Unfortunately, healthy eating isn’t always quite as simple or fast as, say, stopping at McDonald’s on the way home. Eating healthy all the time feels too expensive and inaccessible to many people. If it didn’t, everyone would make the right food choices. But here’s the thing: while eating better can definitely be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be an impossible one. There are ways to make it easier and more convenient, you just have to go through a little bit of an adjustment period. Here are a few tips to keep in mind…
Skip the fad diets, and simply start avoiding processed foods. Anything processed, like bags of chips, salty frozen meals, fast food, etc., is going to be loaded with salt, calories, and probably a dose of chemicals as well.
You’re better off eating whole foods, like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Basically, anything you could grow or raise should be the main part of your diet.
Instead of aimlessly wandering the grocery store thinking about what you want to eat the next night or two, put more thought into it. Before you go shopping, sit down and come up with a few meal ideas for the next few days and fill your cart with those items. This keeps you from buying unhealthy items you really don’t need and sets you up for success throughout the week.
Bonus tip: don’t go to the grocery store hungry, or you’ll end up buying all the snacks.
If you’re making the change from not eating that great to eating healthy, be realistic about your goals and expectations. Don’t Go into this thinking you’re going to 100 percent change everything immediately. It may take time for you to adjust, and it’s okay if you “mess up” and don’t eat super healthy every single day. It’s all about balance more than being “perfect.”
Set small goals, lower your expectations, and allow yourself to do the best you can under your own circumstances. Taking the pressure off will make things a little easier even if you don’t realize it right away.
One way to remove the temptation of eating unhealthy foods is to simply remove them from your kitchen. Toss any bags of chips or cookies that you want to remove from your life, and stock up on healthy options instead. Keep the fridge packed with fruits, veggies, yogurts, and other nutritious choices. Buy healthy snack options for the pantry. If the right foods are in your kitchen, you’re more likely to put the right foods in your body.
Protein and fiber are two kinds of food that are going to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. If you eat meals and snacks packed with these ingredients, you’re less likely to reach for junk food the rest of the day. Eggs, lean meats, poultry, and beans are great sources of protein. Fruits, veggies, and nuts can give you the fiber you need.
Spend half of one day preparing and making meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — or at least for some of them. Separate each meal into its own container and stock the fridge. When you’re hungry and short on time during the week, you can just grab one and heat it up.
You can prepare your own healthy snacks in bulk if you’d like, or simply buy them and keep them in your kitchen. It’s never a bad idea to take them with you whenever you’re going out too.
Some ideas for healthy snacks include protein bars that are low on sugar, carrots or celery sticks with hummus, Greek yogurt with apples or berries, a smoothie with lots of veggies or fruits (and no added sugar), or something like chia seed pudding that you can make on your own.
If you’re finding it difficult to work with fresh produce that has a short shelf life, stock up on frozen fruits and veggies that aren’t loaded with preservatives. These can make for quick smoothies or meals when you’re in a pinch. You can also stock up on frozen meats or seafood to use when needed.
Make some of your favorite meals more healthy instantly just by switching the way you cook them. Bake instead of sauteeing – baking or roasting uses less oil and is therefore healthier. Instead of traditional frying, use an air fryer, which also uses less oils and fat and can actually be a faster process.
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