I’m that person who loves to treat herself like a science experiment. Over my lifetime of close to 38 years, I’ve spent a lot of time trying on different ‘dietary hats’ in an attempt to find out what works best for me. I love testing diets (for lack of a better word). I love seeing what makes sense on paper & then putting it into action in my life. Over the past 4 years running Eat Your Beets, I’ve been introduced to a lot of dietary ideas, discovered a lot about food, how it makes us feel & what our own definition of healthy means to us. So, if you happen to be struggling, I hope I can provide some insight with my tips for healthy eating!
Some tips for healthy eating
1. THERE’S NO ESCAPING THE KITCHEN
Sorry folks, you heard it here first. There is truly no escaping the kitchen. I’m not even talking about weight loss here for a multitude of reasons, mainly not being qualified but also, I don’t believe your scale tells the whole story. In fact, I don’t even own one.
What I am talking about is getting yourself back to basics & learning how to really utilize your kitchen. You have to cook. You have to chop. You can’t escape these things. I understand cooking can be a downer. I know you’re busy. I have 4 kids & guess what – I still have to cook their food. Get yourself a good knife & a couple of great cookbooks. Heck, get yourself an Instant Pot & really start teaching yourself how to cook simple meals. Things don’t have to be fancy. Take it from this simple, home cook.
2. MEAL PLAN
More groans. Listen, I get it. I myself, food blogger, I hate meal planning. But you know what happens when I spend a few solid minutes every weekend making a meal plan? That’s one less stressor I have to worry about during my busy week. One less thing I have to think about (did I mention I have 4 kids? My brain power is precious). I have just recently started making a meal plan for all my meals & I love walking up to the fridge seeing: Lunch – leftovers. Ah yes… I do get to eat lunch instead of just stuffing a handful of tortilla chips into my mouth.
But truly, meal plan. Which will encourage a grocery list. Which means you’ll enter the store with a plan. Which means you’ll spend less money. I tested this theory on myself. I swear it works.
3. BUY INGREDIENTS. NOT READY MADE FOOD
When you go to the store, buy peppers, onions, & steak. Not ready made, frozen fajitas. Your grocery list should aim to be mainly ingredients, not pre made food. Not only will this save you money (again, scientifically proven by me) but you’ll be more certain of everything in your food. Want a great steak taco marinade? Cumin, salt, smoked paprika, lime juice, chipotle paste splash of ACV. Want a dead simple pancake recipe? I got you covered. Bagged granola? Never again! In fact, when in doubt, see the next tip!
4. SHOP THE PERIMETER OF THE GROCERY STORE
In all honesty, you’ll do yourself a favor sticking to the perimeter of the store. What’s on the outside? Fruit, veg, dairy, meat… maybe a little wine? But what happens when you go in those inner aisles? Chips, soda, granola bars, cupcake mix, KID SNACKS! If you do have to brave the inner aisles, put your blinder on, cover your kid’s eyes & soldier through to get that coconut oil or spelt pretzels. Do not, I repeat, do not stop at the Doritos!
5. EDUCATE YOURSELF
There are a million ways to eat. A million ways diets to try. A million people telling you this way of eating is good & this way of eating is bad. If you’re like me, you’re kind of excited by some of that noise. But you also know when to turn it off. The truth is, no one can tell you exactly how you should eat but you definitely own it to yourself to put some effort into researching what will work best for you. Maybe you’re suffering with a medical condition, trying to lose weight, or lean up for some kind of competition. I’m here to tell ya – you can google all that. But anyone who tells you that you have to buy their product to achieve your goals, proceed with caution.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY ABOVE ALL ELSE
Guess what? Low carb sucks for me. But it’s amazing for tons of other people. Intermittent fasting? Only if you want me to be an absolute nightmare. In complete honestly, because I’ve been so open to trying so many new ideas while trying to find something that works the best for me, I’ve discovered a lot about myself. I’ve been more in tune with how I’m feeling. I’ve discovered certain foods make me feel better/worse/have no impact at all. That’s how it should be. Start experimenting & then start listening. But remember, if you’ve been stuffing the standard American diet of overly processed & hyper palatable foods into your body for awhile, it’s gonna take some time to wake up those listening ears.
7. HAVE VEGETABLES IN ALL FORMS
Whole, raw, steamed, sautéed, roasted, pureed. Have all the vegetables in all the ways. This is also a good tip for getting your kids to eat better.
Stress is a literal killer. Don’t stress anymore. If you are doing the best you can, remind yourself of that. You are literally doing the best you can. And when you choose to make less than healthy choices, that’s ok too. Your food isn’t designed to punish you. Your food isn’t meant to torture you. You don’t need to kill yourself with exercise to earn a cocktail or cupcake.
Our family eats healthy most of the time. We also eat pizza, brownies, candy, etc. There’s a balance & I don’t feel guilty about including less than optimal foods in our life, in limited quantities.
Your food wants to nourish you but above all, it wants to keep you happy & healthy. So let it.14