5 Tips For A Healthier Lifestyle
-Juliet Burgh, VP and Nutrition Director
It’s almost inexcusable to say, “there’s nothing healthy to eat”, or “I don’t like the taste of healthy food”. Most of you probably have the privilege of going out to eat, spending money on prepared foods and working out at a nice fitness studio :)
It’s time you get out of your own way and adopt some new views about eating healthy. Now more than ever we have tons of resources at our disposal to help make healthy changes easily, instantaneously but the key is to make it a lifestyle. Here are five easy changes you can make right now to make your healthy diet a lifestyle.
1. Pick restaurants with options that suit your goals:
Collect a list of restaurants and take out options, where you know they have menu items that are healthy and you enjoy. Get to know your neighborhood eateries and what they are willing to do to alter certain menu items. Save time and money by using YELP or website Menu Pages to browse options before you go.
Most places are very accommodating of individual dietary needs these days. They will put sauces on the side, eliminate cheese, steam instead of fry, etc. We aren’t being fussy or difficult, we are living a healthy lifestyle and the more we ask for these adjustments that more it actually changes the menus themselves. Society’s expectations for restaurant food having some healthy options has come a long way, lets push it further.
2. Have Healthy Food On You At All Times:
Set yourself up for success by always having healthy food on hand. You never know when you might get hungry, or if you’re like me then you know exactly when, 12pm and 4pm. I always make sure to have a packet of nuts or a protein bar to hold me over until my next planned meal. This isn’t just important for snacks, but for any meal where you have the choice to either eat what you have or eat what’s there. I can guarantee that if you don’t have your own food you won’t be waiting to eat. You will eat whatever is offered. I rapidly prep a simple lunch everyday with leftovers, etc. so I am not going out to eat everyday.
This approach is especially important for those who work in an office setting where meetings can run over, or the food is catered for events. If I didn’t have a lunch and snacks packed I would either go hungry or grab for whatever was available, both of which are unacceptable.
3. Cook Healthy Versions Of Your Favorite Foods:
Out of all the advice I can give my nutrition clients, this one is the most successful tool to helping create a healthier lifestyle. When we think of dieting we automatically relate it deprivation or boring meals. Get excited, because you CAN have your favorite foods, you just have to make some substitutions. I never feel deprived, rather excited by the amazing, delicious meals I eat that actually make me feel great all day.
My Favorite Healthy Substitutions:
- Bean Pasta instead of Wheat Spaghetti (awesome with meat sauce)
- Brown Rice Wraps instead of Wheat Tortillas (great for burritos and quesadillas)
- Almond Flour instead of Breading (perfect for chicken parmesan)
- 72%+ Dark Chocolate for any Sweet fix you have
- Plain Greek Yogurt with Peanut Butter, Cocoa Powder instead of Ice Cream
- Mary’s Gone Crackers with Hummus instead of Wheat Crackers and Cheese
And there’s so much more. Just think of what your favorite meals or snacks are and Google or ask a nutritionist how to make them healthier.
4. Create Routines That Are Enjoyable:
The most common thing I hear is “I don’t have enough time to eat healthy”.
Whether it’s pertaining to cooking or meal prepping, time seems to be the issue. Well I am here to tell you that you do have time. It’s all about maximizing your time, by making routines that are enjoyable and fun. There’s no way around it, the healthiest food is the food you prepare and cook yourself. In order to do this you do have to set aside SOME amount of time.
Believe me I am not into slaving away over a stove, but I can be realistic with myself and give myself permission to slow down and take 15-30 minutes to set myself up for success. Try tuning into a good podcast, playing some music or maybe you can see your TV while preparing. I like to call my twin brother. It’s a two for one. Talking to a loved one and making myself fit into my skinny jeans.
5. Respect Your Body – Care What You Put In It.
A question I will often ask myself when making food choices is: “Is this respecting my body?”
This simple question can help to navigate you towards better choices. At the end of the day our bodies are the vessel that carry us through our lives. If we treat it poorly, speeding through and throwing whatever we find into it, then don’t expect to feel good. When we eat nutritious foods, we feel good. Respecting our body means feeding ourselves properly with nutrient dense foods, not over eating and indulging.