Need Help? 7 Basic Tips to Get You Going on Your Heathy Way

Making changes for better health is not always an easy task. It's not like you wake up one day saying, "I am going to eat everything healthy, exercise every day and never eat potato chips again!". I know this never happened to me. It is a process that definitely takes time, effort and determination... knowing that on the other side you will see results that make you quite proud and you will definitely look and feel better too.

Right before I started college there was this "special" two-day event that all freshmen were required to go to called, "Getting Started". The college really pumped it up and maybe some newbies were excited for it, but I was not. I am not super fond of mixing it up with strangers and getting broken into groups is the worst thing you can ask me to do. I prefer to melt into crowds. I was not happy I had to do this... BUT after those two grueling days, I can honestly say, that is when I met some of my dearest friends and got super excited to be at the place I would spend the next four years of my life. It wasn't fun at first, but the pay off has definitely lasted years and years. The effects of being challenged in that way were invaluable to me. The same is true when changing eating habits from not so good to very healthy. It's not easy to start, but if you hang in there, you'll see great rewards to come.

I have been asked, "How and where do I get started" in eating healthy or "What do I buy at the store?" and so on. If there were just a few pointers to help start someone on this journey, here is what I would say.

1. Don't buy junk. When I buy junk, I eat junk. I am like a ravenous animal just waiting to pounce on my prey which would be one of my favorites: greasy, salty potato chips! If it is in my house, I, more times than not, have no self-control. The same goes for my children as well. So rule #1 is don't let it in your home and you will never know what you're missing -- well, for the most part :)

2. Plan your meals. I have not always enjoyed planning meals. I am not always on task with everything in my life. Some things I am totally ready for and others things, not so much. But I have learned that some simple (30 minutes max) planning before the week and things go much smoother. I love researching healthy, simple, kid-pleasing meals. I look for meals that are low in fat and cholesterol, high in protein, lots of greens and fruits and I usually try to squeeze in an omega-3 meal in there as well. Here is the link for my healthy meal plans if you need some ideas to get you going.

3. Talk to your family about food... a lot (in a positive way). I am very open about how food helps or hurts our bodies. My kids truly do listen. I do have a picker eater. I do have complainers. I do not have kids that are thrilled all the time with everything that is placed in front of them. It takes time. Be open about what you are serving, what you bought at the grocery for the week and be excited. Here is a post on getting your kids to eat healthy.

4. Have healthy snack options on hand. You've heard the saying, "If you fail to plan then plan to fail". This is so true with snacking in my house. I must be ready with healthy options for my family. Here are a few of our basic, top pick, healthy snacks:
  • sliced bananas (or apples) with nut butter and honey drizzled on top
  • veggie sticks
  • tortillas with salsa or garlic hummus
  • low-fat string cheese
  • applesauce
  • diced peaches
  • Triscuits with low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
  • carrot sticks with low-fat ranch dressing
  • cottage cheese with salt & pepper
  • whole grain cinnamon-raisin bread
  • mini whole grain bagels with low-fat cream cheese
  • sunflower seeds with cranberries and dark chocolate chips
  • peanut butter balls
  • organic yogurt with homemade granola
  • honey-wheat pretzels
  • lots of fruit and veggies, of course

5. Spend lots of time in the outer perimeter of the store . You barely have to spend much time in the middle aisles when you eat healthy. Get familiar with those healthy (super)foods you don't know much about and try them. Eating clean rarely ever requires you make something from a box. I skim by the dairy and juice section. But I know of at least 3 maybe 4 aisles I never have to go down. That is just another perk of eating clean! Here is a list of staples I usually keep on hand.

  • condiments: ketchup (no HFCS), mustard, Dijon
  • black olives
  • vinegar (white, apple cider, balsamic, raspberry blush, rice, white & red wine)
  • olive oil & coconut oil
  • banana peppers
  • beans (garbanzo, black, northern, pinto and lentils)
  • lemon juice
  • sauces (low sodium soy, barbecue, sweet chili, Sriracha)
  • natural peanut and almond butter
  • natural, no-added sugar jelly
  • canned pumpkin
  • grains (brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats)
  • flours (whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, masa, polenta, corn meal)
  • panko bread crumbs
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, blueberries, dates, bananas)
  • nuts (every kind imaginable!)
  • canned tuna and wild Alaskan salmon
  • sweeteners (stevia, brown sugar, demerara, brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup)
  • whole grain tortillas (wraps)
  • corn tortillas

6. Read labels. If the list of ingredients gets to be over 5 ingredients, it's starting to get "dirty". And if you can't pronounce something, it's probably not clean either. I love this website! She encourages me to feed my family clean and I gobble up her posts any chance I can!

7. Don't throw in the towel, please. You will get busy. You will get sick or tired. You will have bad days, but stick to the plan of eating healthy. Please enjoy things. Celebrate in moderation. But come back to the healthy side when you're done. Don't give up because it's worth it.

Wholesome Bits is committed to encouraging and helping anyone ready to make healthy changes in their lives. It's not always an easy journey, but once you get the hang of it -- like riding a bike -- you won't forget how to do it and you will enjoy the ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment