Does the thought of switching to a healthier diet make you break out in a cold sweat? If you answered yes, it may be because the idea of going all out healthy all at once can be daunting, if not downright discouraging. Fortunately, healthy eating habits can be developed naturally—think all the gain without the pain—using a few simple strategies.
Start with the familiar
Scope out healthier options of foods already on your grocery list. Replace cows milk with almond milk. Buy lean beef or ground turkey instead of ground round. Switch from sugar and artificial sweeteners to Stevia or xylitol instead. Even if you only switch out one or two items at a time, you're working towards a healthier lifestyle at a pace that you are comfortable with.
Read the label
The only way to be sure Product A is really healthier than Product B is to know what’s in it. So what do you look for? Ingredients are listed in order from the largest amount to the smallest. A couple rules of thumb to keep in mind: the more ingredients you can recognize, the better, and sugar by any other name still isn’t good for you.
Try to incorporate greens with every meal
If you're trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, try serving greens with every meal. We love bell peppers, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes and mushrooms, but you can incorporate whatever sounds appealing to you. Try to eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies, and for an added bonus – eat your veggies first. This way, you're getting the nutrients you need, and the rest of your meal feels more like a reward.
Try something new
Every time you go shopping, buy one new food. Say you decide to try Greek yogurt. Buy one small container—just one mind you, even if they are on sale ten for $10—and give it a taste. If you like it, go back and buy the other nine. This is a great way to explore healthy foods without blowing up your budget or ending up with a fridge full of stuff you’ll never eat.
Drink more water
Seriously, could healthy eating habits be any easier? Not only is water a great (read, healthy) substitute for high-calorie, high-sugar drinks, but it makes you feel fuller faster, fires up your muscles, lubricates your joints, beautifies your skin, makes happy kidneys, and keeps you regular. What’s not to like?
My rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half, and drink that amount in ounces per day at a minimum. So for example, if you are 160 pounds, shoot for drinking at least 80 ounces of water per day. To make it easier on yourself, buy a 20 ounce water bottle and pack it with you everywhere you go, and keep track of how many times you fill it up per day.
Plan your meals
When it comes to healthy eating, spontaneity is not your friend. If you haven’t got anything healthy to eat in the house, you’re going to eat whatever comes to hand. Planning your meals a week ahead of time gives you a chance to research your options and pick healthy ones. Plus, when you know what you’re going to eat and when, you tend to shop with your head and not your appetite. You might even want to improve on this process by cooking those meals ahead of time! My meal prep days are Sunday and Wednesday. I set aside a few hours to cook up my proteins and veggies, and put them into serving size Tupperware containers and zip lock baggies so they are ready to go when I need them. I have an entire list HYPERLINK "http://glutenfreefat2fit.com/meal-plans/"gluten free meal plans, if you’re needing some recipe inspiration.
Implementing healthy eating doesn’t have to be all at once. Small changes made gradually will eventually add up to a healthier, happier you!