Easy Ways to Create Healthy Habits for a Healthy Life Style
Simple Ways to Eat Healthier - and enjoy it!
Fad diets, weight loss shakes, super foods, weight loss pills, foods you must have, foods you can never eat, organic, gluten free, sugar free, fat free - with all the media hype surrounding healthy living, weight loss and diets, it's easy to forget the basics of healthy eating.
Healthy eating isn't about becoming or staying unbelievably thin or avoiding the foods that you love. A healthy lifestyle is about feeling good within yourself, keeping yourself healthy, avoiding dietary related diseases and other conditions and just generally feeling great. All of these healthy living goals can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in our everyday lives.
The goal of healthy eating is to develop a lifestyle that you can stick with for life, not just a few days, weeks or months - or until you've hit your "goal" weight. Balance is the key when it comes to enjoying your new healthy lifestyle. We all need to have a balance of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in order to sustain a healthy body.
A healthy diet should include a variety of foods from the different food groups:
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
- Healthy fats
It should also be based around foods that you can easily find within your local grocery store and that fits your tastes, lifestyle and budget.
Here are some easy tips, tricks and short cuts to get you started with your new healthy lifestyle!
Stock Up Your Pantry
By stocking up your pantry with healthy foods you will always have healthy options available and something healthy to eat.
Limit the junk foods kept in your house and keep them only as occasional treats to resist temptation. If you find the lure of those treat foods too strong, don't buy them! Instead only go out and buy a single treat food when you are willing to take the effort to go out, as this will make you more mindful of what you're eating.
Prepare Fruit and Vegetables in Advance
Cut up wedges of orange, carrot and celery sticks or wash grapes and berries and put them in containers in the fridge. This way you always have healthy snack options at your fingertips and your family will be more inclined to eat them.
You can also grate some veggies and store them to add to meals later on.
Plan Healthy Meals
As the old saying goes "Fail to plan, plan to fail". One of the main reasons families don't cook healthy home cooked meals is because they don't plan ahead and end up going for a less nutritional option that feels quicker and easier.
By planning your meals you can cook healthy delicious meals in minutes and even make meals in advance for busy days or days where you don't feel like cooking.
Use a Shopping List
Once you've planned your meals, make up a shopping list with all the ingredients needed plus healthy snacks. Make sure you take your list with you to the store and check it to make sure you don't forget anything. Resist the temptation to buy anything that isn't on your list.
Arrange your list by aisle so that you're not running back and forth and forgetting anything.
Make Familiar Meals Healthier
Kids can be fussy, so by making familiar foods healthier they will be more likely to eat them. Try reducing the fat in baked goods or dinners, adding more fruits and vegetables or topping new healthy dishes with familiar ingredients or flavors (for example top a vegetable filled pasta dish with some cheese). Anything can be made healthier, for instance these brownies with no added fat!
Saute Your Vegetables
Sautéing is a fast way to cook foods without adding too much fat.
Make a Healthy Snack List
Keep a list of healthy snacks on the fridge or inside the pantry so that you or your kids always know what heathy snack options are available.
Make Ahead Snacks
Make up individual servings of trail mix, crackers or snacks for quick and healthy on the go options.
Freeze Foods for Quick Meals and Snacks
When you're making a healthy batch of muffins, pasta sauces, pizza dough, homemade bread, soup etc. make extra and freeze for a quick meal or snack. Leave them to thaw in the fridge overnight or thaw/reheat in the microwave.
Meat also freezes really well so prepare cuts of chicken/meat when you bring the home from the store and you can easily defrost them for meals and reduce your preparation time.
Keep Healthy Recipes
Keep a binder or folder filled with healthy recipe ideas or your own recipe cards for inspiration when you are planning your weekly meals or need a healthy dish for a special occasion.
Make an extra list of last minute meals and quick recipes so you avoid choosing unhealthy options on days when you've run short on time.
Make Baked Goods Healthier
When baking, there are plenty of options to decrease the fat content and increase the nutrients.
Try using whole meal flour instead of white (or a mix of both if you’re not too keen) and substitute some or all of the fat in your recipe for applesauce, mashed or pureed fruit or low fat plain yogurt.
There are plenty of cook books, recipe sites and blogs with delicious healthy recipes, lots of which don’t taste healthy for a second!