Want to start eating healthy? In this post you’ll find practical tips for eating better, even if you’re short on time in your 9-5 grind. Implement them right away and you’ll see a difference in your energy level and potentially your weight or skin.
Are your shoulders tightening?
Are your eyes rolling??
There’s something about the term “healthy eating” that really spooks people. I think it’s because it invokes that idea that you’re eliminating flavor in the name of health.
I changed the way I cooked and ate a few years ago because my doctor warned me about my high blood sugar levels and the extra 20+ lbs I was carrying around. So my kick in the butt moment was fear of having diabetes before I was 30 but yours doesn’t have to be.
BUT, I absolutely love food and have for as long as I remember.
I wanted to improve my health but I was skeptical about extreme diets, constant meal planning and wasted time on bland food.
So I did plenty of research on natural Type 2 diabetes prevention and I started making changes to my diet that felt realistic for someone like me (i.e. tired cubicle worker constantly surrounded with cake from yet another co-worker’s birthday).
Here are the 7 things I did and that you can easily implement too:
1. Ditch the juice and soda when you eat out
I don’t know about you but if I’m going to have a bunch of calories, I’d rather they not be in liquid form. A glass of soda (plus the free refill) is pretty much equivalent to having an additional half portion of food.
Instead, swap the juice or soda for water and it’ll make a huge difference in how you feel!
If you’re used to drinking soda and juice with meals, don’t switch to water cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey will cause you to have sugar withdrawals, which you definitely don’t want.
Try to go down to having water 1/4 of the time, once you get used to that, switch to 1/2 until you can go as close as possible to all the way.
Tim and I switched to drinking more water a few years ago. He treats himself to 1 soda a week and I usually just have water. Since we gradually weened ourselves off, we don’t crave the juice or soda like we used to.
2. Order appetizers instead of full meals
Getting an appetizer and a side dish or two small appetizers will save you calories. It’ll also provide more variety!
If you want to taste a little bit of everything, this is your chance.
3. Slow down and listen to your body
If you’re used to eating on the go or you always notice that you finish eating before everyone else at the table, try slowing down a bit.
I think technically we’re supposed to do 100 chews for each piece of food but even as a slow eater, that sounds like a bit much. Instead count 10 long seconds between each forkful.
The slower you eat the easier it’ll be for you to understand when you’re actually full.
Also, remember that restaurant portions are HUGE, so even if your plate still has a lot of food on it when you realize you’re full, that’s fine. Just box it up and save it for lunch the next day.
4. Get salad dressing on the side
When we think of healthy food, salad is the first thing that comes to mind right? How do you down an entire plate of lettuce if you’re not a rabbit? Douse it in dressing and toppings, right?
Well at a certain point, that salad might not actually be as healthy as you think.
If you’re eating out, ask for the dressing on the side so you can pour it on yourself. If you’re cooking at home, try making the dressing yourself.
5. Pre-pack your snacks for work
Snacking is an easy pitfall, especially in an office environment. Sometimes you’re rushing to meetings and you grab a cookie, then some chocolate, then a granola bar…the list goes on.
By the end of the day you’ve eaten a bunch of things you don’t remember eating.
Instead, try packing pre-cut fruit that you can snack on throughout the work day. If you’re not ready to commit to just fruit, try some berries with honey or a handful of chocolate chips with berries.
Remember the goal here isn’t perfection. It’s slowly getting better and removing the overwhelm of diets and exercise.
6. Bring your own lunch to work
Buying lunch everyday is bad for both your wallet and your waistband. Yes it saves you some time, but restaurant meals, even your casual sandwich, have more calorie rich ingredients than any sandwich you’d pack at home.
If packing lunch seems inconvenient, make big batches of meals and pack a weeks worth of lunch sized portions. That way you can quickly grab one each day.
Some batch lunch ideas you can make ahead of time are:
- Spiced Baked Turkey Meatballs (eat in a pita)
- Baked Chicken and Sausage Kabobs (eat with rice)
- Baked Chicken Thighs with Ginger Scallion Sauce (chop it up and top a salad)
7. Have patience with yourself!
Have you ever been at a group celebration where someone picks up a slice of cake, complains about how it is bad for them, eats it anyway, says they’ll work out later and then spirals into some guilt ridden negativity?
I don’t know about you but I don’t like my cake with a side of guilt!
Be easy on yourself! If you know someone’s birthday is coming up do a little planning so you can have lighter meals the rest of the day. Or just splurge that one day and try harder the next day.
If you view healthier eating as the thing keeping you from eating cake, you’ll never eat better. Better foods fuel your body and give you energy. But until you’re used to it, don’t cut yourself off from foods you like : )