It is that time of the year again…
Back to school. Back to work.
Did you start a new school or a new job?
Are you ready to improve your eating habits and overall diet once and for all?
Or, maybe you just need to put an end to your summer rituals: sugary sweet cocktails, ice cream sundaes, s’mores, and many more?
5 Steps to Eat Well
- Time to Clean!
Clean your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Throw away items way past the due date or simply smell/look disgusting. Donate unhealthy food and drinks from your recent summer “binge” to a local homeless shelter. Remove any “trigger foods,” even if they are giving you an evil, ‘eat me’ grin! You do not need the taunting and tantalizing temptress. While it may be challenging at first, your goal is to only keep foods and beverages that make you feel good and healthy after consuming.
- Plan Ahead!
No more simply tossing a Hungry Man frozen meal in the microwave and calling it “dinner!” What is your next option? Pick up a cookbook, choose a recipe, and spend 4 or 5 hours slaving away over a home cooked meal. “But, I do not have 4 or 5 hours each day to prepare such a meal?” Guess what? No one has the time anymore; it is the 21st century! Or, the majority of today’s population does not or chooses not to spend a long period of time in the kitchen (unless, of course, he/she is a master chef or preparing for culinary school).
Great news! Eating healthy does not require long hours in the kitchen or breaking your piggy bank. Yes, you can prepare a healthy meal in less than an hour and on a strict budget. You may search for healthy recipes on this blog or visit Super Healthy Kids for balanced, nutritious meals the whole family will enjoy. Print off or write down at least 3 to 5 recipe ideas to prepare for the upcoming week. Be sure to include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and sweet treats. Keep it simple! For example, a basic vegetable stirfry for dinner in which you can use leftovers for an omelette the following morning, a batch of granola to eat three mornings throughout the week, or big salad filled with healthy fats and proteins (just wait to add the dressing until the salad is served). You may also consider purchasing a crockpot in which you can prepare dinner in advance (before work) and will yield multiple meals. For reasonably priced crockpots, visit Crockpots.
- Hit the Grocery Store and Restock!
Clean house – check! Plan meals – check! Now, it is time to go grocery shopping. “But, I do not have the time!” “Stopping by the local drive thru after work is so much quicker!” Guess what? A trip to the grocery store can be completed in 30 minutes or less! Simply, shop around the perimeter of the store and you will find everything you need to be healthy, including fresh produce, lean meats, and whole wheat bread. You do not need the processed foods and sodas displayed at the center of the store. Lastly, do not forget your grocery list! Creating a shopping list with the items needed to prepare your meals each week will help you purchase only the items needed and stay on budget. For additional suggestions and motivation to help you shop wisely, visit FitStar’s Do’s and Don’ts of Healthy Grocery Shopping.
- Drink Up! Water, that is.
Drink more water to boost your overall health. “Do I need at least 8 glasses of water each day?” While 8 glasses/day is a common goal to set, you may want to rethink this goal. Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat each day have a high water content, such as cucumber, celery, mushrooms, watermelon, and grapefruit. If you consume many of these fruits and vegetables, do not fret if you are not reaching your 8 glasses of water each day goal.
“Water is so… blah… so boring!” You can easily and healthfully sweeten your water! Simply add chunks of fresh fruit and vegetables to make it more flavorful and interesting. You can even flavor water with the rinds from the oranges and lemons you are already consuming. Do you want to feel like you are at a spa without spending the money? Cut up lemons and cucumbers and add them to your “Spa water bottle.” You deserve to be treated like a spa girl (or boy!). Are you missing the fizz from your soda? Create your own naturally sweetened soda water with a Soda Stream. Simply add the fizz (or bubbles) to filtered water then mix in fruit chunks of your choice.
- Relax! Make it Fun!
Lastly, and often most important, relax and have fun! Listen to the saying, “if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.” It’s true! If incorporating a healthy diet becomes too stressful or you are overwhelmed by the rules you have set to reach your goals, you will not stay committed. Set smaller, more attainable short term goals and take baby steps. You are not progressing through a 30-day diet plan. You are creating a lifestyle change. Take your time to investigate, learn, and familiarize yourself with the most safe and effective healthy lifestyle for you. A little planning and patience can go a long way, and these 5 steps can surely help!
What one simple lifestyle change will you make today?
FitStar (2015). (Re)Starting to Eat Well in Five Steps. Fuel, Healthy Lifestyle. doi: http://fitstar.com/restarting-eat-well-five-steps-2/ Accessed on September 6, 2015.