So you have decided to take the plunge into a more healthy and nourishing nutrition plan? Back up these great intentions with some simple strategies and tips to keep you motivated and make this a long-term routine with success.
Goals have greater success with PLANNING.
*keep a list of favorite recipes and meals planned in advance
*use your pre-planned meals to structure how you will shop and prepare meals and snacks so you are not tempted into settling for processed quick fixes
*understand how to integrate meals around work and exercise programs effectively – consider meeting with a nutrition specialist to discuss proper meal planning to suit your needs and interests
Cook with a STRATEGY.
*when preparing a meal, always think how you can utilize this time most effectively
*cook a larger portion that you can freeze for future meals or have for lunch the next day
*as you cut and prepare food items, prepare extra for the next day’s meals
*many food items can be precooked / soaked in advance to speed up cooking time for future meals
Never leave home without.
*make a habit of always taking healthy snacks with you when going out to avoid getting into the hunger trap
*raw nuts, dates, pumpkin seeds, fresh fruit – whatever is easy to carry – always leave the house armed with healthy backups
*lunch and work meals should always be brought from home – eating out is a sure way to fall into old routines
Do you really know what you are eating?
*if you really knew what was in chicken nuggets, you would never eat them again! Educate yourself on the nutritional value of foods – the more we know exactly what is in our foods and the impact on our health, the more readily we will choose the healthy alternatives and have more discipline to pass on the processed, chemical-laiden products
*explore the bounty of healthy super foods that seem foreign (powdered greens, sea weed, sprouted foods, ancient grains) – you may have some hit and misses with trying recipes, but this is the fun part of the adventure
But it feels like SACRIFICING!
*getting rid of our fatty, salty or sugary treats all of a sudden can feel painful and like breaking an addiction – block these cravings by finding healthy foods that you truly feel act as a treat and a reward for your efforts for cleansing your body
*be mindful that eating something ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ isn’t necessarily healthy – sugar is sugar, salt is salt, excess fat is fat
You are being MISLED the entire way.
*no lies about it, most food manufacturers do not want you knowing just how poor the nutritional quality of their products are and this is no more clear than their use of clever rewording of food ingredients
*read labels carefully and understand misleading terms:
-you want WHOLE GRAIN/CRACKED GRAIN versus whole wheat or wheat flour
-processed sugar is relabeled a tons of different ways
-fat is not the culprit, it is the type of fat you should be concerned about with special attention on trans fats
Take your nutrition into your own hands.
*control what is going into your body by cooking from scratch – focus on fewer ingredients and more whole foods
*say you don’t have time? There are many recipes that can make a complete meal in the same time it takes to order in a pizza and as mentioned above, if you strategize your cooking, you can actually ‘create’ time for yourself and always feel prepared
Crank up your nutritional value of foods with ease.
*boost nutritional value whenever possible with simple, cost effective items:
-have fresh ground flax seed and raw hemp hearts on hand to sprinkle on cereal, smoothies, and salads
-add raw seeds like sunflower or pumpkin to soups, stews, and side dishes for some crunch and healthy oils
-drizzle omega oil mixes (ie hemp seed/flax seed) to steamed vegetables, soups, and stews
-add a little cinnamon here and there to boost anti-oxidant uptake
-shift to whole grain pastas, rice, couscous, and breads
-retain the fiber content of fruits by opting for smoothies over regular juice
-eat color! every meal should have colorful vegetables and fruits
-keep it raw! try to incorporate some raw foods throughout your day
You are what you eat.
*honor your body – avoid additives, coloring agents, preservatives, and processed items as if it were a religion
*as you shift into a long-term clean nutrition plan, you body will become increasingly more sensitive to food items that are unhealthy and strip away vitality – your body will crave healthy options and your ‘will-power’ to choose wisely will solidify
*got little ones that cry in the cereal section wishing for the chocolate puffs? try to shop alone so you have no distractions in staying on course with your plans – shop with a plan and shop alone unless family and friends follow your same discipline
*shop wisely – as much as it may feel like it is more expensive to buy healthier products, make organic, healthy food an investment – curb the ‘extra’ expense by looking for deals – shop for items that are in season – if possible, grow food in your yard or on your balcony
We are bombarded by ‘easy’ food options every day. We are compromising health for convenience each time we opt for these easy, processed foods. The short-term efforts of following a healthy and wise nutrition plan pays off in huge long-term dividends. A little planning and strategizing along with some support systems from family and friends can make your change to healthy eating a more manageable shift towards greater wellness.