Over the past few months, I’ve been making it a point to improve my physical health. While it’s been years since I’ve been really unhealthy, I’m making a better effort to exercise and eat right.
While the exercise is coming along great, I have to admit that I’m struggling a bit with the eating. I have a real sweet tooth, and I hate taking the time to prepare snacks. So it’s been a bit of an uphill battle to improve my eating habits sufficiently to really let the exercise take its full effect.
During the last two weeks, though, things have changed a bit. I’ve improved my eating habits by following these 4 tips:
1. Prepare Food Ahead of Time
Since I hate preparing food in the moment, I’ve switched to preparing ahead of time. On grocery day (which happens to coincide with produce-box-delivery day), I prepare all of the healthy snacks for the week. I cut up the carrots and celery into easy-to-grab sticks. I prepare the broccoli and cauliflower as well. I can’t get away with cutting apples and pears up, to my chagrin, but I can prepare those earlier in the day, when I’m feeling better about things, for eating later.
Preparing everything ahead of time makes it easy for me to grab a healthy snack quickly and easily, rather than defaulting to the junk food that might be in the cabinets.
2. Keep the Junk Out of Sight
I’m not going to get rid of junk food altogether. I like dark chocolate, and I enjoy an occasional handful of potato chips. But, I put that stuff out of the way. That way, when I’m looking for something to munch on, the cherries, already washed and sitting on the counter, are an easy source of snacks. Make it easier to get to the healthy choices, and harder to get to the junk food. Now, it takes real planning for me to get to the less healthy snacks, and it makes me stop and think about what I’m doing — and it encourages me to engage in portion control.
3. Buy Things You Like
I love berries. Really, really love berries. I also like broccoli and asparagus. My favorite salad is a cucumber and tomato salad, flavored with herbs from our kitchen garden. I do not like yams or beets or radishes. I’m not a fan of cantaloupe or honeydew. Instead of buying things I don’t like, I stick to the healthy things I do like. It helps me maintain interest in eating the healthy foods, and ensures that I will eat what I buy. Look up new ays to prepare foods you like in order to give more variety to your diet.
4. Make Changes Gradually
My health eating changes have been coming on gradually. We’ve slowly been cutting as much red meat from our diet, and now we have red meat maybe two or three times a month. We started by replacing one meal each week. Now, there are plenty of alternatives to red meat. Often, we can go two weeks without any sort of meat — other than a serving or two of fish.
You don’t have to give up meat, though. There are other ways to gradually make changes to your diet. Replace one junky treat each day with a handful of almonds or berries. Learn to love dark chocolate and replace your milk chocolate with this healthier option. Be slow in your changes, and they will become a part of your lifestyle.
What are your best tips for eating healthy?
Image: epSos.de via Flickr