Nutrition Experts Reveal Their Healthy Eating Tips For 2023

Expert Advice

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When was the last time you savored every bite or really thought about what you’re eating every day? If you shrugged – we did too – it’s time to cultivate a healthier relationship with your meals and discover ways to make your meals serve your body like the temple it is! And no, we’re definitely not talking about dieting. Our goal this year is to be more conscious of what we put into our bodies and to make sure we’re treating our body with the love and nutrients it deserves.

On our quest to start this mission with all the facts, we met up with Michelle Kelly, a qualified nutrition & health coach, and Jeffrey Boadi, a plant-based nutrition advocate, researcher, and author of the Eat More Plants Recipe E-Book. They shared all their top tips and truths to help us (and you) have a happier and healthier 2023.

How to Eat Healthier in 2023

The truth is, both our experts agree that eating more healthily is a process. So if you’ve made the classic 2023 resolution to “eat healthier,” remember, like anything, it takes time to build these healthy eating habits, so be kind and patient with yourself.

The goal of “eating healthier” was definitely at the top of our list, but then we began to question how to eat healthy, like what are the healthiest foods to eat? And most importantly, how to eat healthy on a budget because, NGL, we’re kinda broke after the festive season.

Michelle said that this confusion is a common issue, “People can get caught up in New Year diets that are unsustainable and can lead to unhealthy relationships with food. Also, when entire food groups are removed (such as carbs), so too are lots of nutrients.” She recommends a step-by-step approach instead: “Focus on what you can add in instead of eliminating and work on creating small, consistent healthy habits. Think about how/ where you could add in one more vegetable, drink an extra glass of water … or try to get an extra 15 minutes of sleep nightly. Over a lifetime, this will add up to so much more than one strict January!”

Jeffrey adds that healthy eating has gained a bad rep over the years, explaining that many believe “eating in a health-promoting way means tasteless salads all day long and reducing calorie intake.” However, he confirms, “It’s so far from the truth, but it just requires awareness of the kind of foods you can eat, how you can enhance the flavor, and their impact on the body.” It’s about balance, baby!

How to Start Eating Healthier in 2023:

Healthy Eating Tip #1. Start Meal Prepping

If you want to eat healthier this year, Michelle and Jeffrey advocate for home-cooked meals. The internet’s packed with wholesome, nutritious recipes that can be quickly made and stored in your fridge, so you’re never tempted to order in. Meal prepping on a Sunday (or whenever you have the time) gives you total control over what you’re eating, so you can tweak your meals based on what you like and what you’re able to make.

Healthy Eating Tip #2. Prioritize Gut Health & Eat More Fiber

It turns out fiber is the under-hyped nutrient that’s not got the screen time it deserves. Jeffrey says, “Fiber is so important for regulating digestion and also increasing the growth of friendly bacteria in our digestive tract, which improves our overall health.” Michelle continues, “Getting enough fiber reduces our risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and colon cancers.” Jeffrey and Michelle recommend getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.

DW, it’s easy to hit your fiber goals with a plant-rich diet. Jeffrey says, “Fiber from plants is great for gut health but what is also key is to get a diverse range of different fiber-rich foods into the diet. So eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes from different sources is a good habit to build, regardless of what eating pattern you follow.” Michelle also reminds us that better gut health means an improved immune system, mood, and glowier skin.

How to: “Swap white rice, bread, and pasta for wholegrain versions, add a tin of beans to soups and stews, sprinkle a tbsp of nuts/seeds to breakfast, bulk up lunches and dinners with more fresh or frozen veg (equally great!) and have a few portions of whole fruit every day to increase your intake,” advises Michelle.

Healthy Eating Tip #3. Get More Plants on Your Plate

Michelle recommends including 30 different plants (rich in antioxidants that help prevent diseases) per week. It might sound like a lot, but she explains that this includes “vegetables, fruit, grains (rice, quinoa, oats, etc), beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.” *BRB running to the grocery store now.* Pssst, always check the discounted aisle for cheaper fruit & veg.

How to: Include more vegetables, fruit, grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices in your meals this year.

