Recent generations have grown up on chips, soda, Kraft and candy. Dinners out with family and friends likely involved a Chili’s or McDonald’s, and ingredients like tripotassium phosphate and dimethylpolysiloxane became commonplace. American culture is fast paced, and fast food is king. We are bombarded with JUNK everywhere we turn, and all these years’ worth of limited options may have left many people feeling frustrated and confused about how to maintain healthy eating habits. Whether you are overweight and struggling to lose pounds, or underweight trapped in a lonely world of food restriction, the only way to find inner peace and reach your nutrition goals is to educate yourself and put in some effort, because no one will do it for you.
Information on nutrition is easy to come by, and easy to apply. Leave the “what, when, why” conversation for another day– the hard part is the how. The how is the dedication and discipline it takes to maintain a healthy diet. Dedication means taking the time to bring your lunch to work instead of ordering a burger, or the effort to wake up 15 minutes earlier to give yourself time to cook a healthy breakfast. The discipline is saying “no” to that second donut, or, saying “no” to the first one if you know you can’t pass up seconds. Over and under indulging can lead to a miserable relationship with your body, so this type of efforts will not be in vain. And there are tips and tricks that make the process easier!
Buy a small blender
No, not a juicer. A blender. Ditch all of your intentions of juicing at home via some fancy $300 contraption. Juicing is expensive, time consuming, and not realistic for most. A simple blender for making smoothies is the perfect alternative and there are many affordable blenders on the market, some as cheap as $15.00.
A healthy smoothie is like a burst of fresh air for the body. Smoothies take only minutes to make and are easy to bring on the go. You shouldn’t be loading your smoothie with tons of ingredients, and unless you’re purposely trying to gain weight, stay away from adding peanut butter, protein powder or chocolate. Keep it simple! Fresh smoothies using fruit, greens, seeds, and minimal additional ingredients will fill your body with fiber and nutrients and give you energy to conquer the day.
Simple Smoothie Ingredients
1 cup ice, 3/4 ripe banana, 3/4 cup fresh berries, 1 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1tbsp honey, 1 scoop matcha powder
Use your oven
You may want to eat an incredibly healthy diet but hate cooking. Do words like “sauté”, “brine”, and “marinate” make you want to throw in the towel? If you’re the adventurous type who enjoys the challenge and time it takes to prepare food, then feel free to ignore this advice. But for those who hate the process of complicated food prep, try simply roasting your veggies and baking your protein. The benefit of this method is that you can cook multiple meals in one sitting with hardly any work. Just preheat your oven, drizzle veggies and protein with olive oil and spices, pop in a few trays, set your timer, and walk away! Another benefit? Roasting and baking requires using less oil than other cooking methods.
Find a HEALTHY protein bar
The protein bar market is oversaturated, and most products are equivalent to a candy bar. Just because something has protein in it doesn’t make it healthy or good for you. While finding a completely healthy and all-natural protein bar is challenging, there are definitely things to look for when choosing the right one. Stay away from anything that has over 10g of sugar, and look for bars that have about an equal ratio of protein to carbs. If you find your stomach always hurts after eating whey protein, try a vegan option. A great brand is No-Cow. These bars are high in plant protein, low-carb, and have only one gram of sugar. The carrot cake flavor tastes like dessert!
“I just can’t eat that early” is a common phrase repeated by many dieters. While it may be true, many also have no problem finishing that second helping of French fries when they’re not hungry. Eating breakfast gives you energy for the day, and keeps you from reaching for unhealthy snacks come 10:00 AM. What’s more, studies suggest that eating a nutritious breakfast can help boost your metabolism and protect against illnesses like diabetes.
An easy breakfast go-to? A spinach, egg white, and Parmesan cheese omelette paired with a slice of whole-grain toast. This simple and enjoyable breakfast will keep you full and energized throughout the morning, and is low in fat and high in protein and complex carbs. Having a full belly also makes it easier to say “no” to those endless office donuts.
Making small adjustments to what you use when cooking can make a HUGE difference on your waistline. Instead of eggs, use egg whites. Instead of butter, use butter spray (for cooking eggs only). Use light butter and light mayonnaise instead of regular (the saturated fat and calories are cut in half!) and unsweetened almond milk instead of regular milk. Swap white sugar with real honey to sweeten your smoothies or tea, and use applesauce instead of oil if you’re making baked goods.
The most important part of sticking to a healthy lifestyle is being honest and realistic with yourself. If you know you won’t spend hours cooking intricate meals, stick to what’s quick and simple. Complicating nutrition is setting yourself up for failure, especially if you’re a busy mom and working woman with limited time and resources. By using these simple yet effective tips, eating healthy will become easier and more enjoyable.
Want more healthy recipes? Check out our Food N’ Recipes section at Daily Mom!