Since the beginning of the year, I have tried (and mostly succeeded) in eating healthier and working out at least 4 times a week. I had starting feeling bogged down and tired all the time because I was eating pretty terribly and I didn’t make time to burn some energy during working out.
This time, it’s sticking. I have been going (relatively) strong for over 6 months
months, which I guess really isn’t THAT long, but I can really feel like it’s getting easier to choose healthy foods. (I have probably the biggest sweet tooth ever, so trying to cut down a bit in sugar is super hard).
I wanted to share some tips on healthy eating that have worked for me. I am by no means perfect, but things are finally starting to sink in.
1. Don’t count calories! I think this is the biggest mistake people make when they try to eat “healthy”. They put a number in their heads and won’t go over this number. But, you could be eating empty calories with not much nutritional value at all. For example, a small bowl oatmeal is usually around 200 calories, which may seem like a lot for just oats, but the fat content is low relative to the calories, so your food is actually energy, and not just fats and sugar. (The same thing goes for Greek yogurt). Instead look at things like the fat content, fiber, and protein. These are my 3 favorite things to keep an eye on.
2. Plan your grocery shopping around specific meals. This was my biggest mistake. I would just go to the store and buy whatever I felt “led” to buy. Bad decision. I usually ended up with half meals and a whole lot of snacks. (aka not very healthy) It takes a bit of prior planning to plan out meals and make lists, but it is very much worth it. Look up recipes and shop only for those meals. Some of my favorite websites to find great healthy recipes are Real Simple and Martha Stewart. Also, this has helped me save a ton of money by not eating out. (And we all know eating out is more unhealthy 95% of the time) If I already know what I’m planning to make that night, I don’t have the desire to eat out.
3. Mix it up. Try new recipes. Try new foods. Try foods again that you thought you didn’t like. (Recently fell in love with salmon, which I hadn’t previously liked). It’s so fun to experiment with new foods and recipes. It makes eating healthier a whole lot more fun when you turn it into a cooking challenge. Yes, sometimes, the recipes fail or just taste gross, but that’s why you always keep cereal on hand! I think I’ve probably tried over 40 recipes this year and have loved at least 30 of them!
4. Eat (naturally) colorful. I always try to have a couple vibrant colors in my meals, not only because it looks pretty, but also because those foods are usually healthier for you. There’s so many different colorful options in the produce section; Go crazy!
5. Treat Yo’self. (in the words of Tom and Donna of Parks and Rec) But, for real, don’t cut out all sugar or desserts. (which is basically like cutting out all fun right?) This might just be my severe love for all things sweet, but I think it’s important to let yourself have some leeway. Just make sure to have sweets that are all natural. Bake your own cookies or buy unprocessed treats. I always keep a dark chocolate bar in the house to eat pieces of right after dinner. It’s the perfect little sweet to satisfy my cravings. I’m also a sucker for any pastry type food: scones, croissants, bagels. (Just stay away from Twinkies and Oreos please… those aren’t real food).
So, those are just a couple things that I have found really helpful these past couple months. I hope you are inspired to start feeling better about what you eat!