Thanks to Graela for the image
It seems like every year we put ‘eat healthier’ on our New Year resolutions list. Many of us are lucky if we make it to February before we fall back into old habits! Making resolutions is all well and good, but if we don’t stick to them, it’s useless. The trick here is making the right choices to ensure that we keep going longer than a month. The biggest mistake that people make is aiming too big. We set ourselves large goals that we couldn’t possibly stick to.
In the world of healthy eating, we often vow to cut out all chocolate and dairy. We tell ourselves that we will definitely eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. We try to make big changes to the way we eat. It often seems like a complete overhaul is the only way forward. Well, we’re here to tell you otherwise. Making drastic changes will certainly put you on the path to eating healthier. But, you’ll just never keep it up.
The real trick is making small, simple changes. Slowly integrate healthy eating into your current habits. That way it won’t seem like such a big change. If you only ever eat pizzas, chips and microwave meals, you have to be realistic. You’re not instantly going to switch to salads and fruit for every meal of the day. We’ll take you through an easy process of subtle changes. Integrating little bits every day will slowly help you make the big change.
Start tracking your current intake
The first step to making a change is assessing your current intake. We’re not asking you to start calorie counting everything that goes into your mouth. Again, if you’re not used to doing that, you’ll quickly forget about it. Just keep a rough journal of what foods you are eating in general. You’ll soon see a pattern forming. It may be that there is a lot of carbohydrate in your diet. Take note of health essentials and food guides to see what your diet should consist of.
Start introducing small changes to counterbalance
Once you’ve tracked your general food intake, you’ll now be aware of what’s missing. Take a look at food charts and see the gaps in your nutrient intake. Now it’s time to start picking up some of these ingredients and working them into your meals. Start by picking up Walmart free samples so you’re not spending a fortune. If it’s fruit that’s lacking in your diet, add banana or apple to your cereal in the morning. If it’s vegetables, buy cabbages and onions and chop them up finely. Add them to your existing meals in small doses. When they’re chopped up small you’ll barely notice them. Start integrating new healthy ingredients across all of your meals this way.
Reduce your portion sizes
This is a quick and easy way to reduce your calorie intake without altering your diet too much. While you’re making these slow changes and subtle integrations, start slimming down portion sizes. Again, don’t instantly cut them in half. You’ll find yourself growing hungry quickly and you’ll end up snacking. That’s a sure fire way to undo all of your hard work. Over the course of a few weeks, slim down the portions by little bits at a time. Do this while you prepare the food. If you’re making a rice based dish, remove a pinch of rice, then two, then a small handful.
Change your cooking methods
Again, this is another simple way of making a change without altering ingredients. Instead of frying meals, try to boil or roast your ingredients. It may take a little longer, but you’ll notice the difference. You can still eat your favourite foods, just cook them in a different way. Instead of chips, serve your meals with boiled potatoes. Rather than frying meats, roast them. You’ll actually retain more of the flavour and you’ll get a health kick.
Switch red meats for white meats
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean compromising on the bulk of your meal. However, if you rely on red meats for most of your dishes, it’s worth exploring other options. Red meats are rich in fats, too much and it can get unhealthy. You can still get all the protein you need, just switch to white meats. The occasional steak or mince dish won’t ruin your diet, just be sure to balance it out with chicken, turkey and white fish.
Switch white bread for wholemeal
You can still eat those tasty sandwiches you love, we can simply make them a little healthier. Cut down on the amount of butter you use, reduce the cheese and increase the lettuce and tomato. Finally, switch white bread for a wholemeal alternative. You’ll come to love the extra texture, honestly! Plus, a good sandwich is all about what goes in it. This is an easy change that we can all make.
Switch full fat milk to skimmed
There really isn’t much difference in taste between the various milks. Yet there is a huge difference in fat content. If you get through litres of milk, turn down the fat levels by switching to semi skimmed or skimmed. When you’re drinking milky tea and coffee, you may not realise how much fat you intake.
Change the way you snack
Snacking is the downfall of the best of us! There are a couple of ways to steer clear of it. First of all, just stop buying them. We know that’s easier said than done, but try and stick to your guns while shopping. Then when there’s nothing in the cupboards, you won’t be tempted. Secondly, purchase fruits and nuts. They’ll satisfy your cravings in your hour of need, but will keep you on the right side of healthy.
Making small changes is the only way to realistically start eating healthier. The key is setting achievable goals with little alterations to your current routine. Once you’ve started this journey, you can make bigger changes and really make a difference.