Healthy eating is something that is very important for overall health but something most people seem to struggle with. Whether you're trying to lose weight, improve your health, or feel better overall, developing a strong healthy eating habit is key.
If you're able to follow a well-balanced diet, it can ensure that you are getting all the vitamins and nutrients you need to achieve your health goals and feel your best daily.
It can sound like a tough task, but making small changes over time will really help ensure your success when becoming a healthier eater. If you change everything all at once, you are less likely to be a success. Start with one small thing, like stop drinking sugary drinks or switching to healthier snacks rather than chips. Remember slow and steady wins the race. It's more likely to stick as a habit, changing one thing at a time.
Check out these other simple ways to become a healthier eater below:
1. Figure Out Your Why
Any goal that you are trying to achieve, it’s important to figure out your “why.” Why are you making this change? Why are you wanting to become a healthier eater and what this will accomplish for your life? No matter how big or small the reason is, think about it, write it down even. This will really help you in the long run and on the hard days.
It can simply be, you want to feel better about yourself. Be a more active person. Stop feeling “blah” all the time. Or it can be for your children, to be a better example for them. To be around longer for your family. No matter what your “why” is, it’s important to point it out and remember it when you’re struggling with your goal. Because you will, hard days will come and your “why” can get you through those tough times.
2. Plan Meals Ahead
Like most things, planning ahead can make eating healthier much easier. Having a plan of what you’re going to eat for each meal will help keep you on track and not have that dreaded conversation of, “what are we going to eat for dinner tonight.” You know what I’m talking about. We all do it and we all hate it!
Planning meals ahead of time can also help you add variety to your diet. Try collecting some fun recipes and maybe have a goal of trying to introduce one new ingredient or meal each week. That way you can try healthy versions of things you’ve never tried and maybe even find your new favorite snack or meal!
3. Eat Breakfast
Eating breakfast is important for most people. If you start your day off right by with a nutritious breakfast, it can help keep you on track for the rest of your day. Eating small meals every couple of hours can help prevent binging. If you get yourself in the habit of eating on a schedule, you’re less likely to get super hungry and overeat. A well-rounded breakfast should contain lots of protein, some fiber, and healthy fats. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are perfect for a nutritious and well-rounded breakfast.
4. Meal Prep
You might think with your busy schedule, “who has time to cook multiple meals a day?” But meal prep can really help and also provide grab-and-go snacks or meals for any schedule. With meal prep, you set aside a specific window of time each week to cook and prepare an entire batch of meals and/or snacks all at once so it’s readily available for you. Not only is this a time-saver, but can help you when you’re tempted to grab that salty/sweet carb-filled snack when you’re hungry and in a hurry. Even if it’s just washing and cutting your vegetables and fruits, so they’re ready to go whenever you are is a great help!
5. Keep a Variety of Healthy Snacks Always Available
The best way to prevent a slip-up is to always be prepared. Sometimes hunger hits you hard and fast when you’re busy, and you tend to grab whatever is quickest. Most of the time that isn’t a healthy option, just something carb and/or sugar-filled that won’t even fill you up. So it’s just empty calories you are consuming. The easiest way to stay successful on your healthier eating journey is to always have healthy snacks readily available. Whether that’s tucked away in the fridge, stick some in your purse on the way out to run errands, or in your desk drawer at work. If you have healthy options available, you’re more likely to choose that one instead of junk food.
6. Find a Partner to Keep you Accountable
It’s always great to have a solid support system, no matter what you’re trying to take on. Finding a healthy eating partner to help keep you accountable, will just make you that much more successful!
It can be anyone. Your significant other, a co-worker, a family member, a good friend, or even an online support group. It just needs to be a person that can help keep you motivated. A person that you can talk with about your successes and struggles. Share good recipes or ways to keep you on track. Maybe even go to the gym and workout together. A person you can share your goals with and can remind you of your “why” on the hard days and celebrate with you as you achieve your milestones. It will make the process so much easier.
7. Stay Hydrated
Food is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to eating healthier. Many people do not think about sugary drinks and how much calories they will add to your daily intake. Even the ones that claim they are “healthy”, most of the time should be drunk in moderation.
But it is very important to drink plenty of water throughout your day. Staying hydrated is very important and can help keep you feeling full for longer, as well as combat some cravings. Also, According to Harvard T.H. Chan, The School of Public Health, “Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.”
8. Follow Health-Center Social Media Accounts to Stay Inspired
Whether you know it or not, the things you look at and hear affect your life and the things you think about. For instance, that song that came on the radio an hour ago, now you can’t get it out of your head. That pizza commercial that just came on and all of a sudden you have an intense craving for pizza, even though it’s probably not going to taste as good as it looked on that commercial. This intentional marketing is done on purpose to try and sway you.
Work on trying to only consume information that is positive or more about your goal. Especially on social media. Unfollow accounts that are promoting unhealthy food and follow more people that are health conscious and positive. Social media is a great place to find recipes, workouts, and wellness bloggers that can keep you inspired instead of tempting you with junk food. There are a lot of health influencers that are sharing healthy food swaps for healthier recipes to your favorite, not-so-healthy meals.
Simply put, if you consume negative content you’re more likely to be in a negative space. Surround yourself with positive people and positive content, you will be more likely to succeed with your goals and become a healthier eater.
9. Practice Mindfulness
It is very important to listen to your body, especially when it comes to food. Practicing mindfulness while eating is a great way to create self-awareness in your life, while also creating healthy eating habits. For instance, if you feel hungry, eat a little something. If something you ate makes you feel bloated or have a slight stomach ache afterward, you might be sensitive to whatever you ate.
To start practicing mindfulness, first, minimize all the distractions while you are eating and focus on your food. The way it looks, the way it tastes, the way it smells, and especially the way your body feels. This can really help you with overeating, as well as discovering any food that might cause you digestive problems.
10. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Things happen and people mess up. We all have hard days and just want some chips or ice cream. But it’s important to not be so hard on yourself. One snack or one meal isn’t going to ruin everything. Just get back on the horse for your next meal. Don’t throw in the towel and say you’ll start again next week. Just do your best and jump back in as soon as possible. Think about your “why” and remember you can do this.
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