You know those people who just seem to thrive and make healthy eating seem totally effortless? What’s their deal, have they cracked the code?
Well, yes and no. I do think that for some people healthy eating just comes easier than for others. Some people genuinely struggle with things like portion control and have a strong preference for sugary sweets where others intuitively move towards kale salads and whole-grain everything. But there is no doubt that life-long healthy eaters share some common habits.
1. Have a plan
Whether it’s a meal plan you spend one day putting together each week, making time for bulk food preparation, or just planning out the grocery list, if you want to eat healthy, you gotta get organized. Meal planning may sound tedious and boring, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of great meal planning resources you can take advantage of, and if you feel like you need more support you can always call in a professional. But no matter how you go about it, the important thing is to have a plan in place that will help you eat healthy and delicious food that you love.
2. Eat more, not less
Diets don’t work, and nor does restrictive eating or depriving yourself of foods that you love. So instead of focusing on what you think you should eat less of, consider what you should be eating more of. More vegetables and plant foods. More lean proteins. More healthy fats. Drink more water. Make more salads. By focusing on more you should feel satisfied, and by continuing to make space for the foods you love, rather than cutting them out, you’re much more likely to become a life-long healthy eater.
3. Don’t get too hungry
Nobody makes good decisions when they’re hangry! So try not to get that way. The absolute worst is to be standing in front of the fridge or cupboard and just grabbing at whatever you can get your hands on since you’re so hungry you can hardly think. Remember that whole thing about having a plan? That will help with not getting so hungry that you eat things you didn’t really want, or more than you wanted to in the first place. Get to know the rhythm of your day and figure out when you need to be packing extra healthy eats to avoid hunger crashes.
4. Cook at home
Restaurant food is delicious and can be super fun to eat, but can be pretty heavy handed with salt, fat, and sugar. When you cook at home you’re able to control exactly what’s in your meals, which is why time and time again the advice for healthy eating is to roll up your sleeves and get cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I love eating out (or ordering in) from time to time, but I prefer to leave it for celebratory moments rather than making it a regular thing. Cooking is also a great way to teach healthy eating to the whole family, and can be a great social occasion as well.
5. Try new things
Lastly, open your mind–and your taste buds! Trying new things is key for healthy eaters. How else would we have discovered the magic of chia pudding or kombucha? You never know what healthy delight you might fall in love with.1