I’d like to introduce a new series on the blog: Choose Fit! In these themed posts, I’ll be covering different topics in fitness and how you can choose a healthier lifestyle.
Today’s topic that I’ll be covering is: Choosing to eat healthier!
Doing a complete 360 is difficult to do in any situation, so I would not recommend cutting out all junk food and eating completely healthy in the beginning.
My diet has slowly evolved over the years to reflect a healthy, clean (natural and unprocessed) meal plan. I eat healthy 90% of the time, while 10% allows for my candy addiction, eating out with friends, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch that I just can’t give up. A lot of people aren’t this extreme and will do more of a 80/20 approach. Whatever works best for you is what you should stick to because if your lifestyle diet is too hard to stick to, you won’t do it.
After I finally had a place of my own and was forced to grocery shop for 90 percent of my meals, I started eating healthier. It was a slow process at first, but I eventually started eating more veggies, fruits, and quality lean meats for my meals. A few years ago I went even more extreme and cut out a lot of processed items. No more “light” yogurts, hydrogenated oils in peanut butter, microwave popcorn, etc.
This transition to natural foods was probably the easiest of them all since the “real” food tasted so much better. Natural peanut butter containing only peanuts and salt tastes a million times better than Jif. Homemade popcorn on the stove with real melted butter is much more satisfying than an overcooked bag of the microwave variety. Smoothies with real fruit are a million times better than sugar-laden ones made from a liquid concentrate.
I’ve never been a fast food person, so that wasn’t ever a big deal. When Andy and I dine out, we usually go to places that have healthy options: Panera, Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar, Potbelly’s etc.
So now I bet you’re wondering how you can choose a healthier lifestyle! Here are a few tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years! My body feels so much better when I eat healthy since I don’t get that sluggish side effect of eating junk food.
Rid your pantry of tempting, unhealthy items. It’s harder to crave and eat them if you can’t see them.
Keep healthy snacks readily available:
- Almonds, whole-grain crackers (I love the Kashi brand), pretzels, already portioned out in containers/baggies for quick, on-the-go snacks.
- Veggies washed and cut up in a tupperware container and placed in an easy-to-see spot in the fridge.
- Fruit in a bowl on the counter/table or cut up and ready to go in the fridge
Be careful of “healthy” foods that are easy to overdo it on. Some of these items include nuts and nut butters, raisins, olive oil, trail mix, health “bars” and pita chips. Just because they are healthy doesn’t mean that they are unlimited…these calories easily add up; be sure to check the serving size.
Eat a filling, nutritious breakfast. Be sure to include some sort of carb and protein to get you going and keep you strong through the morning. Throughout the summer months, I often choose a smoothie with PB mixed in, or some toast with nut butter and a dish of fruit.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Meal prep on Sundays to get ready for the upcoming week. When I was at an office job, I’d take two hours on Sundays to bake chicken breasts, slice veggies, and pack my own pre-made salads to keep in the fridge to mix and match with throughout the week. This small amount of prep work made it so that I didn’t have to do it each and every night of the week!
Keep healthy foods on hand; items such as frozen green beans for a quick side, sweet potatos that can be popped into the microwave, turkey burgers that are already shaped and just need to be cooked, etc.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. I never shop at Whole Foods or a lot of the other health food chain stores. Ninety percent of the time, our groceries come from Wal-Mart Superstore (you just have to look harder to find the organic/natural items) Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s. Click here for my (old) post on how to save money at the grocery store.
While at work, I kept a drawer stocked with healthy options in case I needed a snack or forgot my lunch…which happened all too often. Cans of low-sodium all-natural soups, boxes of Kashi crackers, almonds, and granola bars were common items.
Don’t drink your calories. Choose water flavored with lemon/lime when you’re out to eat. Also, “diet” and “light” drinks don’t do anything for you…pass on them and enjoy your meal instead.
Don’t deprive yourself. If you really want something, have it. Coldstone is one of my weaknesses–so when I go out with friends to the ice cream shop, I get their frozen yogurt topped with sprinkles or a swirl in a cone. It satisfies the craving without going overboard.
Eat what is worth it. If you love a certain seasonal treat, such as a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, order it and enjoy it. However, if you’re at the office and they’re having doughnuts again, dig in your snack drawer for something more satisfying and healthy.
Eating healthy has forced me to try new things–over the past few years I am amazed at all of the things I’ve found that I really love! Hummus, avocado, celery, almonds, brussel sprouts, veggie burgers, and sweet potatoes!
Eating healthy now will spare me a lot of diet-related health issues in the future. Plus, with Summer just around the corner, how can you resist all of the delicious fresh produce?!
What are some ways that you choose healthy?
Any requests during this fitness series or topics you’d like me to cover?
Favorite summer food: Watermelon!