Y’all, let’s just be honest, it’s hard. Making the best eating choices is just stinking difficult sometimes, and being a health foodie, I’m not going to pretend like I have everything figured out. There are many days when I just don’t eat as healthily as I’d like to. But it’s something we can all get better at! So here a few simple steps that have helped me to stay on track in my healthy eating endeavors!
1. make it easy for yourself
You want to take steps that will make it easier to make healthy eating choices. Anticipate areas where you may be tempted. Is it that afternoon crash when you really want a sugar boost? Have some easy protein on hand to give you a boost. Is it those crazy high-calorie dinners out with friends? (You’d be surprised to find how unhealthy eating out really is most of the time!) Try ordering a salad or sharing an entree with a friend or only eating half your dinner and saving the rest for lunch tomorrow. Whatever the case, mentally prepare yourself to not eat your whole plate, because chances are, you really don’t need all that much food. Another tip, don’t grocery shop while you’re hungry! In fact, shop right after you’ve eaten and only buy things that will make good choices at home easy for yourself. As TEDx speaker Luke Durward says, just go ahead and rid your house of all junk food. Make healthy eating easy for yourself.
2. start strong
I don’t know about you, but often the choices I make in the morning affect the rest of my day, for better or for worse. If I start off the morning with something carb-y and sugary, it’s easy for me to throw in the towel for the rest of the day and give into more treats that leave me feeling sluggish. But it works the other way around too! If you wake up and enjoy an oober-healthy breakfast, you’ll be more inspired to eat well the rest of the day. When you’re feeling energized and happy from the good food in your body, it’ll be harder to break down and eat something you’ll regret.
3. get moving
Exercise will make you want to eat better. I don’t fully understand it, but it’s true—I’ve experienced it myself. But for real though, research backs this up. Exercising is a “keystone habit,” according to Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit.” The idea is that certain habits that you develop in your life will affect other areas in your life for the better. When you exercise, you have more desire to eat well. (More about keystone habits.)
4. plan ahead
The biggest help for me is to go ahead and plan out what I’m going to eat that day. And I know this may sound a bit crazy, but it keeps me from making those impulse decisions. You can be as specific as you want with your planning—maybe write down your plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Maybe you can go ahead and prep your meals and snacks the day before. Sometimes if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll make a rough plan for my whole week of meals on the weekend and then go ahead and prep food ahead of time. The idea is to decide ahead of time that I’m going to have a green smoothie on Monday morning and a bag of nuts for snack on Tuesday, rather than quickly pouring myself a bowl of sugary cereal and buttering up a gf bagel.
So let me challenge you!
Think ahead to tomorrow and all the areas where you know you’ll be tempted to fall out of your healthy eating habits. Then do what you can to make those decisions easy for yourself. Maybe you need to start strong and actually make yourself go for a run tomorrow morning. Maybe you need to clean out your pantry and freezer and just get rid of those unhealthy foods that somehow snuck in there and tempt you every day. Whatever it is, set yourself up for success tomorrow! Let me know if it works in the comments below!