A little background info: I spent my teens wishing to be thinner. Juicing diets, fasting, calorie counting, hours of daily exercise and carb banning – all things I attempted and failed. The thing you learn is that your body is like nature; it changes but you need patience. Short term fixes can equal short-term results and plenty of guilt when you fail to keep up.
To become ‘healthy’, I stopped focusing on appearance and started caring about health benefits. I now have more belief and confidence in me since this mental switch, with my energy miles better and cooking skills improved. Here are my 10 healthy eating tips I swear by:
As a quick disclaimer, I am not a dietitian or nutritionist; just a sweet tooth monster that has managed to adapt her habits!
1. Out of sight, out of mind
It’s easy to buy all sorts of chocolate and crisps and then tell ourselves to not eat them. The fact is, it is PROVEN that you WILL indulge far more if treats are nearby. Don’t feel guilty and don’t start telling yourself that you’re unable to eat healthy if you do indulge.
Instead, cut back when you shop. Take yourself away from temptation and the cravings will not be attracting you as much. Do you ever just see biscuits and think, well I don’t particularly fancy but as they are there…1 biscuit…2 biscuit…3 biscuit…4….
2. Be prepared for the work slump
Two things can happen: You prepare yourself to eat well and then someone at work puts chocolate in front of your face or; you feel tired and could really use a quick sugar rush. (They do say sugar is as addictive as drugs).
The best way I worked past this, was to make healthy desserts I could slice and take portions of to work. Yes, healthy/healthier desserts can taste just as delicious, and less moreish. Equally, a big brownie for instance, will make you feel more full and less likely to keep running back to sugar.
I’m not saying you need to do a black bean brownie or quinoa cupcakes – you can make adjustments to most recipes. I always swap the refined sugar for honey or agave nectar, swap the milk for almond or oat, and swap the flour for oat (depending on the recipe). Even using dark chocolate with squeezed orange can bring out new flavours.
3. Indulge and move on
Seriously, you drank some wine and ate pizza and cupcakes. It happens. The worst thing you can do is mope about telling yourself how bloated and fat you will now be and how you now have to eat a salad and lock the kitchen cupboards. Just accept it, you’re human and move on. But like seriously…move on!
4. Start with your veg
I think most people (depending on your diet), start with their meat or fish first. I use to hardly ever eat veg or fruit and now it’s my main focus. I will look at what I have and then think right, what can I make with this?
It’s funny but sometimes I’ll google search: recipe tomatoes and avocado or cauliflower and zucchini. Lots of healthy dishes came up.
5. Blitz and blend
If you have a blender that is rusting away on your kitchen counter (“Ten years we’ve been rusting, needing so much more than dusting, needing exercise, a chance to use our skills!”) give new life to this wonderful machine!
I have a Nutribullet and I love nutriliving.com. Blending is so quick and simple. I made creamy avocado pasta just by whacking a bunch of ingredients into my blender. All sorts of sauces, smoothies and soups can be made, and I find many recipes linked to blenders, do entail lots of good nutrition. Open your mind up and put that spin to use!
6. Don’t be Gwenyth Paltrow
Unless it’s concerning her wealth, in that case – Paltrow it out. No negativity towards her, it’s just she mixes with this health advocating group that suggests you need all sorts of rare and expensive ingredients.
It can be off-putting, especially when you are on a budget. Not saying there is an actual advocate group she’s officially joined; I learnt you can eat well without health food stores.
Stick to slowly introducing whatever it may be you think that you are missing in your diet. If you buy too much fruit and veg in particular, you will struggle to finish and most likely end up with off-putting, gone off food.
7. Meal prep
There are so many different levels. From weekly prep, to just having a rough idea of what to eat during the week.
It can be a choir to sit down and organise, yet it makes a world of difference. It’s the best feeling coming home and going ah, my food is already ready. It takes away the excuse that you don’t have time to cook a healthy meal.
8. Change your food mentality
Do you ever seen those quotes about life and scroll by? When it comes to food, please don’t.
Don’t tell yourself healthy food is disgusting and you only like junk. Don’t link negative thoughts to health. Because when someone tells you a meal is healthy, those thoughts will affect your desire to eat even before you have tried.
Also, if you are trying to cut back on sugar, don’t make a point of telling yourself you can’t eat it. It may sound silly, but reinforce that you can eat sugar and you’re simply choosing to make better choices.
I always say fitness is in the mind and motivating yourself means feeding yourself positive thoughts. You hear your words 24/7, make them worthwhile.
9. Experiment in the kitchen
I have to admit, before I changed my lifestyle, I just about knew the basics. I would have never have pictured myself making stir-fry’s, soups and homemade quinoa pizza.
Even if you are an amateur chef, play around with more nutrients. Play around enough and you eventually find recipes that become a kitchen staple.
10. Have go-to meals
Many tips on this list require time. On the opposite end, you may be limited with what you can create.
The solution is quick healthy meals. Stuffed mushrooms, peppers or potato, pasta with a 2 min sauce… The more options you have, the more willing you will be to use one of the healthier ones.