So many people begin changing the way they eat with a restriction mindset. Pretty soon, they are stuck eating only boneless, skinless chicken breasts, broccoli, and brown rice. I know this, because I’ve been down this path before also. And I can tell you from my own experience that I did not enjoy it. I felt deprived and this diet did not last long.
I think that personal trainers (who shouldn’t really be giving nutrition advice in the first place) think that they are helping, but they seem to lack the knowledge that everyone is different. Eating steamed broccoli and grilled chicken breast might work for losing weight in the very short term, but it’s a recipe for disaster! Most people get bored with it and drop off. The few that actually do stick with it will likely stop losing weight after a while. This is when the person trainer will tell you that you just need to eat more chicken or tuna fish with your meals and workout more.
The real answer is that we are all genetically different. Our bodies react to foods differently. We also have different personalities. Many people cannot last on chicken and broccoli alone and immediately fall off the plan because they do not have that sort of drive and determination that some others do. It doesn’t mean that they are a failure; it means the food just wasn’t remotely good FOR THEM.
To make healthy eating more sustainable for the long term, I’ve compiled a list of 20 ways that ANYONE can enjoy eating healthy and stick with it for life.
- First of all, if you don’t know how to already…. learn to cook. Being able to cook your own food means that eating healthy will be enjoyable rather than a chore. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at cooking a variety of delicious, healthy meals. Knowing how to use the microwave oven isn’t going to cut it. Go over to a friend’s house and help her cook dinner, or take a couple of cooking classes. This is a serious investment in yourself and your family.
- Eating healthy can be overwhelming at first. This is the time to keep foods simple, whole foods and seasonings can be very flavorful without being too complicated.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients. There are a lot of foods and spices that I simply can’t stand the taste of. For instance, cilantro tastes like soap to me. So, when a recipes calls for it, I use basil and/or parsley instead.
- Change it up! If you’re new to eating healthy, adding variation can be important. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling bored or restricted with dinner, and opting for the more comforting slice of pizza instead. There are some people that can eat the same meal for lunch all week long and feel completely fine with it, and there are many that cannot. First figure which person you are. Then decide if you need to switch it up and how you are going to do that.
- When in doubt, add avocado. The healthy fat and fiber help keep you satisfied and, honestly, they’re just delicious! Adding avocado to your meals is a good variation.
- I often cook up bacon and keep it in the fridge. It is great to pack in lunches, snacks or crumbling on top of avocado! Bacon is very flavorful and a little goes a long way.
- Frozen shrimp is another great variation to add to your meals. They will thaw in a bowl of cold water in about five minutes. Toss them with some coconut oil and garlic and you can roast or grill them in a few minutes.
- Red Boat fish sauce has no added sugar, and gives a great umami flavor to many Asian dishes. This is another good variation to try out instead of soy sauce.
- Keep your pantry stocked with staples – I always make sure my pantry is stocked with spices, healthy cooking oils, tomato sauce, broth, olives, roasted peppers, diced tomatoes and canned chicken, salmon, tuna and coconut milk (just to name a few). This way, I always have ingredients to spice up a boring meal or throw together a quick soup or salad if the fridge is empty.
- Keep your fridge stocked with fun, healthy condiments and pickled or fermented vegetables; you can use the same base ingredients and have a whole new meal just by switching out sauces (and spices).
- Be generous with seasonings, use spices, fresh herbs and condiments. You can make the same recipe over and over again and never eat the same thing by adding different flavors. Add curry to your veggies, cardamom pods in the crock pot, mint leaves in a salad, fresh ginger or cilantro in soups, cumin seeds and whole grain mustard to marinate meat. You can be an incredible cook just by knowing your way around the spice cabinet.
- I love remixing my leftovers into new recipes. Last week, I made a crockpot meal that wasn’t super tasty like I thought it would be, so we had a lot of left overs. I did not throw the food away, instead for the next meal, I added a few tablespoons of organic BBQ sauce to it, and it was pretty yummy.
- Know how to make a few good sauces: even plain baked chicken and broccoli (again) will taste amazing and new if you have a good sauce to go on it.
- Get in a routine of marinating your meats overnight; this will bring a huge amount of flavor to your dishes with minimal work and time investment. It just takes a little foresight.
- Always have some high-quality frozen vegetables on hand. You can toss some green beans in a skillet with some pastured bacon or sausage and have a fast, inexpensive meal in a few minutes with very little effort.
- “Reward” yourself with healthy treats and desserts. Healthy eating is a lifestyle choice and enjoying what you eat is always important! When you are dying to have something sweet, make sure it’s something that is a healthier, natural option. When I have a sweet tooth, I have guidelines that I use: 1. It cannot contain any wheat 2. It has to be organic. 3. It cannot contain soybean, canola, or vegetable oils.
- Bananas are a good way of addressing a sweet tooth. Peel and cut them into chunks before freezing, and you can use them instead of ice cubes in smoothies. They add natural sweetness and creaminess without dairy or sugar.
- Frozen cherries with a little coconut milk spooned on top make a great healthy dessert too.
- Cauliflower is your friend! Loaded with important vitamins and minerals, it’s not only very good for you, it’s also delicious and extremely versatile! I use it as a substitute for mashed potatoes, rice, and even orzo pasta in cold, Summer salads! If you haven’t gotten on board with cauliflower yet, why not give it another chance?!?
- Pick 1-2 go-to meals: And always have the ingredients in your kitchen. I love to cook, but even I don’t want to spend all my free time in the kitchen. To help me stay on track, I always have the ingredients for two easy meals in my fridge and pantry.
Latest posts by Naomi Teeter (see all)
- GET INSPIRED TO RUN YOUR BUNS OFF - August 7, 2019
- The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Weight Loss - August 6, 2018
- A Typical Day of Living Healthfully For Me (March 2018 Edition) - March 4, 2018
- The First Step On My Weight Loss Journey Required Bravery - December 21, 2017
- How to Make Positive, Lasting Change from a Place of Self-Love - December 20, 2017