Eating better – we all pledge to do this. “Diet and exercise” are touted as the cures and preventative measures for everything bad in our lives. Well, as hard as it can be to get started, these statements we’ve heard so often still ring true. Having a healthy and balanced diet can change your life – from better sleep to reduced pains – but we don’t have to tell you that. Instead, we’ll help you figure out how to get started.
This is first, and possibly most important, on the list. Now we’re not saying that you have to have a grocery shopping buddy, or have a hubby that’s ready to cut carbs. Of course, if you do have a friend or two who want to take this journey with you, all the better. The important thing here is to use your resources! There are literally endless recipes out there; advice, guidance, and even cooking and exercise videos on the internet.
Eating better is a difficult journey that shouldn’t be done alone; so, if you feel alone because your co-workers are a little too excited on donut day, try an online group that’s filled with positive encouragement. Trust us, there will be someone out there congratulating you on skipping that sweet pastry while you both enjoy some protein or veggies.
No, you probably didn’t expect to see this one so high up on the list; and, yes, you probably get tired of seeing their commercials or reading social media posts about them. Well to be honest, some of these programs are truly worth looking in to and can have a great impact if you give them an honest go. If you’re not sure what we mean by diet system, we’re basically referring to plans that send you pre-packaged meals, such as NutriSystem for men.
So get ready, because we’re going to tell you why these are so effective: because you’re not doing it alone. Seriously, they send healthy – and more importantly, nutritional – meals, right to your door! Many of them even offer amazing dessert options, along with the pretty darn good variety of meals you’ll be getting. The best part is, most of these programs offer guidance for you as well. The encouragement that you get is a big part of why these are worth trying, because who doesn’t want more positivity in their life – especially when it comes with delicious food!
This one can be tricky – especially when feeding a family. In fact, if you go with a diet system above, you may have to incorporate some meal planning into your routine as well to feed the kiddos. There are many benefits to having a shop and prep day – or something similar, if it fits your routine better. Also, if you are looking into this route to make feeding the little ones easier, it’s worth noting that kids of almost any age can help out in some way – not to mention the healthful knowledge they will pick up along the way.
Back to the point – yes, it can be daunting to begin. Start small. Take an afternoon or evening and prep a few frozen or refrigerated crock pot meals for the week, doing all the prepping beforehand. This way, you’ll have at least one or two days in the week where “making dinner” is just emptying the contents of a bag into the slow cooker. You can gradually build your prepping and planning skills, using resources like new recipes and town coupons along the way.
Of course, there will be many nights you find yourself eating out. Its okay to cut yourself a break once in a while (especially because we all know the salad options at a pizza place are usually… disappointing). Typically though, it’s not hard to find a healthy option when you find yourself at a restaurant. These days, nutritional content is readily available nearly anywhere you go. Looking for alternatives can be a great way to enjoy your night out without feeling guilty later. Go for the delicious steak; there are probably tasty veggie side dishes you can have in place of the mashed potatoes.
Make little changes, like light sauce and dressing (or ask for it on the side). Cut back on your salt and ask for light seasoning. Pro tip: ask your server! They have probably tried everything in the restaurant anyway, and can steer you towards something that suits your cravings in a healthier way (just remember that their help with your satisfying meal deserves an equally satisfying tip).
This is good advice for meal planners, restaurant-goers, and really, anyone who… well, eats. First of all, don’t listen to ever-changing fad diets that say to avoid staples that have been around for decades, like eggs or milk (of course if you prefer egg whites or almond milk, no harm there). The things you really need to avoid are mostly common sense.
Greasy foods, processed foods, and those that are overly sweet or salty are usually the ones to avoid. Fries and chips are good examples of this, and even ice cream. One rule of thumb is that if it is not satisfying, it is probably not nutritional – and very likely bad for you. Sadly, most pastries and desserts fall into that list. Soda is another big one – these and other sugary drinks are terrible for you, and usually leave you thirsty for more.
This goes hand-in-hand with knowing your alternatives! Stock some almonds instead of chips, and keep coconut oil around as a butter or vegetable oil cooking substitute. Fruit juice can be one of the most misleading offenders of them all – many have added sugar, so go for fruit juice that is a little more natural. Calm your sweet tooth with some dark chocolate.
Drink more water!! There is simply no reason not to, and hundreds of reasons why you should. Staying hydrated (especially with lemon water) helps with calorie control, fuels your muscles, assists in your kidney’s functions, boosts your metabolism, reduces fatigue, cuts cravings, and, well, this list could go on forever. It’s true that water can help you with weight loss, if that is your goal; and, it can also improve your skin and breath. No excuse to skip this one!
Always keep in mind that as long as you are making improvements, you are eating better. If you get off to a tough start just push yourself a little further each week. Reach out for positive reinforcement, because there are hundreds or even thousands of others out there who are challenging themselves in the exact same way.
Posted By: Rose Ferdinando, LA, CA90045
Team Member, ShubiHusain.com