You know that you should be eating healthier, but it’s all too easy to give in to temptation, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. Fortunately, there are a few simple guidelines that you can follow to make a healthy diet a way of life.
Buy Whole Foods
Resist the urge to load up your shopping cart with processed foods and preservative-laden canned goods. The benefits of consuming whole foods have been well documented —they’re naturally high in nutrients, low in sugar and easier on the environment. Getting organic food can help guide you in these decisions, since organic foods are almost always whole foods with less preservatives. Preparing meals from scratch is usually easier on the wallet, as well.
If you’re unsure where to start, follow this rule of thumb: Shop around the perimeter of the supermarket, only venturing into the middle aisles when absolutely necessary. The items found around the edges are the ones you’re trying to incorporate into your diet: fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat from the butcher’s case and deli counter and low-fat dairy.
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning pays off in more ways than one. Not only does it promote healthy eating habits, but it will also encourage you to stick to your grocery list instead of tossing things into the cart just because they look good to you at the moment. You’re also better able to be more selective and reduce certain foods from your house, like carbs for example. Xyngular explains that If you want to lose weight, low-carb meals can help as they can help manage excess carb consumption throughout the day.
Begin each week by thinking about which meals you’ll be home for, and which ones have to be taken on the road (lunches packed for work or school, for example). Assign a meal to each time slot, and stick to the schedule. Batches of soups and baked casserole dishes, such as lasagna, are portable and reheat well.
Keep a Food Diary
Writing down your daily food intake is a stellar way to keep on track. Qardio explains that when you know you’ll be held accountable for everything that you eat; you’ll be less likely to “cheat” by taking nibbles here and there.
It’s not necessary to count every calorie — just write down the basics, such as “whole-wheat toast with peanut butter” or “grilled salmon with honey mustard, sautéed kale and brown rice.” Don’t forget to include beverages in the tally.
Roll with the Punches
Remember that when you slip up, it’s not the end of the world. Everyone craves a bit of junk food now and again; that’s no reason to throw the whole plan out the window. James Clear recommends that the best way to overcome this setback is to forgive yourself for the temporary indiscretion and move on.
If you follow these basic hacks, you’ll find that meal planning pays off. It’s never too early or too late to form healthy eating habits, and the results will keep you coming back for more.