Every year it seems to happen… you make those New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthy start to go by the wayside. We like to write about different ways to make life easier, so here are a few tips to keep heading in the right direction.
How To Eat Healthily
Understanding how to use food as fuel is crucial because, if you can strike the correct balance, it will be simpler to maintain a healthy lifestyle and energize your training, job, home, and social life.
There are three factors to think about in order to eat healthier:
- the kinds of meals you consume
- your eating habits, an
- your eating frequency.
Healthy eating is difficult at first, but trust us, it gets easier. Once you get into good habits and overcome your junk food cravings, you’ll eat healthy without even thinking about it. For now, embrace the fact that it’s difficult. There’s a quote in A League of Their Own that sums it up perfectly:
It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everybody would do it. The hard is what makes it great.
We are not going to post about specific diet plans, or give advice on what you should or should not eat. If you’d like that information, there is certainly no shortage of blogs, books and magazine articles on the topic. We can barely get through a day without being bombarded with messages about the latest “super food” or the so-called long-lost diet secret.
Instead, we are just going to help you make a healthy eating plan, whichever one it is that works best for you, as easy as possible to maintain. Also, we would like to commend everyone who has made a resolution to start eating healthy. If you’ve slipped up a few times, it’s okay, it happens to everyone. Keep with it! You can check out this cookbook to get started.
One last thing: We will write another post soon on keeping exercise-related New Year’s Resolutions, but until then, you can find some information about making exercise easy on this post.
- Plan all of your meals and snacks. The trick is to find a meal planning strategy that works best for you. One way is to rotate meals. If you know how to cook ten meals, cook those ten meals in a cycle until you’re ready to try something new. Or, you can designate a meal type to the day: Mondays are healthy casseroles, Tuesdays are a slow cooker meal, and so on. Finally, you can create a monthly plan. For instance, the first Monday of the month is salmon; the second Monday of the month is zucchini lasagna. You can find a meal planning printable template at the end of this post that you can customize for the meals and snacks that you’d like to use. Here are some other great meal planning tools:
- The Ziplist app and website: You can upload your own recipes or look through the ones that are posted, create a recipe box (which automatically creates a grocery list for you), and plan your meals.
- Get crafty with your meal planning! You can look up a lot of crafty ways to plan and display your meals. My favorite tips and plan are at iHeartOrganizing: Hungry for Some Meal Planning
- Make healthy eating a lifestyle and hobby. Go on health websites and blogs (add your name to their e-mail listservs), listen to podcasts, subscribe to magazines, follow sites on Facebook and Twitter, use text services, watch health movies and TV shows, download apps, and make a health site your computer home page. We highly recommend the following health websites and blogs: Fit-Bottomed Girls (http://fitbottomedgirls.com) and This Mama Cooks (www.thismamacooks.com).
- Learn how to make healthy recipes that you love. A healthy lifestyle is not about eliminating habits, it’s about replacing habits. The websites we have listed above have a lot of great, healthy recipes. Once you find a number of healthy meals that you enjoy, you will no longer feel deprived. This will also make meal planning much easier.
- Inevitably, at some point, you’re going to start craving junk food. Whatever your weakness, eventually it will find you. Have a game plan for what to do when this happens. Here are a few things that work for me: do a quick intense cardio workout (who can eat junk food after a workout?), eat a meal that is both filling and healthy (you usually only crave junk food when you’re hungry), or eat some very spicy food (this always curbs my appetite).
- Keep healthy snacks on hand all the time. Usually, healthy eating is sabotaged when you get hungry and reach for the quickest food you can find. This is when you pick up a candy bar from a vending machine or stop and grab some fast food. Keep healthy snacks on hand in your car and in your office. Some of my staples are almonds, healthy trail mix, kale chips, or pomegranate seeds.
- Keep a list of quick healthy food to make. Most healthy food is not food that you can just grab from your pantry, so you’ll need to keep items on hand at your house for quick, healthy snacks. Some ideas include a veggie omelet, tuna salad, or yogurt.
- Create a non-food reward system for yourself. For instance, once you’ve eaten healthy every day for 2 weeks, you can treat yourself to some new clothes or a manicure. Or, you can set a goal for how many days in a row you will eat well, put that many marbles in a jar, and keep an empty jar next to it. At the end of every day, if you’ve eaten healthy, you can move a marble from the “days I will eat healthy” jar to the “days I have eaten healthy” jar. We don’t recommend basing rewards on pounds lost or clothing size because it’s too easy to get frustrated. The days that you eat healthily are completely in your control, and it will make you proud of yourself when you meet this goal. Also consider adding into the mix options for foods that burn fat.
