reaching for packaged snacks filled with preservatives and additives, aim to snack on whole foods. Nuts, seeds, yogurt, and hummus with vegetables are all wholesome options. Keep these items readily available in your pantry or fridge to make healthier snacking decisions throughout the day. By choosing whole foods for your snacks, you are nourishing your body and avoiding unnecessary empty calories.

How to journal this in Ate?

Create a custom September challenge question with tags of the 5 tips or the ones that you want to focus on. Did your food check off one of the options? Tag the meal and add it as On-path to help you see how you’re working towards it! Did you steer off a little, no worries! Simply mark it as Off-path to help get yourself back On-path with your next meal! Most importantly, reflect! See how adding more whole foods into your diet makes you feel? Is there a food not sitting well with you, swap it out. Loving something? Make note of it! Having more energy? Keep at it! Only you know what works best for you and your body. 

Eating more whole foods is a powerful way to enhance your health and well-being. By following these five actionable tips, you can gradually incorporate more whole foods into your diet, building sustainable habits that will benefit you in the long run. Remember to track your progress using the Ate app to stay motivated and accountable on your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Cheers to a September health challenge filled with nourishing, delicious foods!

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