Have you ever thought, “Today is the day I am going to eat healthier!” and had every intention on doing so, got started, and said, “NOPE, this is too much work?” Well, let me tell you you’re NOT alone. I was once someone like you and I had tried countless times to eat ‘healthier’ and failed over and over again. Through the steps I am going to list below, I finally got it. Let my discovery help you succeed in your journey ahead to eat and lead a healthier lifestyle. I am going to provide you with 10 easy and foolproof steps to get you there in no time at all!
1. Throw out processed foods
If there is really one piece of advice I can share with you is to get rid of any and all processed junk foods in your pantry! I know it might seem like a waste, but it is an important step to keep you moving in the right direction. If you think you will open up that cupboard and NOT be tempted by the processed ‘goodness’, you are gravely mistaken. Getting rid of any and all temptations will only prove successful in the long run. You may hate it now, but you will definitely thank me later!
2. Meal prep
If there is one step that will help you from trying to take a shortcut on a meal or snack, meal prepping is going to become your best friend! So many people, including myself, do not want to come home from work and have to encounter the dreaded question, “what to make for dinner?” Many answer that question with a frozen dinner or a fast food option. Meal prepping is going to make the answer to that question even easier! Spending a couple of hours, one day during the week, is all that is needed. If you are thinking that there is NO way you are going to eat the same thing over and over again for a week, I have an easy solution for you. Make enough meals and snacks for 2-3 days and repeat! Easy peasy. Now, there are a couple of ways to go about doing this. If you are totally lovin’ the idea of eating the same thing over and over again, then get all your meals prepped in separate dishes in advance and all you have to do it grab one from the fridge and you’re all set. Another way is to prep bulk foods like veggies, grains, and proteins, store them in separate containers and mix and match as you please. I personally do a majority of my prepping on Sundays, but find a day that works best for you and go forth and make a mess in the kitchen!
3. Start cooking at home more
With all the meal prepping you are going to do from step #2, there is no reason to want to eat out anymore! If you are wondering, “what the heck am I going to cook?” Start by recreating your favorite dishes from restaurants. That is an easy way to make cooking at home fun and exciting. Just think, you might actually make your favorite meal better than what you’d get at the restaurant!
4. Replace snacks with healthier options
Fruits! Fruits! And more fruits! I personally love fruit because I also have a massive sweet tooth! My favorite food used to be candy, but incorporating more fruits has switched my cravings from candy to delicious and nutritious fruit. Fruits are also a very compact snack to bring with you anywhere. Pack a banana, apple, pear, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple…I mean the list goes on and on! The sky’s the limit here.
5. Drink more water
DRINK MORE WATER! Around 60% of an adult body is made up of water. To replenish and stay hydrated you will need to keep drinking. Everyone will be different on their requirements and if you take into consideration water that you get from the foods that you eat, it can get confusing. So, to make it simple, drink when you are thirsty and then drink some more. Also, take a gander at what your urine looks like. If it is pale yellow then you are doing great, but if you see your urine as either dark yellow or orange then please drink MORE! It’s as simple as that.
6. Start reading ingredients
This one is quite simple. If you stick to eating whole foods and really limit your processed foods, then you won’t be reading much. But, if you are buying something that has ingredients, look for limited ingredients and names you can actually pronounce. If it takes you 5 seconds to try and just sound out an ingredient, then stop right there and put that item back on the shelf! Trust me, it’s not worth it. It might take a little longer to buy groceries, but after awhile you’ll get the hang of it and the outcome is well worth the added effort.
7. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Has anyone really ever said, “You know what I think would help, eating LESS fruits and vegetables.” NO! Because that would be the worst advice ever. Adding in more fruits and vegetables will only add vital minerals and nutrients that your body NEEDS. Plus, the rumors you heard about vegetables tasting bland and gross and so outdated. There are a plethora of different and delicious ways to prepare them that could easily include roasting, grilling, steaming, and every now and again, covering them with a batter and frying them. Fruits are an easy way to incorporate much needed vitamins and guess what, they are SO tasty! So buck up buttercup and eat more fruits and veggies!
8. Eat mindfully
So many people eat semi-consciously, chewing and swallowing food without really tasting it. We all have been guilty of either wolfing food down in 10 seconds or less because life is just too busy or plopping ourselves on the couch and eating mindlessly while watching our favorite show. Taking time to actually sit and enjoy your food is an act that is so easily overlooked. I dare you to make a meal, sit at your kitchen table, set a timer for 20 minutes, and see if you can actually take that LONG to eat your food. I have always been a guzzler when eating my food and never actually took the time to E.A.T. I strongly urge you to try the timer method and see what happens. It might take some practice, but practice makes perfect, right?
9. Eat more of what you like
Let’s just say that you are struggling to eat more veggies because you only like broccoli and potatoes, well start eating more broccoli and potatoes! It’s that simple. You can be a little creative with this step and prepare your favorite healthy foods in different ways. For example, if you like fruit smoothies, add in some spinach or kale and voilà, you just added some much needed leafy greens without even tasting them! If you really like potatoes, try oven roasted them with some different seasonings, twice baking them and add some chili on top, or get really fancy and try out hasselback potatoes! Start simple and once your confidence starts to build, only the sky’s the limit!
10. Balance is key
I am here to tell you that eating 100% healthy 24/7 is not an ideal way to go about doing this. If you start to deprive yourself of foods you used to enjoy and love then you will only end up resenting the ‘healthy’ lifestyle and easily revert back to what you were used to. If you want a cookie at some point, then eat a cookie. If you want to indulge on some chips or ice cream then eat some freakin chips and enjoy some ice cream. I have tried to go about the 100% way of eating and I have only resorted back to binging on the ‘unhealthy foods’ because I didn’t allow myself to live a little. Eat a majority of healthy foods and don’t forget to entertain your wild side every once in awhile!
Eating healthy and sticking to it is as easy as those 10 steps! I am not going to lie to you, it is not only going to be an as easy road from here on out. When times get tough just remember the reason behind why you started this new journey in the first place…your health and well-being! If you know someone who wants to tag along on this adventure with you then go get them now. I always say, “the more the merrier!” So make a new shopping list of all your favorite healthy foods and go after it! You got this!
You can follow me on my Instagram page @joyfulbeets to see the healthy recipes I create and the foods I eat! I would love to hear what your favorite healthy recipes are in the comments below. I always love to try out new and exciting foods!