Eating healthier is easier than you might think.
The truth is most of us are creatures of habit. Whether those habits are healthy or unhealthy.
In fact, if you were to track your food intakes over the course of a few weeks, you’ll probably find that you’re basically eating the same things week after week. These are the daily eating habits that are ingrained in us as “food.” Because let's face it, not many of us have time to whip up a different breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day!
That’s why when you decide to start eating better, you want to start out slowly. One healthy change at a time.
Think about it: no one can wake up one day with no training and run a marathon!
The same thing applies to eating healthier. When you make small changes over time, you set yourself up to naturally eat a little bit better each day. And this is how you create simple, realistic, and sustainable food habits. The kind of habits that work FOR YOU.
Instead of setting goals to 'eat clean' or remove all the 'bad foods', focus on balanced food habits, prioritizing nutrients while leaving room for fun, and practicing healthy portion sizing.
Here are seven simple ways to simplify eating healthier:
1. Observe Yourself
For this first step, don’t try to change or do anything differently. As counterintuitive as it sounds, you simply want to observe your current food habits. Track or write down everything you eat and drink in a day for a few days (I use MyFitnessPal with my clients). In this stage you're simply gathering information. No judgement. This will give you a valuable snapshot of where you are right now by noticing your food habits and patterns.
2. One Small Change
Gradual changes are the best way to go. So after you've gathered some information, you're going to choose one one meal, one snack or one dessert that you can improve. Here's a simple one: No cereal with a cartoon character on it. Choose a banana, whole grain toast with nut butter and a hard-boiled egg instead. It takes the same amount of time to peel a banana and egg and munch on some toast as it does to pour the cereal and milk in a bowl and wolf it down. PLUS you'll feel more energized and satisfied by giving your body nutrients it needs!
Small changes will increase your confidence in making healthier choices. Something as simple as trading your bowl of ice cream for a ramekin of frozen grapes can make such a positive impact. And It may be more satisfying than you think.
3. Eat Mindfully to Eat Healthier
The next time you sit down to enjoy a meal, eat with all of your senses. Sit down and truly focus on the taste, textures and colors of your food. Put your food on a pretty plate. And only do one thing while you're eating - EAT. Don’t eat in your car or while scrolling social media. When you pay closer attention to your food while eating, your brain will get more satisfaction and recognize that you’ve eaten, increasing feelings of fullness too. Eating mindfully is hands down the simplest way to save calories and increase satiation and satisfaction!
4. Watch Your Portions
Have you noticed that portion sizes have gone crazy in the last few decades? Bagels have gotten enormous! Look at how serving sizes have grown and just for one day, stick to single serving sizes. If you love chocolate or ice cream, purchase it by individual serving sizes and enjoy it fully.
Make it difficult to go after additional servings. It's easy to keep going back to the pantry, fridge or freezer for more, but most of us aren't going to drive to the store just for a second helping. But if you do, use that time in the car to remind yourself of your goal and ask if this purchase will help or hurt your ability to reach it.
5. See the True Colors
This is one of the simplest (and tastiest) ways to eat healthier!
Eat from the rainbow... and I’m not talking about a bag of Skittles or M&Ms! Mother Nature has provided all the colors of the rainbow and we should take full advantage. Each color offers a different nutrient. And eating more foods from the rainbow is hands down one of the best things you can do to support your health and longevity by boosting nutrients, increasing daily fiber, and supporting healthy hydration. Make it a game to try to get two of each color each day. A banana, strawberry and blueberry smoothie claims three colors and that’s just breakfast. Get creative.
6. Only Eat When You’re Hungry
When you find yourself standing at the fridge or pantry, honestly ask yourself if you’re hungry. If the answer is no, ask yourself why you want to eat. Are you bored, frustrated, stressed, or sad? If the answer is yes, find another outlet to soothe your emotions besides food. Go for a walk around the block, play with your dog, go to a kickboxing class or journal. Learn to feed hunger, not your emotions.
7. Mind the Liquids
Drink. More. Water. Sounds simple, right? Don’t drink your calories - unless it’s a healthy protein shake or a fruit smoothie which counts as a meal. If you’re into soda, try reducing your consumption by one a day.
Limit alcohol and treat it as a planned indulgence. Decide when and how you will enjoy it.
Know what you're drinking. A grande latte from Starbucks is 190 calories and it barely has any nutritional value in it. Even worse, your mind won’t think of it as food! Jamba Juice’s large Aloha Pineapple Smoothie is 520 calories and people think of it as a drink, not a meal. Don’t fall into the beverage calorie trap! Read those nutrition labels and know what you're sipping on.
Keep it simple... Pick one thing at a time and stick with it. When that becomes easy, then add on another. Before you know it you'll be racking up all sorts of healthy points all day long and soon you won't even recognize your own healthy eating transformation.
Discover how to small and simple steps to help you eat better, think better and feel better. Download my FREE guide 4 Ways To Eat Better now and I'll show you how!