Let’s cut straight to it: healthy eating isn’t hard; WE make it that way by not adequately preparing for the lifestyle change. I intentionally use the word “lifestyle” because behavior change, healthy eating in this case, is a systems process; it’s more about addressing the social, environmental, and mental barriers than the food itself. Some of these barriers are out of our control. However, in this post I will discuss 5 key things (within our control) that can be done to facilitate a successful and sustainable healthy eating journey.
1. Purchase the necessary equipment
A major component of healthy eating is planning and preparation. You have to have the necessary tools. Here are a few key things:
- Quart and Gallon Storage bags (freezer and sandwich)
For packing snacks and freezing food
- Plastic travel storage containers
For packing daily meals
- Measuring cups
For mixing and measuring
- Water bottle (32 oz)
Water is going to be your best friend. Drink lots of it. You can even spice it up…
- Hot/cold Tumbler
You want to limit your consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. Tea is a good alternative. No sugar as a sweetener, though. Try honey
- Lunch bag
For transporting your food
2. Buy a week’s worth of fresh produce at a time
Purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive, particularly because of it’s short shelf life. The key is to buy only what you are going to eat in a week’s time. I say a week because this is typically how long fresh produce stays fresh. If you find yourself with more than you can eat I would recommend freezing it. I tend to do this with half of the produce I buy anyway just to cover my bases and not waste money (this is where the freezer storage bags come into play).
3. Plan for snacking throughout the day
Healthy eating can mean different things for different people based on their health goals. The biggest thing to know is that healthy eating doesn’t necessarily mean diet. For me, healthy eating is about getting the right servings of each food group (grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy) and understanding the relationship between your caloric intake and energy expenditure for weight management purposes. Snacking helps with each of these things but only if you are consuming healthy snacks. Some of my fave snacks include nuts, rice cakes, carrots, clementines, popcorn, granola, and yogurt. I also enjoy fruit infused water. This isn’t a snack but it’s worth mentioning.
4. Meal prep for the week
If you can get cooking for the week out of the way go for it. This will help to ensure you’re eating homecooked meals which are often better than packaged or fast foods. Use the plastic storage containers to make prepare your meals for ease. I would also recommend making snack baggies that are easy to grab and go (see above).
5. Find accountability partners
Social support is always good for encouraging and maintaining health behavior change. Surrounding yourself with others who are eating healthier options will make your journey that much easier. It is also a good idea to decrease your proximity to “Junk foods”. Beware: this may mean not going out with friends or having lunch with coworkers.
I hope you all found this post useful. Have specific questions? Comment below! Until next time.