Do you find yourself eating out of a takeout container more often than eating off a plate? Or feel like a tired, bloated cookie monster more than your own vibrant self?
Well, if you are reading this, you’ve already decided to “get it together” and make a change. Right on! Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book, and you get to write the story.
But what comes next? How can you prevent yet another failed attempt at treating your body like a temple, rather than a dumping ground?
To get you on the right track, here are the 5 tips all long-term healthy eaters swear by:
1. Add, don’t eliminate
Instead of making a list of foods you’re “not allowed” to eat, make a list of healthy eating goals! This will make meal planning more fun as you find delicious ways to incorporate new foods. Plus, over time the healthy foods will displace the “treat yourself” foods, without feelings of deprivation.
Here are some suggestion goals to get you started:
- Include veggies at every meal
- Try one new fruit/veggie each week
- Find a meal-worthy salad recipe
2. Meal plan
Log in to That Clean Life to fill your meal plan with simple, realistic recipes. Based on what you add to your meal plan, your grocery list will be automatically generated.
Keep things simple. Look for our one-pan recipes to simplify weeknight cooking. You can also use the time slider to search for recipes that take 15 minutes or less to make. Seriously, don’t overwhelm yourself trying to become Martha Stewart overnight.
If you are a member of That Clean Life, you have access to tons of SUPER simple, tasty recipes that can be added to your meal plan. Here are some favourites to try:
- One Pan Paleo Plate
- One Pan Honey Garlic Salmon with Bok Choy
- Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup
- Baked Salmon with Broccoli and Quinoa
3. Go grocery shopping
You cannot cook healthy meals if you don't have healthy ingredients! Fill your kitchen with fresh veggies, fruit, healthy proteins and starches. These are the building blocks for healthy meals.
Save time at the store by deciding what to buy ahead of time, bringing a list, and sticking to it. Only buy what you plan on using. Use your That Clean Life meal plan to guide you throughout the week to ensure that every ingredient gets used up.
4. Schedule time for fun
Just like you’re not going to become Martha Stewart by next week, you’re also not going to stop liking sushi, poutine, pizza, wine, movie popcorn etc. Rather than deprive yourself of your favourite things, make some room in your meal plan for indulgences.
Planning for these treats gives you something to look forward to, which can make it much easier to stay on track. Do not adopt an “all or nothing” attitude. Practice balance and moderation.
Remember: just like one kale salad won’t immediately change your body, one pizza dinner won’t erase your progress. Consistency over time is what counts.
5. Eat enough
The last tip is actually the most important for long-term success. Depriving yourself calorically will cause all kinds of issues that will actually slow your progress.
Just a few key reasons you shouldn't cut calories:
- Low energy: this means you’ll be too tired to hit the gym, go for a walk, climb stairs, chase your toddler around, and whatever else your body should be able to do.
- Hanger: you know, anger fuelled by hunger. This will make your friends avoid you, your family fear you, and you will be miserable. What’s the point of healthy eating if you’re alone and angry?
- Food cravings: when your body is hungry, it will start asking for food in the form of cravings. Of course, it will crave high-calorie foods like cupcakes and French fries, not kale and chicken breast.
- Nutrient deficiencies: even if you’re eating healthy foods, you put yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies when you under eat. Be smart, long-term health problems are probably not your end goal.
Instead of cutting calories, focus on eating balanced meals that leave you feeling full and energized.
By focusing on healthy foods you love, getting into the habit of meal planning and grocery shopping, scheduling time for fun and avoiding quick fixes, you are sure to dominate this year. Focus on these 5 habits every week and soon your friends will be asking you for tips to stay inspired. And you’ll know exactly what to tell them!