Did you resolve to eat healthier this year? Did too many holiday parties take a toll on your waistline? In NPR’s The Salt article “How Food Shopping Can Turn New Year’s Resolutions Into ‘Res-Illusions,'” researchers reveal that people actually spend more on their groceries from January-March than they do over the holidays because they are buying “healthier” foods in addition to the junk foods they already buy. One of their sources says, “You feel like you’re fulfilling your goals even though you may be sabotaging them.” How many of you are still eating your bowl of ice cream at night because you ate soup for dinner? Just how many Cliff bars did you eat today? I ‘m guilty too; I still sometimes “treat” myself with food when I have eaten well during the day. This year, lets quit sabotaging ourselves and actually eat healthy! I’d like to share some things that have worked for me. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or psychologist; just a person who knows themselves well enough to know what works for them and maybe it will work for you too.
1) Set a budget: As The Salt said in their article, people spend more on healthier foods. I stress responsibility in all areas of your life; so just because you want to eat healthy, doesn’t mean you should blow your whole budget on all organic foods from high-end grocery stores. Think about eating simpler. Fruits and veggies don’t cost that much, but eating healthy, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, etc SNACKS is expensive! Shop strategically. If your goal is to eat organic, but you don’t have to the budget to do so, consider just going organic on the foods that absorb the most chemicals. For example, non-organic strawberries can be very toxic so invest in the organic ones.
2) Focus on the nutrition you need, not a diet: Many times, our ultimate goal in eating healthy is to lose weight so we look better, which is great, but our idea of looking good is variable. Instead of focusing on a diet, focus on eating good things for your own personal health, considering things like your age, gender, etc. Get a check up and see what you are deficient in. Consider your family health history and choose foods that will help you and your family change your health legacy.
3) Get inspired: Healthy food can be delicious! There are many blogs, restaurants, and cookbooks that make healthy food taste good. Sprouted Kitchen is one of my favorite health foods blogs. Be adventurous! Try new flavors and cuisines!
4) Quit rewarding yourself with food treats: You are not a dog; you do not do tricks for treats. Rewarding your good behavior is a great way to motivate and encourage yourself, but but don’t reach for the cookies or chips! Gift yourself something that will push you on towards your goal. Maybe that is a new cookbook, or workout tank, or my favorites- the Fruit and Veggie Scrub Cloth or the new Fresh Wash!
5) Find accountability: As with all goals, find someone to keep you accountable. I know its especially weird to tell someone what you ate. But, you can also be proud of what you accomplished and laugh over your adventures in healthy eating, whether that is eating carrots or trying Thai food.
Our family has been on a food journey for many years now where we’ve eliminated a lot of the foods my husband and I grew up with. Our kids will readily eat things like grilled salmon or ground turkey tacos, but they turn up their noses at the carbohydrate heavy casserole type meals that we had as children. They are learning to eat high protein and vegetable content meals. Dessert was an everyday offering in many homes 30 or 40 years ago, but our children view dessert as something special that is only offered occasionally as a special treat. They’re growing up having organic foods as often as possible. I’m excited to see how the choices we are making today may impact their health in the future.
I hope this is the year that you start being conscious of what you put in to your body. YOU deserve good food! You need good food to accomplish what you want to.
What healthy food choices have you made recently?