Do you know the palm rule?

Whether you’re dieting because your weight prevents you from being physically active and healthy or you just want to become more mindful about the foods you use to nourish your body and mind, trying to eat a healthy diet can get stressful…

…and, sometimes when we get stressed, we eat more, exercise less, and, well, give up.

Which is entirely opposite of what you’re trying to achieve!

Below, I’ve listed three simple tips that can help you keep your diet simple, and therefore (I hope!) stay motivated and successful.

Feel free to chime in with your own tips in the comments, and remember: This isn’t a one-size-fits-all, prescription for diet, fitness, or weight loss as any of them relate to physical and mental health. These are merely tips, to be added or avoided as they work (or don’t) for the individual.

1. Model your day after a pyramid.

This isn’t your typical food pyramid; actually, it’s not even right side up.

Think of an inverted pyramid – one with the pointy tip pointed south. Now, imagine fitting your daily meals into that pyramid. Breakfast would be pretty big, right? Dinner would be much smaller.

Despite the fact that we need more calories at the beginning of the day (when we’re more active) than at the end of the day (when we’re winding down and going to bed), people tend to eat smaller breakfasts (a bowl of oatmeal) and larger dinners (spaghetti, rolls, a salad).

So, try flipping your pyramid. Have a bigger breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a smaller dinner.

NOTE: Some folks incorporate snacks throughout the day, and some follow a five- or six-meal-day-plan. If this is you, you can still incorporate the inverted pyramid plan. All you have to do is make meals and snacks go from big to small throughout the day.

2. Stick to one-ingredient foods.

Sticking to as many one-ingredient foods as you can helps you figure out the healthiest foods to eat during the day.

Examples of one-ingredient foods include:

  • Protein foods like chicken, eggs, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
  • Fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, carrots, grapes, and oranges. Oh, and avocados. I am having a serious affair with avocados right now.
  • Grains like corn, oats, rice, whole wheat, and granola.

3. Follow the “palm rule.”

The palm rule is a simple rule to help you master portion control: If the portion is bigger than your palm, it’s too big.

This doesn’t mean your entire plate; rather, the foods on it. For example, if you’re having a salad and baked potato for lunch, neither should be bigger than your palm.

If you’re okay with taking things a step further, the palm rule does branch out to include different foods for different “parts” of the palm. For example, LIVESTRONG suggests a loosely cupped palm is the proper size for snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and chips. Check it out at How to Measure Palm Portion Sizes.

What about you, readers? What simple tips can you add to help folks keep their diets simple? Let us know in the comments below!