So you want to eat healthy?
For those of us trying to eat healthier, I can say for sure that it can be a struggle. My typical taste preferences range from unhealthy to unhealthier, with nachos and ice cream topping the list!
It seems like when I do get on an eating healthy kick, I search around for recipes, go out and buy fancy ingredients, try it for a bit and then run out of steam. All the while having less money in my bank account, and more unused stuff in my cupboards.
Its when you begin to look at your current lifestyle that you can begin to adapt for your future goals.
Don’t try and fit a lifestyle you haven’t developed yet. Make it fit you. And that will be the first step you take.
What Does this Mean?
Basically what this means for most of us is not to throw out all the junk food and replace it with quinoa and broccoli just yet. Find out what you like, what you usually eat, and what your health goals are.
For example, my family was never big on vegetables, but we do like bell peppers and anything with spice. One of the first things we began to do was to make sure that we have bell peppers on hand, and we used this to make breakfast scrambles, stir fry’s, and Mexican inspired dishes.
At other times, we began to experiment with recipes and foods that we already knew we liked, or were similar to foods we like (for example, I started to make a chili that used quinoa instead of ground beef and was loaded with veggies).
If you shock your system by forcing yourself to only eat foods that you do not like yet then you are likely going to lose the motivation to keep it up.
I remember the first time I had a green smoothie. I was all gung ho about being healthy so I loaded it up with spinach and kale and only a couple of strawberries. I don’t think I tried to have another smoothie for a loooong time after that (imagine if I had quit then!).
The next time I made a smoothie I had it about 3/4 fruit and 1/4 cucumber. I then slowly moved into incorporating more leafy vegetables and decreasing the amount of fruit. Now I have smoothies that are approximately 3/4 vegetables and I am very satisfied with how they taste.
Because they taste awesome.
|Green Smoothie Love!|
Sustainability and Planning
In my experience, the main barriers to starting a diet change are sustainability and planning.
By sustainability, I’m referring to how much time you need to cook meals. If you you do not have the time to invest in this on a consistent basis, then it will be unsustainable.
But don’t worry- that’s where planning comes in!
If you are successful with eating healthier, but run into situations where you do not have the time to cook the healthier meals that you have been preparing, or have not planned on not having that time, that is where the frozen pizzas or ordering takeout come in. Soccer nights, fussy babies, doctors appointments, these are all occasions where I personally have fallen back into the trap of eating fast food or other quick yet unhealthy options.
A wonderful solution to this is meal prep and meal planning. These can be major ingredients for success and sustainability for your new healthier lifestyle.
Meal prep can be many things, and there are some amazing resources on the internet (like this one) and on Pinterest about preparing food all at once to divide out later, and how to do so while minimizing wasted food.
Meal planning is when you make a meals schedule based on what you have, and using up what you have in a well thought out rotation (for example when I made my stuffed peppers recipe, I used the leftover Mexican rice to make burrito bowls the following day. I then used the remaining quinoa and tomatoes used in these recipes to make vegetarian chili for the 3rd day).
Furthermore, freezer meals are a fantastic way of ensuring that you always have something healthy that you can either dump into the crock pot, or pop in the oven on a hectic day. Because even the meals that you have prepared that may not fit the mold of being “healthy” will still beat fast food or takeout because you know what is in them, and they will likely have significantly less additives.
Eating Healthy Can be Easy, Delicious and Sustainable
Meal prep, meal planning and creating easy freezer meals are all fantastic ways of making eating healthy easier. Sometimes all it takes is just cutting and preparing all your veggies when you get back from the store to ensure that you save time, and always have them available to snack on or to add to recipes.
How do you make healthy eating fit your lifestyle?
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