- Leave health reminders and messages around your house. You can find a picture in a magazine that you would love to buy when you’re at your desired size and post it on your dresser. Or you can post a motivational quote on your refrigerator.
- Get support. Let your friends and family know about your lifestyle change, and ask them to support your healthy choices. Try to find another person who is trying to start eating healthy. You can not only use her for support, but you can also share ideas and success stories.
- Look into joining a food coop in which you can buy healthy, organic food at wholesale prices (see www.coopdirectory.org find one in your area). We absolutely love my food coop. Not only do we save a lot of money, but we have gotten to know other health-oriented people who inspire one to eat nutritious food. If we see a woman who is older than us but looks fabulous, we hound them about their secrets (which are often related to nutrition). We also frequently swap recipes and sometimes even go hiking together. A good “food coop” can truly become a large and important part of your life and goals to eat healthily.
- Try to replace your cheap food oil with something more natural and healthy such as olive oil. Believe it or not, but oil plays a really important role in your healthy eating.
Ways to Stay Motivated to Eat Healthily
You’re not the only one who has resolved to eat better and exercise more. Exercise and weight loss are two of the most popular New Year’s commitments. Yet as time goes on, it’s simple to forget your goals and your new eating regimen and let your previous habits to return. Here are nine strategies to help you stay inspired to follow a healthy diet and accomplish your objectives for the upcoming year and beyond.
Have a Weigh-in
At around the same time every day or every other day, weigh yourself. The optimum time of day to do it may be in the mornings before eating because most individuals weigh less then.
Put money down
To assist you in achieving your nutritional and physical objectives, hire a personal trainer. Or pay for additional gym workout classes. You must genuinely put your achievement first. You’re more likely to commit to something when you pay for it. Think of it as your holiday gift to yourself.
Remove the junk stuff from your cabinets to create a fresh start as you transition to better eating practices. Throw away your bad decisions and replace them with better alternatives.
Schedule time to work out, prepare, and consume nutritious meals. You’ll find it’s simpler to stay with it if you arrange time for exercise the same way you schedule time for doctor’s visits. The same is true of eating well. Create a nutritious menu and a shopping list to bring to the store. When you make a list for your purchasing, it will be simpler to keep to your nutritional objectives. When the items you require are close at hand, you’ll also be better prepared to prepare wholesome meals and snacks at home.
Establish attainable objectives
A concrete strategy, as opposed to hazy hopes or too idealistic goals, can help you stay motivated. Be specific first. Instead of announcing, “I’m going to lose weight,” establish a target of losing 3 to 5 pounds in a month. Then, be honest. For example, instead of giving up sweets totally, state “I’m going to just eat dessert three times a week instead of seven.” If your nutrition plan contains realistic targets, you’ll be more likely to reach them.
You might want to stop eating seconds at any meal for a week or lose 2 pounds. Whatever it is, treat yourself to something modest when you succeed; just make sure it has nothing to do with eating. See the movies with a buddy. Take care of your nails. Purchase that sweater. Take your dog for a walk through the woods. These kinds of incentives can help you maintain your effort toward longer-term objectives.
Write it Down
Putting your actions on paper helps you concentrate on how they are assisting (or obstructing) your aims. You may review what you’ve eaten, which may be more or less than you think if you keep a food journal. It may be beneficial to join a web-based support group where you can share your food log with other members. You’ll be more inspired to maintain your good eating habits if you know that other people can see them.
Test out new dishes and Cooking Supplies
Search for wholesome recipes in newspapers and publications as well as online. Try the ones that most interest you. Adding new dishes to your regimen can keep your healthy eating plan exciting. It’s also simpler to remain with your objectives if you’re not bored. Another strategy to maintain enthusiasm for healthy cooking is to purchase new cooking supplies.
What happens if you give in and eat that slice of pecan pie or a bag of chips? Take it easy on yourself. Even if you can’t undo what you’ve already eaten, you may choose wiser options for your very next meal. It will be tougher to return to a healthy diet if you wait until tomorrow or Monday.
It may be simpler than you think to adopt a nutrition plan at the beginning of the year and maintain it as the months go by, especially if you use these tips as a guide.
We hope this has been helpful for you in sticking with your plan to eat healthily. Good luck with your change (or maintenance) in this great lifestyle choice!
Meal Planning Printables:
Meal Planning Printable, in Word for customizing: Meal Plan – Word
Meal Planning Printable, in pdf: Meal Plan – pdf