How To Start Eating Healthy
Healthy eating is an important goal that many seek to achieve, but for most this proves to be a difficult task. Fortunately, the best way to achieve this goal is actually a pretty simple and straightforward one. You simply have to create strong habits centered on key healthy eating behaviors. When healthy eating becomes a habit, you will not have to worry about what you are eating because the right choices become second nature.
Here are a few healthy eating practices you can repeat to form lasting habits. Forming these habits will help you to embrace a healthier lifestyle for a better and longer life.
1The “At Least One Home Cooked Meal” rule.
It is extremely difficult to healthy options at most restaurants, simply because they don’t follow a healthy standard. Because of this, most of their meals are full of calories and saturated fats.
You should avoid these at all costs, but we know how difficult doing that can be…especially for those who are accustomed to the convenience of take out. Even for those of us who aren’t big fans of fast food, it’s nearly impossible to avoid restaurants altogether. Instead, there is a way that you can train yourself to skip the meal out.
Plan to eat at least one home-cooked meal per day. This will start to get you away from all that junk food at the fast food joints and onto the healthy food track. The best way to ensure success while building up this habit is to plan ahead. You need to decide a week ahead of time which meal you will cook on which day and then stick to the routine. T
he most important part is to remain accountable. If something happens and you can’t manage your one home cooked meal on a given day, then you have to try your best to cook another meal at home on that same day or the next
2Snacking must be meaningful.
Due to some “grazing techniques” which showed up out of the blue in the healthy eating world, a lot of people think it is okay to snack all day as long as they don’t eat too much.
While eating frequent meals in smaller portions is good for your metabolism and keeps your stomach working throughout the day, eating snacks can be harmful to you if you choose the wrong stuff. You need to identify unhealthy snacks, like candy bars and cereal, and replace them with healthy alternatives, such as an avocado with salt and pepper or ricotta cheese with fruits.
Identifying harmful snacks isn’t very difficult. Anything processed is a bad idea, so if it was found in the junk food isle (chips, salted pretzels, Oreos) then it’s obviously not so good for you. Pastry products like doughnuts, cheese danishes, and cupcakes, are also out of the question. So next time you are about to grab a bag of chips as a snack, remember your healthy habit behaviors and grab some fruit instead.
3The homemade brown bagged lunches are underrated.
Did you know that if you decided to make your own lunch every day you could save up to $2,500 per year? If you do this for 20 years, then you could literally save yourself a cumulative $50,000 on lunch alone. This alone is an amazing reason to brown bag your lunch, but this isn’t even the best one.
The nutritional benefits of homemade lunches outweigh anything you could possibly get from your average fast food place. An average homemade lunch consisting of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a drink is at least 600 calories less than a standard meal at your nearest burger shack.
It is almost guaranteed that if you choose to brown bag your lunch and skip the fast food, you will prolong your lifespan and be healthier throughout it.
4Plan your meals and reap the benefits.
Again, thinking ahead will really save you. One of the main reasons that we fail to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle is because we fail to plan. When we go to the grocery store and we don’t have a set plan in mind regarding what to shop for, we end up buying unhealthy and processed items which are terrible for our health. This is where weekly meal planning comes into play. Sit down every week and plan out every meal you will be cooking. Once you have that set, make a shopping list just for those meals and go shopping.
When at the store, it is vital that you only stick to the items on the list. Do this every week and you will build a much healthier lifestyle, not only for yourself but also for your family. Don’t worry about the types of meals you choose at first, but once you build the habit, start slowly turning towards healthier alternatives with fewer carbs and more plant-based meals.
5Choose to use the right cooking oils.
Many of the cooking oils we use today are highly inflammatory and highly processed. Oils which are made from corn, canola, or sunflower can do major damage to our bodies, and it’s a good idea to stay away from them.
Instead, choose to use more natural oils and fats for cooking. Virgin and extra virgin olive oil are very good choices. So is coconut oil, as long as it’s virgin as well. Cooking with butter or lard might seem counterintuitive, but the reality is that these fats are natural and not processed as much as commonly used oils. As long as you use them in moderation, you will come out on top when it comes to healthier cooking.
Stick to these basic habits and work your way up to other good healthy eating habits and you will be on the track to a healthier lifestyle in no time. Keep in mind that these aren’t the only healthy eating habits out there. There are many more that you can find to accommodate your lifestyle.
Don’t be afraid to change or modify these ideas, either. If something doesn’t make sense to you or is too cumbersome to follow, make an adjustment. As long as you use common sense and do a bit of research, then you should be good to go.