11 Ways To Get Started With Eating Healthy
1. Focus on Habits
This is the biggest thing you’ll hear me emphasize.
Healthy eating starts with a mindset.
Commit to looking at your habits, and changing them.
That will lead to lasting success and it will make it so much easier than trying to follow the latest dieting trend.
Committing to Habits means focusing less on the exact foods (calories, carbs, etc) and instead focusing on what routines you have around food.
2. Batch Cooking
One of the best habits you can start with is Batch Cooking.
Pick out 1 day each week to do your shopping, find a recipe or two that will make for several meals throughout the week, and make those as soon as you get home from the store.
Then break them into single servings and stick them in the fridge for quick meals you can heat up.
This is still the most important meal of the day.
It sets the tone of the day.
If you eat a healthy breakfast your body will have the fuel it needs, so you’re less likely to snack or crave junk food later.
Try to get some protein in this meal–eggs, for instance.
And don’t be afraid to make it the largest meal of your day.
4. Cut Out Junk Food & Fast Food
Junk food should be looked at as a treat at best.
Don’t eat it every day.
And fast food should be avoided as much as possible.
Go a month without it and your taste for that crap will start to change.
I know it’s not always easy to pass on the goodies, but if you’re splurging regularly you just won’t be able to have the success that you want.
5. Count Calories for 2 Weeks
Like budgeting, keeping track of calories can help you take a responsible look at what you’re putting into your body.
It’s a great way to spot patterns.
I don’t recommend using it as a long term dieting strategy, but taking a couple weeks to get clear on how the food you’re eating is effecting your progress is extremely helpful.
And there are calorie trackers out there like this one that can make tracking calories pretty darn easy these days.
6. Add Veggies to 1 meal a day
Veggies are nature’s appetite suppressant–as well as one of the healthiest things you can eat.
They fill you up without adding almost any calories to your day.
Before you go buying the bland, floppy veggies in the frozen foods section, check out this video on how to steam them.
It’s so easy and so much more delicious, you’ll wish you had started doing this earlier.
7. Carry around a Water Bottle
Another great appetite suppressant, water is not only essential, but it’s great for taking up space in your stomach before a meal.
It’s also a great alternative to snacking.
BONUS POINTS: You’ll get plenty of exercise running to the bathroom every 15 mins. ?
8. Moderate Caloric Drinks
Speaking of fluids, most people get way too much of their calories from drinking them.
If I’m going to splurge, I’d much rather enjoy a cookie rather than downing those same calories in one gulp.
Beware of coffee with lots of cream or sugar, sodas or energy drinks (even the diet ones), and alcohol (alcohol contains almost as many calories as drinking straight up fat).
9. Schedule your “Cheat” Meals
My take on “Cheat” days goes back and forth.
On the one hand, depriving yourself of your favorite foods almost guarantees failure, and isn’t the most enjoyable way to live life.
On the other hand, a “Cheat” day mentality can link up your brain to see junk food as a reward and healthy eating as the price you pay.
That also doesn’t lend itself to a very enjoyable lifestyle.
Instead, I recommend trying what my girlfriend and I started doing.
Schedule in a couple of your favorite “naughty” foods throughout the week.
Sarah and I have a movie night at home each week and that includes a small cup of ice cream.
And on Sundays, while I’m fixing up our big batch of meals for the week, we put on a little music and enjoy some good beer and conversation.
10. Slow down while eating
One of the original diets from back in the Victorian era centered around an almost cult-like obsession with chewing your food for a long time before swallowing.
They actually had a number that you had to hit–I think it was 43 chews before swallowing.
Anyway, time how long it takes you to eat a meal and try extending it.
This will help you recognize when you’re full quicker, discourage mindless eating when you’re already full, and make food much more fulfilling and satiating.
11. Keep Healthy Snacks around
Sometimes you want something crunchy, sometimes you want something soft and creamy, and sometimes you want something sweet.
Here are my go-to’s, depending on my mood.
These can be fattening, so don’t gorge. Eat them like you’d eat an hors d’oeuvre.
Same goes for cheese. Buy some good quality cheese and snack on it with small bites. A little creamy cheese can taste great on fruit.
This can satisfy a sweet tooth and lasts much longer than most junk food out there.