So, here’s the question.
If you started a healthy eating plan at the start of the year, how is it going?
Many of us have good intentions, especially at the start of each year. We make the vow to eat better, cook more, and spend more time in the fruit and veggie aisle of our local supermarket. And for all we know, if you are one of the many people who made healthy eating goals, you may have stuck to them. If so, well done you!
On the other hand, there are those of us who have grand plans with our eating habits, but eventually, they fall by the wayside. The temptation to fill our shopping baskets with sugary and fatty goodies is too strong. We get tired (probably because of the rubbish we have eaten) so rather than cook every night, we call the takeaway because we can’t be bothered to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. And so, despite our attempts to get into healthier habits, we resign ourselves to the fact that we have failed again, and probably comfort eat to make ourselves feel better about our failings.
And then there are those of us who don’t bother to eat healthier at all! Life is too short, we tell ourselves, to live on a diet of broccoli and carrots. Live for today and screw tomorrow we think, as we tuck into a Mars bar or another bag of crisps. Of course, in this instance, life will be too short, as those of us living like this are eating themselves into an early grave!
So, here’s another question.
How have you related to the above?
If you aren’t eating a healthy diet, perhaps because your willpower is weak, or because you simply can’t be bothered, perhaps today is the day you turn things around. Your health will improve if you do. You will start to feel more energetic. You will feel an uplift to your mood. And if you have been too afraid to look in the mirror recently, know that a healthy diet is essential if you want to improve your looks. What further incentive do you need?
Here are some of the ways to start improving your diet.
Eat More Fruit & Veg
You know you need to eat more fruit and veg. People are always banging on about it to you (us included). But are you actually getting your prescribed five-a-day? Fruit and vegetables contain a range of health-boosting vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium and zinc. When it comes to choosing what to eat, you can’t go wrong with the occasional apple or two, or a salad, or a vegetable stew. But if you’re of the opinion that fruit and vegetables are…how shall we say it… a little on the boring side, then why not consider being a little more creative with your meal choices.
Here are two articles to scroll through.
In this article by Healthline, there are lots of creative ways to add more vegetables to your diet. The prospect of eating cauliflower will never seem as dull and boring ever again!
And when it comes to your fruit intake, here are some creative ways to amp up the fun factor. From fruity ice cream cones to fruit dessert tacos, your craving for fruit might just surpass your craving for chocolate!
Put More Protein In Your Diet
If you’re looking to burn off the calories, then eating a high-protein diet is a must. It has a thermic effect on your body, meaning your body burns off calories during the digestion process. Eating protein also keeps hunger in check, so you won’t be as tempted to reach for those mid-afternoon snacks after lunch. Protein is also good for building muscle and burning off fat, so let that be another incentive to add protein to your diet.
To add more protein into your diet, you could swap your breakfast cereal for eggs in the morning. Or if you prefer a bowl of cereal, consider mixing it with something high in protein, such as a creamy Greek yoghurt.
If you are eating a salad for lunch (congrats for taking the healthy option), you might want to add more protein to your plate, with chicken breast, salmon or tuna, mixed in with your vegetables.
When you’re thinking about your evening meal plan, you might want to include some of these high-protein recipes, with everything from turkey chilli for spice fans, to spaghetti squash for those of you with a taste for Italian foods.
And to supplement your diet, you might want to have a protein shake in the morning, perhaps using vegan protein powder in your mix, and if you’re in the mood for a snack during the day, opt for a protein bar instead of a bar of chocolate or any other sugary item.
Make An Effort To Shop Healthier
Your local supermarket is a pleasure palace for foodies, but beware. While there is much potential for healthy eating, there are also traps aplenty, especially when it comes to the cake and sweet aisle. Therefore, plan to shop healthier so as not to fall prey to temptation when you’re shopping.
To begin with, you might want to create a shopping list before you head to the supermarket. Plan your meals for the week, and ensure you add plenty of healthy items to the list. Here’s a healthy grocery list, so have a browse if you need a place to start. Then, when you set foot in the supermarket, only visit those aisles that contain the healthier items on your list. In theory, you will then have less reason to step foot into those supermarket danger zones, such as the chocolate and ice cream aisle.
As well as planning your shopping list, you should also plan when you are going to go to the supermarket. As a general rule, you should go when you are less tempted to add anything unhealthy into your basket, so go when you’re least hungry or when you aren’t in too much of a hurry so you have the time to check ingredient labels and explore healthier options.
When preparing your list, or when scouring the store, always go for the healthier options. So, when buying such items as milk, yoghurt, cheese, or ice cream, go for the low-fat options. If buying a chicken breast, opt for the skinless version, as chicken skin is full of calories and saturated fat. Instead of opting for pickled and canned vegetables (which are often loaded with salt), go for fresh or frozen instead. And buy leaner cuts of meat with the fat trimmed off when perusing the meat counters.
Instead of going to the supermarket, you might want to shop online instead. This way, you will be less tempted to add anything unhealthy in your shopping basket, as you can easily jump to the healthier parts of your supermarket’s website. You can also research the foods available to you, so if you aren’t sure about the healthier option, do a quick Google search to find the relevant information while you’re shopping. You can save a ton of money this way too, as you can easily remove items from your virtual shopping list when you get to the checkout. It’s not as easy to do this when stood in line at the supermarket itself, especially if you don’t want to risk embarrassment when the cashier lets you know how much you have spent!
Learn How To Cook
If you can’t cook, you will be more prone to eating takeout foods and processed meals. As you won’t be surprised to hear, these are the unhealthier options at mealtimes. To start eating healthier then, make an effort to learn some new recipes. There are a number of ways you can do this.
If there is a local college near you, consider enrolling onto a part-time cooking class. Many of these are hobby-based, so you don’t have to worry about intensive courses of study and exams.
There are loads of websites online that offer recipe ideas for cooking beginners. Here is one example, but do a quick Google search of your own, and you are sure to come up with something.
And don’t forget to browse YouTube. Cookery guru (and sweary expert) Gordon Ramsay has some advice on basic cooking skills here, but there are all kinds of tutorials on the site, so you can watch as you cook. Hint: probably best not to watch the screen when chopping onions and the like, for obvious reasons!
So, if you need to improve your diet, consider the suggestions we have given you today. From eating healthier foods, such as fruit, vegetables, and anything high in protein, to forming better habits in the supermarket and the kitchen, you should start eating better this year.
Let us know what you think, and if you have any helpful ideas for our readers, perhaps with the occasional healthy recipe or two, please feel free to get in touch with us.
Take care, thanks for reading, and happy (healthy) eating!