Eat Healthy and Feel Healthy: Incorporating more Fruits and Veggies into your Life
So many people want to improve their diet, or lose weight; yet, they usually shy away from eating more fruits and vegetables while abandoning their favorite snacks and sweets. First off, I don’t agree with giving up any key food element in your life. I enjoy different tastes, I absolutely love food, and I’m quite fond of the fridge!
I am, however, a believer in moderation. My saying is: Feel free to enjoy your favorite foods… have the slice of chocolate cake, snack on some chips, and eat those double-fudge cookies... But, stay mindful about moderation. Meaning, have a slice of the cake; have a bowl of chips, not the bag; and enjoy those two cookies, but put the package back in the cabinet. When you’re snacking, always remember that you’re most likely eating the sweet and salty delights because you like the taste, not because you’re hungry. So, relish in the taste and humbly save the rest for another day. Believe me, I know from experience that eating a whole bag of Doritos leaves nothing but a sick stomach and that wonderful Doritos taste disappears until another bag is purchased. So parcel out the snacks, give yourself time to digest, and don’t hurt your tummy!
Allow Fruits and Veggies to be Team Players
To return to the subject of fruits and vegetables, I have noticed that many people either totally ignore their benefits and only rely on exercise to lose weight and to feel healthy. In my opinion, fruits and vegetables carry too many key nutrients to simply be ignored. Allow these healthy foods to strengthen and benefit your body.
I also find that many people who want to become healthy completely rid themselves of junk foods in favor of nutritious choices. I think this plan is too major and it usually doesn’t last. In theory, it’s a wonderful idea—flushing out junk food to make room for a healthy lifestyle. However, I think that is too shocking for the body and, more importantly, the mind. I am a serious advocate for staying happy during a “diet.” To be honest, though, I am not fond of the term “diet,” it sounds so grave and negative. I like the terms lifestyle, health-sketch, or even modified-living-plan because, after all, it is lifestyle choice. And, again, it is important to remain happy during your steps to a healthier lifestyle. So, don’t deprive yourself of your fun foods, because you will quickly feel irritable, and may lose your drive to continue on with the plan.
I don’t believe in depravation; I believe in incorporation— Incorporation of healthy foods.
During meals, try to trade out some unhealthy side dishes for healthy choices. And make it simple!!!
For instance, have strawberries with your sandwich instead of chips. Or mix in some peas and carrots with your plate of mashed potatoes.
Or if you’re having some eggs in the morning, cut up a cantaloupe to have on the side, or peel an orange. Actually, you know what’s delicious?!… Making the eggs with zucchini and cheese!
Zucchini scrambled eggs with feta cheese
Here’s a tip that I like to use: If you’re having a hamburger and some fries, make a little side salad for yourself, or load up that burger with lettuce, tomato, and onions and it’ll suddenly be as tasty and visually appealing as a burger ad!
Cheeseburger with Salad and Fries
My favorite thing about incorporating healthy foods into my everyday diet is that the healthy food becomes a team player in the meal that is intended to fill your stomach. Meaning, if I choose to have a burger and fries and add a side salad to the meal, then my body will actually require a smaller amount of fries because the salad is now there to aid in the quench of hunger.
By incorporating nutritious foods with your favorite snacks, your body will not only benefit from the healthy aspect, but will also remain mentally happy from the familiar enjoyment of your favorite foods. Also, with the fruits and veggies on your plate, the fries or chips will have less room on the plate; therefore, a smaller amount of fries will be present, you will consume less of non-beneficial foods, and you will be unconsciously training yourself to require less junk food.
Presentation is Important!!
I have to admit that trying to add fruits and vegetables to your diet can quickly feel like a chore. So, I think it’s important to make it fun! Prepare your meals and snacks as if company will be dining with you.
Here are some ideas:
- Don’t just wash the strawberries and throw them in a bowl. Boring! Instead, wash and slice them so you simply have to spoon them into a bowl later on. Suddenly, snacking on strawberries doesn’t feel like eating, it feels like dining.
- If you’re going to have a banana, make thick slices and arrange them on a plate. Then, melt a cup of peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle it over the banana slices. Trust me, it’s delicious.
- Mix some raspberries and blackberries together in a bowl with a side bowl of granola and blueberries mixed into yogurt. It’s such a refreshing snack!
Blueberry and Maple Pecan Granola Parfait
Movie Night at Home!
If you’re having an at-home movie night, don’t just settle on a microwavable bag of popcorn and chocolate bars to satisfy your snack mood. Don’t you deserve better?
Treat yourself to an appetizer arranged plate of yummies. Before settling down to watch the movie, cut some slices of your favorite cheese (my favorite is extra sharp white cheddar), wash some grapes, and grab a package of crackers. On a serving plate, lay down the slices of cheese, the crackers, and the grapes. And, of course, add whatever else you might like! —Sometimes I like to include cut pepperoni or rolled-up deli slices of ham or turkey. Prepare this dish as if it’s a plate of hors d’oeuvres awaiting guests.
Red Grapes, Spreadable Cheese, Fresh Bread
Grapes, Cheese, and Deli Slices
When you’re at home, arrange your meals so they looks appetizing to you. Seriously, if the plate looks pretty, you’ll feel excited to take your time enjoying the delectably prepared fruits and vegetables.
If you calmly think about different and simple ways to incorporate healthy foods into your life while preparing them in unique and visually appealing ways, then the nutritious foods will have a positive presence in your life. Spoil yourself and enjoy that plate of grilled tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella and basil. Satisfy your hunger with lettuce wraps that are filled with chicken, corn, and beans. Enjoy a sweet dessert of watermelon slices, or strawberries and whipped cream.
Eat healthy, and Feel healthy. Don’t think about it as a diet, because it’s not. This is your life, and you should love every bit of it. Design your own magnificent everyday-dining experience!