Five Tips to Make Healthy Eating Simpler
“Living a healthy life in this society is hard!”
My friend and trainer, Carolyn McCoy, exclaimed this to me last week as were discussing some of the ups and downs in our previous week.
Carolyn is right. Almost everything about healthy eating and living goes against the culture of 21st century America. People are encouraged to work long hours sitting at desks and staring at screens. Then we stare at screens when we get home. Highly processed food, full of sugar, inflammatory fats and chemicals makes up 60% of the average person’s diet. Most people drive everywhere and do little exercise or natural movement in their days. Then at night we don’t get enough sleep.
Is it any wonder that Americans are becoming more obese and the rates of chronic disease are increasing exponentially? What are some things that we can do to make healthy living easier for us? One way is to focus on one area of health improvement at a time.
For the greatest impact, consider which area: food, exercise, sleep, or stress is the biggest problem for you. Concentrate on making improvements in that area before moving on to another area. Change is much easier when you work on one task at once before going on to another area.
Twenty years ago I was going through a divorce so stress management was the most important thing for me to work on. Then twelve years ago I began changing my diet to help heal my body from food sensitivities. I exercised sporadically for the past thirty years, but it has only been in the past few years that I have begun to workout four to six days per week.
If you have any persistent health problems and you are eating a diet with lots of processed foods, then changing what you eat is the first area you should consider. Here are a few tips to make the process of healthy eating a little bit simpler.
1. Eat a large entree-sized salad for lunch every day.
Most people do not eat enough vegetables or fiber in their diet. By eating a large salad every day, you can increase both of these. I usually make a large container of salad about once per week. this container includes lettuce, shredded carrots, sliced radishes, broccoli sprouts, hemp seeds, tomatoes, cucumbers and a variety of other items. I fill a dinner plate with part of this each day and top it with some protein and homemade salad dressing.
2.Don’t keep junk food in your house.
Fill your pantry and refrigerator with only healthy foods. Keep precut vegetables and fruits, nuts and whole food snacks like Larabars available for quick snacks.
3. Simplify meal preparation.
If you find it hard to find the time prepare dinner on weeknights, then cook larger portions on the weekends and freeze part to have later. Recipes using slow cookers or Instant Pots also can work well depending on your food preferences. I have a lot of “one-pot” meals that include meat plus vegetables in one dish. This is easier for me that preparing multiple different items in separate pots and pans.
4. Simplify your meals.
While eating a wide variety of foods is best, preparing elaborate meals with multiple exotic ingredients is not feasible for most people. Instead, find three healthy breakfasts and rotate them on most days. Pre-make a large salad every week, but rotate some of the ingredients. Find meal plans and recipes for ten healthy dinners and rotate these. I have a number of ideas in the recipes section of my website.
5. Review restaurant menus in advance.
Review restaurant menus online in advance and preselect a healthy option.
Almost every restaurant has entree salads, so that can often be the best choice. A burger or grilled chicken without bread and a vegetable side dish (not french fries!) is also a good choice.
Each of these tips can help you improve your diet. Once this area is consistent, then go on to another area to work on. What tips do you have to make eating healthy simpler? Please share in the comments below.
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