I have a friend back home that I was able to spend some great quality time with when I was back for a visit. She mentioned that she wasn’t feeling great and had given in to convenience over healthy eating with the busy season. We talked about baby steps to eating more healthy and I thought I’d share a few here.
The busy holiday season can send many of us off our healthy course. Just yesterday, I was roasting nuts for holiday gifts and I didn’t feel like making a healthy lunch and opted for a frozen pizza. Yes, it happens. Now I’m not going to say never eat frozen pizza again, but I will say that my days of eating “beige subfood” are fewer and farther apart than they used to be. In the afternoon, I had to pull out the Vitamix for a green smoothie to just perk up and finish my nut roasting project. The more healthy I eat, the less I crave the bad stuff…but I am human. It takes a little time but your tastes change.
- Think about what you can/should eat MORE OF first and then begin to EAT LESS of the bad stuff.So I like to tell folks to focus on eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day (making sure that 3 of the 5 are veggies and at least of those three veggies are green). We’ll want to up that number in the future, but for now, 5 is great place to start. People notice that they’re feeling more full, more satisfied with more complex carbs and fiber, that they’ll eat fewer empty nutrient foods.
- Get enough protein. Everybody is different and has different protein needs. Yes, you can get enough protein on a plant-based diet…but if you’re a meat eater, try to stick with lean proteins like fish or chicken. Rice and beans or quinoa and greens salad are great healthy ways to get a complete protein. Also, always put a scoop of non-GMO protein powder in EVERY smoothie. This is an easy way to sneak in some protein, especially in the morning. I love PLANT FUSION and Tera’s Whey Proteins.
- Move more. Whatever you’re doing today for exercise, try to add 2 to it. Maybe it’s walking 2 more days during the week for 30 minutes. Maybe it’s 2 more trips to the gym. Or 2 more fitness DVDs that you pull out and actually do. The key is to start somewhere and inch a bit in the right direction. If you overdo and injure yourself, you’ll be back to 0 days. Baby steps, people.
- Try at least 2 meatless meals. It’s easy to do and it’s kind to your budget. Try to eat two meatless meals a week. I will warn you that my husband and I started with 2 meals a week and soon we’re 90% plant-based…BUT we feel great. We’ve lost weight, have more energy and sleep better.
- Be mindful of what you eat. After a few weeks of getting 5 fruits or veggies a day, start to really notice what you eat and how you feel after. If it’s easier, keep a food journal. Once you’re paying attention, the areas for improvement will jump out at you: less sugar, less alcohol, less fat. For the not-so healthy items, choose one category to focus on at a time. For example, if you’re a daily soda drinker, focus on decreasing, eliminating and/or replacing your soda with water with cucumber or lemon or green tea. Don’t try to eliminate soda, chocolate, cheese and coffee in the same week. One at a time will help you build sustainable change.
- Grace. Remember to give yourself a break on the frozen pizza days. Over time, you’ll see the progress if you make small, achievable changes…Slow and steady wins the race.
What is your best piece of advice for friends wanting to eat healthier? Leave your comments here…