Sometimes it can be a challenge to eat healthy, especially on-the-go. But there are some simple ways you can set yourself up for nutritional success. Here are 7 things you can do this week to eat healthier:
- Make a grocery list (filled with good-for-you items) and stick to it! It’s easy to get side-tracked at the market and fill up your shopping cart with an assortment of items that are a far cry from healthy. Blame it on the marketers behind the store’s shelves. They purposefully make processed foods more convenient to grab-and-go and stock nutritious items either on the top or bottom shelves. You may have to search a little harder for the healthy versions, so try not to rush through the aisles.
- Make your lunches ahead of time. If you don’t want to wake up earlier to make a healthy meal, spend 30-40 minutes on the weekend preparing your meals for the week. Pre-cook your meats, pasta, or rice, and dice your veggies and fruit. Then store it neatly in your fridge so, come early morning, the only thing your sleepy self will have to do is grab a container and go. Need some inspiration? Here are 50 Packable Lunch Ideas.
- Find an accountability partner who will help you stay focused. Make sure your buddy will actually call you out on the unhealthy choices you made this week (like those 3 cupcakes you ate on Friday afternoon!) and commit to being honest with him/her about everything you’re eating. It may be hard or even downright annoying at first, but you’ll be thankful to have an “accountabilibuddy” in the end.
- Practice portion control. Let’s face it, most Americans’ portion perception is totally off-kilter. Not only do we regularly overeat during meals, but our brains have become wired to opt for the supersized version of anything. An easy way to trim unnecessary calories from your diet is to familiarize yourself with recommended sizes or servings. For example, a whole chicken breast is often larger than a suggested serving size of 3 oz.
- Make smart swaps of your favorite foods. When you’re craving something crunchy like chips, go for a baked sweet potato version or plain tortilla chips. For an even healthier option, choose crisp crunchy veggies instead like carrots, celery, or sugar snap peas. If you’re dying for something sweet and savory like a chocolate candy bar, opt for a chocolate protein bar instead, or homemade trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you love creamy toppings choose a lighter version or switch out sour cream for plain greek yogurt and trade ranch dressing for balsamic vinaigrette.
- Think before you eat. Check yourself before you grab a snack and ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or just bored/anxious. The truth is, food is not a healthy substitute for boredom or emotional distress. It’s time to find a healthier outlet if you eat when you’re not hungry. We recommend taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes and drinking some water to quell your cravings.
- Add fruits or veggies to EVERY meal. We know this sounds like a no-brainer. But if you think back on your last three days of meals, how many of them actually included fruits or veggies? Our guess is probably half of your meals did. If you’re among the few who include these nutritious sides in every meal, bravo and keep it up! But if you’re like the majority of the population, it’s time to make a change for the better! An easy way to do this: trade a carb item for a fruit or veggie every time as they are a great source of natural carbohydrates and add the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body really needs.
If completing all 7 of these tips seems overwhelming, start with 2 or 3 this week. Then try adding a few more next week. No matter what, you’ll be doing your body a world of good with these simple steps to a healthier you! If you’re ready to make a serious change, talk to one of our Certified Personal Trainers who can help you develop an exercise and nutritional routine tailored to your individual needs.