Most people I talk to say that diet is their number one struggle in living a more healthy lifestyle. They often have some kind of physical activity they are involved in, and they know they should be making healthier food choices, but for whatever reason they can’t. Whether they feel like they are too busy, or they just don’t know where to start making changes, the kitchen is their biggest stumbling block. Does this sound familiar? Did I just describe your situation? Well don’t worry, because I’m about to give you 3 quick and painless ideas that will help you start eating healthier today!
Don’t just leave what you eat up to chance. Plan ahead. Meal prep if you need to. So many people don’t think about what they’re going to eat until they’re hungry. But if you wait until then you are much more likely to give in to temptation and eat junk food, or be too tired to cook after a long day of teaching and end up ordering in. Honestly, some days the comfort food temptation still wins out, but I’ve found I give in much less frequently when I know I already have food at home.
I’ve found what works best for me is to prep my lunches for the week, and plan my dinners ahead of time, but I like to make them the night I’m going to eat them. Spend a few minutes of your weekend planning some of your meals, and doing your grocery shopping for the week (bonus: time saver!). If you’re really feeling fancy you can prep ingredients or even premake your meals.
When I first started tracking what I ate I was shocked at what I was actually consuming. And here I thought I was already eating healthy!
Tracking your food can provide you with valuable information about empty or mindless calories, and “healthy” foods that aren’t quite what they seem. Tracking doesn’t have to be a big chore. There are some great apps out there that will allow you to simply scan an item to enter it. I use an app called LifeSum. I’ve used the free version for a while, and I’ve really seen some great results with it! Some of my friends use, and enjoy, MyFitnessPal, which also has a free version. They both do basically the same thing, so check them both out and pick the one that will best fit your needs.
Remove & Replace
You’ve heard it before, but it’s very true. You need to get rid of temptation! But don’t just throw stuff out. Replace your favorite snacks with healthy options. The best way to do this is to determine what it is about the junk food that satisfies you. Is it the sweetness or saltiness? The carbs or crunch? If you can identify that, you can select healthy snacks that won’t leave you wanting more.
Here are a few of my favorite quick substitutions:
- Replace sweets with fresh fruit.
- Craving a salty crunch? Try a healthy popcorn snack or rice cakes.
- Feeling downright starved after school? A protein bar or shake can help keep you full until your next meal.
- Keep convenient snacks like hummus and baby carrots in your fridge for a fast snack.
- Look for healthier versions of your favorite desserts (Halo Top ice cream is my life!)