Written by Janet @ Frugal & Focused, Contributing Writer
When you make up your mind to start eating healthier it can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. If you’re not careful, your enthusiasm to improve your health through healthy eating will get derailed by the planning and extra work involved.
Before you jump in determined to eat healthy 100% of the time, set aside a little time to think about what healthy eating looks like to you and develop a strategy to make the transition.
The key to successfully developing healthy eating habits is to keep it simple.
Start with one meal.
As you begin to eat healthier drop the all or nothing mentality. Focus on eating healthy just one meal a day. For example, plan some easy and healthy breakfasts for the week. Spend that week focused on eating a healthy breakfast every day.
After a week or two, incorporate another meal. Choose whichever you would find easiest to plan and stick to. Focus on two healthy meals a day for a week or two before adding in your third meal or snack. Continue to do this until you build the habit of healthy eating. This strategy will help you gradually change the way you think about eating without being overwhelmed by it.
Make healthy swaps.
Think about the foods you already enjoy and how you can make them healthier. Instead of eating a burger and fries, have a burger salad. Instead of making yourself some instant oatmeal or eating a bowl of sugary cereal, make yourself some regular oatmeal sweetened with fruit and a little honey. Eat raw veggies instead of chips and crackers to satisfy your desire for a crunchy side. Eat a square of super dark chocolate instead of a regular chocolate bar.
Keep meals simple.
Don’t go crazy trying out lots of new healthy recipes. It will just overwhelm you. Keep your meals very simple.
Breakfast could be oatmeal with fruit and honey or scrambled eggs with sautéed veggies on the side. Lunch could be a hearty salad, a smoothie, or a wrap filled with meat and vegetables. Dinner could be baked chicken with steamed veggies and rice, a quick and easy stir fry, or a big pot of soup made with healthy ingredients.
Allow yourself to try no more than one or two new recipes a week. Over time you will find lot of new, healthy recipes that you and your family enjoy.
Plan and prep.
Knowing what you’re going to eat and doing a little prep work will go a long way in helping you stay on track with your healthy eating.
Take a few minutes at the beginning of the week to plan out your meals. This shouldn’t take long. Remember to keep it simple.
Then, set aside a little time to do some prep work. You can easily do this while you’re already in the kitchen preparing a meal. Chopping veggies for a meal? Chop extra to use as snacks or in other recipes later in the week. Baking chicken? Bake extra to use in wraps, salads, and soups during the week.
Prep work doesn’t have to be complicated and it will make a big difference in how the rest of your week goes.
Give yourself grace.
Remember when I said to drop the all or nothing mentality? That is so important. If you get off track for one meal, or two meals, or even a few days of meals, it will be okay. Take a moment to think about why you’re off track, give yourself some grace, and start over with your very next meal.
You cannot change poor eating habits overnight. This is a process and you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more if you’re not constantly beating yourself up when you don’t make the best choices.
Healthy eating is a crucial factor in improving overall health. While it’s not always easy to change your eating habits, it doesn’t have to be complicated. A few simple strategies will get you on the road to healthy eating.