Does the idea of eating healthier sound great but, at the same time, make you panic?
Are your first thoughts that you need to buy special food, completely change your lifestyle, and deprive yourself of foods you love?
Does even the idea of “eating better” start to stress you out, so that before you even begin, you quit (you know, the conversation you just had in your head, that took you from starting all the way to failing, so why bother…admit it!)
Well, here are five tips you can incorporate today without ever setting foot in the grocery store or cracking open a cookbook.
Eating better is something EVERYONE can do to improve their health. And it doesn’t have to be time consuming, difficult, or stressful.
- Plan ahead.
Grab and go eating is the norm for most people. With easy access to fast and/or packaged food 24/7, it makes thinking about what we are going to eat, well, mindless. And unless you plan ahead, you’ll end up grabbing processed snacks and prepared foods that are filling your body with unwanted preservatives, chemicals, and garbage. So instead of reaching for what’s convenient, take 10 minutes to scribble out a game plan for your day and follow it. A banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter will fuel you so much better than a bag of chips or a candy bar. All you have to do is think ahead.
- Use your hands.
I’m a firm believer in tracking and that portion size matters. But I also admit that measuring can be a hassle. Regardless of WHAT you eat, even it it’s healthy food, if you eat too much of it you won’t lose weight (unless it’s broccoli, LOL). Those are just the facts.
An easy way to start paying attention to your portions is to serve your portions based on the size of your hands (download guide):
Protein = one palm
Fat = one thumb
Veggies = one fist
Carbs = one cupped hand
For now, this easy guesstimate method can save you from overeating and help you reign in your portion size. Easy is good. Easy is doable.
- Eat dessert once.
This sounds ridiculous but lots of people have a sugar habit that makes dessert a day-long investment in junk eating. We eat sugary cereal, fruity yogurt, pancakes, and pastries in the morning and call it breakfast. We sweeten our coffee. We reach for candy at our desks. We have cookies after lunch and “treat ourselves” to ice cream after dinner.
All those things REALLY add up, and not only increase your waistline but decrease your health. If you have a sweet tooth choose ONE time of day to indulge in something sweet. Limit the portion (ex. I’ll eat two cookies, 5 bites of cake, 1/2 cup ice cream, etc.). You will be amazed at how much better you feel when you limit your sugar without denying yourself.
- Swap water for high calorie beverages.Walk straight past the soda machine, skip the double mocha latte frappuccino macchiato, and head right to the water fountain. Water is your best friend. Drinking water is like showering your body from the inside out, rinsing away toxins, filling you up, hydrating your hair and skin, and yes, decreasing your appetite. DRINK UP.
- Slow it down.Life is crazy. I get that. But eating is one of life’s essential pleasures. Don’t squander it by rushing through meals and snacks so quickly you can’t remember what you ate. Slow down. Savor every bite. Let your tastebuds celebrate what you are offering them. When you take the time to enjoy your meals you’ll make every mouthful count. Adjusting your pace and making mealtimes a “time out” will help you focus on quality over quantity. (And don’t get wrapped up in the all or nothing here – if all meals are currently on the go, then pick one meal to start with, and start with small time frames and work your way to a longer period).
Now, was that so hard? Every one of these five tips is something you can try today without any extra preparation. Eating better doesn’t have to be painful. My whole health and exercise philosophy is based on baby steps because making small changes, consistently, really does pay off big time.