Eating healthier has never been more important. Our baseline health levels have a huge impact on how well we can fight off serious illnesses. Poor health will strip your quality of life. To stay healthy, you need to make healthy choices on a regular basis.
Unless you have a bottomless pocketbook, eating healthy is going to take some planning. Sadly, food with a low nutritional value is often cheaper than healthy food. To overcome this, you will likely need to learn at least basic cooking. Luckily, there are many cookbooks and tools on the market that can help.
Be aware that healthy eating doesn’t mean nothing but salads. It means eating in balance. You need fiber with every meal, but vegetable soup will work on a cold day. Lean protein is key to good health, so cook up a batch of chicken breasts to heat up for your lunch with some steamed broccoli. Rice is cheap and brown rice is healthier. You like a sandwich but aren’t crazy about wheat bread, so start making your lunchtime sandwich with one slice of white and one of rye or whole oat. Over time, your taste will change.
Restaurants want you to leave sated and happy. They’re not really focused on your healthy eating goals. While you’re making the switch to a healthier diet, try to avoid restaurants. Once you’re in a restaurant, start with water. Choose a sensible meal with nothing fried if you can avoid it. As soon as your plate arrives, ask for a to-go container and put half of your meal in the container.
One of the challenges to eating smart is that we’re bona fide members of the clean plate club. How many times have you cleaned your plate but can only remember the flavor of the first few bites? Be in charge of your food intake by managing what you’re going to eat before you pick up your knife and fork.
At home, strive to eat off different dishes. Have a single casserole serving on a bread roll plate and put your salad in a cereal bowl. Again, drink water before, during and after your meal to stay aware of your level of fullness.
3. Cook Ahead
While you’re working to eat healthier, pay attention to your cooking habits. A simple way to eat better is to have healthy food at hand. Cooking ahead can be done at mealtimes, but it’s easier to do on the weekend.
While you have the cutting board out to make soup in the crockpot, chop up the ingredients for a salad that you can enjoy for lunch for a couple of days this week. Start a veggie based casserole, such as eggplant Parmesan, and bake a couple of potatoes while the casserole is baking.
Invest in single serving food containers you can freeze. Treat yourself to an insulated lunch bucket. Put a single serving frozen food in the bottom of the bucket for your lunch. Add an apple, a container of yogurt, and a small bag of nuts. You now have food for lunch, a morning snack loaded with calcium, an afternoon snack loaded with fiber, and something crunchy for when you’re bored.
Before you go to the grocery store, eat something that’s insanely healthy for you. It might be a slice of whole grain toast and an apple, or plain yogurt with fresh fruit. Make it something you’re really proud of. Now you can go to the grocery store.
Shopping for food is all about believing in yourself and your future goals. If you’re tired, stressed, starving and in a hurry, you will buy things that make you feel good now. Yes, cookies and chips will probably make you feel pretty good right now. So will a bottle of wine, but nutritionally this is not your best choice. Walking into the store feeling proud of your food choices will help you make better decisions.
If you’re hungry for something different, scope out some of the processed foods for a flavor change. Make sure you study the portion control information on the side of the box or can. Finding out you just had four servings of whatever you cooked is not good news and can set you back quite a way in terms of your confidence. Do your research.
A daily vitamin supplement is generally a good idea. However, you can’t use supplements to cover food groups that you just plan to ignore. If you don’t like broccoli, you can’t avoid all vegetables with a vitamin supplement. Veggies offer a wide variety of textures and flavors, and you need the nutrients from them that you can’t get in a pill. Strive to gain the greatest health benefits from real food.