This blog post will primarily hit three of the four issues around nutrition and diet – eating more nutritiously, watching your budget and do it without feeling miserably deprived. The fourth one is time-saving, but we’ll get to that.
We’re all aware of HOW to do this, but with the media and society CONSTANTLY bombarding us with new diets, fads, products, it can be very overwhelming. My method is to keep it simple (KISS). Following the Dietitian’s “healthy plate” rule, is a good start. This doesn’t rule out any food groups. Making big changes like cutting out all sugars can be a major disruption and your body will not be impressed. Studies have shown that this kind of change can actually promote disease or problems, which of course, we don’t want.
So, do what you know to be a healthier choice. I like to treat it like an experiment, this way I’m not too attached to the idea. I can try new things and see how my body responds, how it makes me feel, if it fits into my lifestyle etc. And if it makes me excited, inspired or happy. Which brings us to the next point.
Doing it Willingly
Here’s where the fun starts. First things first, buy fruit and veggies that you enjoy eating! Choose proteins that you like to eat and cook. And if you’re a sweet tooth, brainstorm healthier treat options. Start to read food labels if you’re keen.
This is where it becomes a little research project, looking up new recipes and ways to eat your favourite fresh foods. Follow healthy foodies on Instagram, browse Pinterest, download free recipe e-books. And find your love of fresh flavours, great ingredients and the joy in eating.
One thing to mention is to make mealtime a ritual. We’re so used to eating on the run, while watching telly or scrolling through Facebook. This has led to many hours of mindless eating. Eat at your dining table or counter. Take one deep breath before you start eating to relax your stressed body. Chew properly and fully taste your food. And when you’re satisfied, put it in the fridge for another time. Over time you’ll learn what portions are right for you and you won’t have as much food wastage or leftovers.
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The thing about changing your eating habits is that you’ll discover how unsatisfying fast food is. And if you eat a lot of it now, out of convenience or simplicity, you’ll save money by eating at home more. You’ll start to feel more energetic and realise that Macca’s makes you feel sluggish and bloated. Which is a good enough reason to stop you from turning into that drive thru. And if you buy healthy food when you're out, you might start to realise that you can make your own version for half the price...
Always shop with a list. Assess what you have in the pantry and fridge before you leave the house and figure out what you’re going to eat for the next few days/week. By making a meal plan, it cuts out the daily thinking about what to cook, which is another obstacle in your way.
Another thing is to buy what’s in season. You can go to farmers markets and you’ll see that it’s quite affordable. You can also look for markdowns on meat, if you’re throwing it straight into the freezer. And watch for specials on your favourite frozen veggies/fruit, canned items.
Bonus… Time saving
This generally works if you’re a meal prepper. Once you’re in the habit of making a meal plan, your shopping list and shopping once a week, that already saves daily trips for just one or two things (which ends up being 5 or 6). If you spend an hour or 2 each week, chopping veggies, cooking rice/quinoa/cous cous, baking/roasting/BBQing potatoes, meat or protein sources, this cuts down on washing up, cleaning up and prep time at each meal. Winner winner, chicken dinner!
Hope this has helped! Comment below how you’re going to get started and then do it, today, don’t put it off any longer. It’s not that hard, I promise.