Healthy Eating Tip #4. Play with Wholefoods

As Jeffrey reminds us, healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or even restrictive. In fact, Michelle adds that “The healthiest diets in the world, such as the Mediterranean diet, are based on simple, nutritious whole foods. These are foods that are closest to their natural state – vegetables, fruit, grains, occasional fish or meat, and good quality oils.” Note to self: move to Europe.

Michelle also says to avoid “Buying ‘low-fat’ products [as] these are usually high in sugar or sweeteners to replace the fat removed.” Instead, she recommends “smaller portions of good quality full-fat versions such as full-fat Greek yogurt or cheeses.”

Michelle’s Fun Fact: “In the Blue Zones, the areas of the world where people live the longest, people aren’t taking protein powders or collagen supplements (all fine too!); they are eating simple, nutrient-dense foods every day that they make at home!”

How to: The easiest way to pack your meals with goodness, as Michelle reminds us, is to cook from scratch and avoid packaged foods with more than ten ingredients. Another helpful tip? Start small. Michelle suggests, “Add one tbsp of nuts to your breakfast or add one more vegetable to your usual lunch, and do this every day until it becomes a habit. Then introduce something new! Small, consistent habits add up massively.”

Healthy Eating Tip #5. Track Your Eating & Sleep Schedules

Instead of counting calories, Michelle recommends counting the number of hours between your meals. “Try to have a 12hr window without food daily. We weren’t designed to eat all the time, our digestive system needs a rest, and it improves our blood sugar regulation.” For example, if you finish dinner by 7:30 PM, avoid eating again until breakfast at 7:30 AM.

Getting your beauty sleep is essential too. Michelle confirms, “7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night is so important for both physical and mental health. It impacts our food choices, our mood, our likelihood of exercising, and it’s our body’s ability to repair.” In fact, she says that a lack of sleep often causes people to reach for foods higher in fat and sugar.

How to improve your sleep: “Try to form a good sleep routine (read, stretch, journal, do some meditation or anything you find relaxing before bed), avoid screens and dim the lights for a couple of hours before bed and make sure your room is dark or wear/eye mask to improve your sleep quality,” says Michelle.

Pro tip: Michelle spills, “Enjoy coffee before 12 pm but switch to decaf or avoid it after noon. Coffee has a half-life of 5-7 hours, meaning that 12 hours later, a quarter of it is still left in your system! This affects how soundly you can sleep.”

Healthy Eating Tip #6. Snack Responsibly

Firstly, it’s important to understand where our cravings come from. Michelle explains that, “Cravings occur when our blood sugar levels are low. It’s normal for our blood sugar levels to go up and down a bit, but we want to avoid ‘rollercoasters’ as these lows trigger cravings.”  The solution? Jeffrey explains that, “Properly balancing your meals and getting a good blend of macronutrients in (protein, complex carbohydrates, and fat)” will help avoid cravings.

The next time you’re snackish, examine what you’ve eaten that day and how you feel, as Michelle notes, “Stress, imbalanced hormones, tiredness, and dehydration can also cause cravings.” Michelle also reveals that many people mistake hunger for thirst, so make sure you’re drinking enough water. We like to aim for two to three liters a day.

They both warn against snacking out of habit. Jeffrey adds, “Consider whether it’s actually hunger … or if it’s boredom – so many of us eat when we are bored.” #Guilty.

Pro tip: Stash your kitchen with healthy snacks like nuts and fruit instead of those naughty options that could lead to a sugar crash down the line. Michelle recommends a handful of almonds and an apple, or try Jeffrey’s date recipe (above). If you’re trying to avoid certain snacks, Jeffrey advises against buying them altogether or storing them out of sight. Also, make sure you drink at least two liters of water daily and always start your day with a glass of H20, as Michelle tells us that we always wake up dehydrated after a night’s sleep.

Healthy Eating Tip #7. Be More Mindful When You Eat

This may surprise you, but according to Michelle, “How we eat is just as important as what we eat.” It’s so important to be present when you’re eating, so try to stay off any devices, avoid wolfing down your meals, and give thanks to the food that’s nourishing your body.”

She goes on to explain that “Many digestive complaints such as bloating and IBS stem from us eating in an anxious, distracted state. It’s so important to chew your food properly, sit down to eat meals without scrolling, and take a few deep breaths first if you’re feeling stressed. Your body will thank you for it!”

Speaking of food and healthy lifestyles, here are five foods that will help you sleep better!