Most of us understand that eating well, and keeping your body in top shape, is hard. We’ve all tried doing things about it – a new diet, switching to keto, calorie counting. But every time, it seems like a mountain to climb, and the quest to get your nutrition on track falls flat.
Luckily, changing your eating habits is not an impossible task. The trick is not to think of the mountain in front of you, instead focus on small steps that keep you moving closer to your goal.
Over time, these steps become habits, and you’ll find you end up eating a quality, nutritious diet every day without even thinking about it.
This post will outline four easy things that anyone can do to get their nutrition on track, and start building the habits that will keep you fit and healthy for a lifetime.
There are a lot of fancy diets out there – keto, vegan, carnivore, low-carb, high-carb… Trying to stick to these diet plans feels like a full-time job, and deciding which one to dedicate yourself to is even harder.
It’s easy for people to fall off track with a strict diet plan. They follow the plan for a few days, a week, and then slip up, or get overwhelmed trying to stay on path with this rigid diet, and stop altogether.
It’s easier to stick to some basic principles, instead of a plan that dictates everything you can and can’t put in your body. One of the best principles to follow is, when in doubt, eat whole foods over processed foods.
Whole foods are those that are as close as possible to the natural form. Think of it as we used to eat in the old times. Our ancestors would hunt an animal, or pick fruits or vegetables, and eat them as they were.
This is the best way to preserve the most nutritional value possible from your meals, and stay away from the things that are not good for you. In particular, you’ll get more fiber, which is vital for the control of blood sugar, digestive health, and much more. Whole foods also deliver more “good” fats, and fewer trans or saturated fats that cause serious long-term harm.
Whole foods can include meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts – basically anything that hasn’t been altered and processed to the point where you’re not sure what your meal really contains.
Choose a chicken breast with a side of vegetables over a burger or sandwich with processed deli meats, and focus on getting fresh fruits and nuts for your snacks over bars and sweets.
Green vegetables are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. Greens, particularly leafy greens like kale, spinach and cabbage, are packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, while containing very few calories.
This nutrient density makes green vegetables the best way to hit your daily recommended intake for many vitamins and nutrients, without needing to eat continuously for the whole day.
One of the problems we face as far as getting enough greens every day is convenience. Green vegetables are not as easy to pick up and snack on as a piece of fruit, or worse, a muffin or a candy bar. So when you’re on the go, and needing to eat in a hurry during a short lunch break or while travelling, it’s usually greens that get left behind.
The best thing to do is plan your servings of greens ahead of time, and put in any preparation necessary before you need them. You could prepare a salad to take to work with you, or a healthy sandwich with a generous helping of greens.
This makes it a lot easier to get these greens in your diet, and if a healthy meal is already there when you need to grab a quick bite to eat, you’ll be less likely to turn to that junk food that’s always around the corner.
As we mentioned in the previous section, convenience really is the biggest enemy to eating healthy.
Today, we’re so often on the go. We’re going from one place to another, trying to live a busy schedule, and there’s no time to carefully pick out everything you’re going to eat throughout the day.
Snacking is a great way to keep your energy up when you don’t have a lot of time for full meals. But often snacks are our downfall, too. The most common snacks are processed foods, scarce of any nutritional value, and many healthy snacks are undesirable, ending up part of the decoration in your office.
The trick to snacking and staying healthy is to find some healthy snacks that you enjoy eating and keep these within reach as much as possible. When you feel the need to snack, you’ll be excited to reach for a healthy snack, and throughout the day you’ll end up getting a much better intake of vitamins and minerals.
Trail mix, jerky, and fruit mixes are great for this, as they provide nutritional value while being great on the taste buds.
You can also check out Naked Bars – a chocolate protein bar that is made from nutritious, natural ingredients that don’t sacrifice taste.
These bars are a perfect replacement for those unhealthy snack bars that are loaded with processed, artificial ingredients that do more harm than good.
Finally, it’s important not to think you’ve thrown it all away when you slip up.
It happens. We find ourselves in a Mcdonald’s at 11 pm, surrounded by empty wrappers and crushed dreams.
In these situations, we usually end up giving up on the diet completely, just because of this one slip up.
Realistically, tomorrow is another day, and there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to eat healthily and putting a day of poor nutrition behind you.
Eating healthy is a process, not a one-time thing. Even if you only make the right food choices 50% of the time, that’s better than nothing.
The point is to try and do the right thing for your diet, whether that’s choosing whole foods over processed, getting enough greens in a day, or snacking on something nutritious like a Naked Bar. Each positive nutritional choice will do you good, and it will start to build a habit.
Eventually, you won’t even need to think about it – you’ll stop craving junk food, sweets, and sodas, and your body will thank you for it.