So many people mistakenly believe that eating healthy is difficult. They think it’ll take a lot of time, planning, money, and energy. They give up before they even start.
My friend, I have good news for you. Whether you eat healthy or unhealthy depends on your habits. The secret to eating healthy is to create some EASY habits that you can always do, even when life is busy or overwhelming. Try implementing just one of these tips for now. Don’t do too much at once or you’ll easily become overwhelmed and do nothing.
Tip #1: Start with healthy breakfast.
This is my favorite tip. If you start the day out right, even if you nosh on only junk food for the rest of the day, you’ve still made progress.
Easy: In the morning, eat a breakfast that contains foods that are good for you. Everyone is different so I won’t tell you exactly what to eat – you decide what works for you! Some of my healthy go-to breakfasts are smoothies, eggs with whole wheat toast, omelets with veggies, shakshuka, and homemade oatmeal with fresh fruit.
Tips for added success: If you have more time and energy, make a list of healthy breakfast ideas. Choose one the night before and if you can, prepare it for the next day. For example, if you decide to have a smoothie, put all the ingredients in a container so you’ll be ready to blend it in the morning. How can you fail when you have the food almost prepared, waiting for you in the fridge?
Tip #2: Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day.
This tip sounds so simple, yet it’s amazingly powerful. According to Healthline, even being mildly dehydrated can affect your mood and concentration. Drinking plenty of water also prevents headaches (yay!), kidney stones, fatigue, constipation, bladder cancer, it goes on and on.
Easy: The easiest way to stay hydrated is to buy a large reusable water bottle. Keep it on your desk and take it with you everywhere you go. If you don’t like the taste of water, you can add a squeeze of lemon or a lemon packet. I like to add a drop or two of Doterra’s lemon essential oil to my glass water bottle.
Tip for added success. If you want to go the extra mile, fill a cup with water the night before and keep it in your bedroom. Sip it as you get dressed and ready for the day. Hydrating first thing in the morning rehydrates you right away after a night of sleep and helps you have a more energized day.
Tip #3: Observe Meatless Mondays.
An easy way to get more veggies into your diet is to eat less meat. If you cut back on animal proteins even one day a week, you’ll give yourself an opportunity to fit more healthy foods into your diet.
Easy: One night a week eat a vegetarian dinner that includes lots of vegetables, such as Vegetable Soup, Vegetable Enchiladas, Veggie Tacos, Curry, or Lentil Soup.
Tip for added success. If you’re stumped finding good vegetarian foods, try eating foods from cultures that are different from your own. This will help make your Meatless Monday adventure more exciting and interesting. After a bit of experimenting, you’ll have some new favorites.
Tip #4: Bring your lunch to work at least one day a week.
I love this tip since this will also save you money! Even though making your lunch the night before and bringing it to the office is a bit of extra work, you can do it once a week (especially if you bring in leftovers from your Meatless Monday meal!). Homemade food is often healthier than food you’d buy plus you can better manage your portions.
Easy: Choose one day each week to bring your lunch. The night before, prepare your lunch so you’re ready to grab it and head out the door.
Tip for added success. If the reason why you don’t bring your own lunch is that you enjoy socializing with your coworkers, find something else you can do during lunchtime that’s also fun. It’s just one day a week, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out! I like to take walks during my lunch break. Another idea is to do some errands.
Whatever you do, don’t stay at your desk working during your lunch break. Eat fast and move a bit with the rest of your time so you enjoy the health benefits of taking a break from work. Spending a little time outdoors would be ideal!
Tip #5: Sneak fruits and veggies into your diet.
This tip is the most fun! I am a MASTER at this!! Friends who know me are always suspicious when they eat my food and ask me what’s hiding in it before they even take a bite. It’s true that my brownies may contain a can of black beans, or spinach and blueberries. Anything baked will, without doubt, have whole wheat flour. But my food is also yummy! No one comes away from the table grossed out. It’s easier to hide healthy items in your foods than you’d think.
Easy: When making any type of baked good, substitute some of the white flour for white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is a whole grain, but it tastes milder than traditional whole wheat flour
Another way to do this easily is to throw in extra vegetables when you’re cooking. For example, if you’re making chicken, add some baby carrots to the baking dish. If you’re making a lasagna, cut up a sweet orange pepper super duper small and mix it in. No one will notice and you’ll enjoy the added health benefits.
Tip for added success: If you’d like to take this to the next level, I highly recommend the book The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine. She has terrific recipes for making fruit and vegetable purees that can be hidden in foods.
Also, here’s a link my favorite (gluten-free) brownie recipe. Just be sure to make it before your kids get home so they don’t see the cans of black beans laying around. LOL.
Tip #6: Menu Plan.
If you’d like to eat healthier, Meal Planning is the way to go. I saved this tip for last because it’s the most intimidating for many people, but it’s perhaps the most important tip of all. Like everything in life, it’s only as hard as you make it! Meal planning can be very simple but it’ll make a huge difference. Scrambling around trying to decide what to eat when you’re exhausted and stressed is the WORST time to make a decision. Plan in advance and you’ll be eating healthy dinners regularly.
Easy: Grab a post-it note or piece of paper. Write down each day of the week and what you’ll serve for dinner that night. Don’t overthink it or stress out. I like to buy pizza one day a week for the kids to give me a break — and to make sure that I’ll have something they’ll actually eat. Starting your menu with the day you’ll go out for dinner makes it even easier to create your list.
Tip for added success: If you want to focus on a menu planning as a regular part of your routine, it’s helpful to jot down a list of dinners you usually make. You can then refer to this list every time you do your menu planning. I keep my master dinner list electronically (in Evernote or Google Keep) so no matter where I am, I have access to it.
To take this even further, you can even menu plan for the month. This gets the task out of your to-do list and done. It doesn’t take as long as you think it would and it’s a great way to be even more efficient. If you like to try new recipes, you can even annotate which cookbook you’ll be using and the page number.
Give it a try!
I hope you find these tips useful. Don’t forget — only start with ONE tip — either the easiest or the one the that you feel will make the most impact in your life. Once you have it mastered, then move on to the next. If eating healthy is new for you, it’ll take you a while to build the habit. Don’t give up — I know you can do it! I can’t wait to hear about your results, so please be sure to leave a comment after you’ve tried one of these tips and let me know how it goes.
And promise me you’ll never tell your kids what you put in their brownies.