Personally, I can’t keep up with all the “healthy eating” fads. Can you?
Low carb. No carb. High fat. No fat. Dairy free. Sugar free. Gluten free. Paleo. High protein. Raw. No sugar. Low GI, and so on. It’s exhausting!
The few times I’ve actively tried to restrict something from my diet I found myself thinking about food all the time, which resulted in eating constantly! And I’m sure I am not alone.
While there are examples of super-disciplined people sustaining these types of diets – we all know someone like this, grrrrr, how do they do it! But, for the rest of us, who find this an unrealistic and impossible task, what do we do? What’s the alternative to eating well for the rest of us? How can we eat healthy while living a relatively busy life? And how can we socialise without being a pain and stressing over what we eat when we’re out?
Healthy eating for the rest of us
We all know the importance of eating well. When you eat good food you feel good, well nourished and energised. When you eat junk you feel average and sluggish. We all know this, but how do we make a healthy diet a natural part of our daily life?
I have a few tips that may just help.
Tip one: eat whole foods
In recent years I have followed a whole-food approach. This simply means I try and eat real, unprocessed food that my grandparents would recognise. This approach usually results in consuming more fruit and vegetables along with good quality meat and whole grains.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself. I like baking delicious treats—cakes, muffins and biscuits for the family. But I prefer homemade treats over packaged ones. The ingredient list is a lot shorter and they don’t have numbers and words in it that you don’t recognise.
So tip one is to eat more whole foods.
Tip two: enjoy a balance
I make it as simple as possible for myself and my family and we follow an easy whole food approach 70 – 80% of the time.
It isn’t realistic to eat this way 100% of the time, this is why I aim for about 70 – 80%. This will allow you to enjoy takeaway or the occasional dessert while making good choices most of the time.
A good choice may be as simple as having a side salad instead of a side of chips, or choosing a water over a bottle of soft drink. Most importantly be mindful of your food choices and what you are putting in your mouth. It is amazing how good you feel when you nourish your body with good quality nutritious food.
If you have good choices available in the fridge and pantry at home then you are off to a good start. For example – eggs, whole grain bread, oats, apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, rockmelon, watermelon, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, avocado, rice crackers, hummus.
I also try to meal-plan our family dinners from Monday-Friday and have all the ingredients on hand when it comes to the afternoon rush.
So tip two is seek a good balance and eat whole foods 70 – 80% of the time.
Tip three: set achievable goals
My advice would be to start small and choose one meal a day that is made up of whole foods and nothing else. If you are someone that can’t stomach breakfast then focus on having a nutritious lunch full of vegetables, whole grains and good quality protein.
And tip three is start small, be realistic and change your eating habits over time.
If you reach this goal then you will be motivated to make changes to other areas of your diet. But please be kind to yourself and don’t feel guilty when you have a treat every now and then. Eating well isn’t about being perfect, it’s about making good choices most of the time.
Live vibrantly and eat well.