From reading this title you may be expecting me to give you the exact number of fruits and vegetables you need to achieve optimal diet status, or maybe a fancy new diet plan consisting of only baby broccoli. Many people have different takes on healthy eating and how to approach it, but chances are that your expectations for healthy eating may be too unrealistic. In this post I’m going to give you 5 REALISTIC eating strategies that you can start TODAY.
1.Aim for doing your best with what you have.
Healthy eating isn’t about perfection. It’s awesome to map out a healthy meal plan for the week and have your grocery cart filled with your favourite healthy foods but things don’t always go as planned. Your friends might ask you to go out to eat or you might run out of kale! There goes your meal plan – right down the drain. Instead of trying to be the flawless meal plan follower, it’s always a good idea to do your best with the options available to you. Going out to eat? Order a big salad with nuts/seeds. Run out of kale? Go with the frozen broccoli in the freezer. Life happens. The people who have mastered healthy eating learn how to deal with it.
2.Pay attention to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues.
Take some time to tap into your body’s wisdom a little bit. Instead of counting calories, eat slowly (our bodies take about 15-20 minutes to sense satiety after starting a meal), be mindful of your body’s hunger cues and eat until only satisfied. When we listen to our body’s needs, we’ll notice that they are different every day. Maybe your more stressed or more bored, this all affects our body’s need and want for food. So the next time you’re watching your co-worker eat that delicious sandwich or smell a mouth-watering muffin, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry. And IF you decide that you are, eat to a comfortable point of fullness (about 80%) instead of stuffing yourself.
3.Keep it simple with basic eating principles and use common sense.
Healthy eating isn’t about scientific overload. Even some of the most educated nutritional minds out there keep their eating as non-scientific as possible. Instead, they follow simple principles, which may look like the following:
- Eat real, whole, plant foods.
- Eat when hungry, stop when no longer hungry.
- Take supplements (vitamin B-12) and relax in the sun (for vitamin D)
You can formulate your own simple guidelines after reading, discussing, and pondering over all the nutrition science that exists. But leave the formulas and macronutrient percentages for the professional athletes.
4.Just eat what your body needs to stay healthy – no more and no less.
Don’t use eating as an escape from boredom. Stimulation from food is short-lived. As soon as the thrill of the late night ice cream wears off you’ll be looking for another flavour for your palate. Always remember that if our lives are dull and uninteresting, this is a fundamental problem that can’t be fixed with food. Only pursuing your passions and discovering the things that excite you can fill that void.
5.Organize your life and daily routine to make healthy eating easier.
Let’s be real: healthy eating is NOT easy. Neither is life. But the more you work on it, the more convenient and easy it becomes. Practice makes perfect. And eventually you’ll just do it without thinking. I won’t lie to you – real change is messy and challenging. But there are always ways to prepare for the worse. This varies from person to person and can include meal prepping on weekends, hiring a food delivery service with healthy food options or keeping junk food OUT of the house. Find what works best for YOU. We’ll be providing some strategies in blog posts to come so stay tuned!
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